Lenten Series: How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist

Now that Lent is upon us, it is a good time for us catechists to renew our efforts at effectively proclaiming God’s Word and creating new disciples of Christ. With that in mind, I am happy to announce a Lenten series of posts that I will be writing right here at Catechist’s Journey titled “How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist.” I’d like to begin by introducing you to Claude C. Hopkins, an advertising pioneer and […]

The Centrality of Evangelizing Households

Right before the holidays, I had the pleasure of enjoying a long, lazy lunch with my friend Tom Quinlan, Director of the Religious Education Office for the Diocese of Joliet and author of Excellence in Ministry: Best Practices for Successful Catechetical Leadership, part of the Effective Catechetical Leader series from Loyola Press and NCCL. Over a period of almost three hours, Tom and I chatted about a myriad of issues related to our shared passion—the catechetical […]

What, In God’s Name, Are We Doing?

There is a great scene from the classic sitcom, Seinfeld, in which Jerry and George sit in the diner lamenting a particularly frustrating day. Jerry begins to question the direction of their lives: “What is this?” he asks. “What are we doing? What in god’s name are we doing?” He and George go on to lament their pathetic lives before Jerry resolves, “Well, this is it. I’m really gonna do something about my life, you know? George, […]

Recruiting and Retaining Catechists Who Evangelize with GIFTS

Many catechetical leaders are familiar with the struggle of trying to find catechists at the last minute and begging parishioners for help. We have all heard the horror stories of people who tentatively volunteered and two weeks later found themselves standing in front of a room full of students, unsure of themselves and wondering how they ended up in this position. If our catechists are the backbone of our faith formation programs, then recruiting and […]

The Spirituality of the Catechist: A Missionary Zeal (Online Retreat Week 6)

Welcome back to our online retreat, the Spirituality of the Catechist. In this week, we focus on the fifth aspect of a catechist’s spirituality: A Missionary Zeal. If you’re just joining us, you can go back and catch up on earlier weeks at any time. You might also like to return to a previous week to share some thoughts in the comments section. This online retreat house is always open for your questions and insights. […]

Ice-Cream Evangelization: Reaching Out During the Summer

Summer is a great time for busy families to relax and reconnect, enjoying warm weather and outdoor activities. Unfortunately, it can also be a time when many families take a vacation from faith formation. Our faith-formation programs themselves might be partly to blame: many programs run from September through May with no activity taking place during the summer. As a result, we reinforce the mistaken conception that faith formation is solely a catechetical endeavor that […]

Evangelization Is Our Deepest Identity

One of the most exciting thrusts in the world of catechesis in the past several decades has been the emergence of the importance of evangelization. In fact, catechesis and evangelization are so closely related that the General Directory for Catechesis tells us that “in pastoral practice, it is not always easy to define the boundaries of these activities.” (62) In other words, there is not only overlap between catechesis and evangelization, but there is also […]

The Six “Be-Attitudes” for Inviting Someone to Come to Mass

People who come to Mass infrequently tend to “PACE” themselves by going to church on Palm Sunday, Ash Wednesday, Christmas, and Easter (P-A-C-E). So how can we reach out to our friends, family members, and those we work with who are not practicing their faith? The answer is surprisingly simple. According to Lifeway Research, 51% of unchurched Americans say the most effective way to get them to visit church would be through a personal invitation […]

10-Year-Olds Leaving the Church?

Recently, my good friend Julianne Stanz, Director of New Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay, WI, wrote an excellent article in their diocesan newspaper, The Compass, in which she addressed the findings of a recent CARA study that reveals that young people around the age of 13 but as young as 10 are deciding to leave the Church. The reasons cited include: “Catholic beliefs aren’t based on fact. Everything is hearsay from back before […]

The Power of Prayer: Three Ways to Model Discipleship

Peter, a director of religious education at a parish, asked Susan if prayer was interwoven into her classroom. “But I don’t have time to pray with my students and still get all of the material covered!” Susan answered, exasperated. “The most important thing,” Peter assured her, “is to model a life of discipleship grounded in prayer.” “Why?” Susan asked. “Because without the deep breath of prayer,” Peter replied, “our students will never believe that we […]

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