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 […]

The Six Tasks of Catechesis #6: Missionary Initiation, or Evangelizing our Faith

The last of the Six Tasks of Catechesis is missionary initiation, or in terms of the remembering phrase HELP ME, evangelizing our faith. Here’s how our bishops explain this task: “The ‘world’ thus becomes the place and the means for the lay faithful to fulfill their Christian vocation. Catechesis seeks to help the disciples of Christ to be present in society precisely as believing Christians who are able and willing to bear witness to their […]

Pokémon GO: A Parish Primer

In my book, A Church on the Move: 52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion, I propose that parishes need to continually help people find connections between the Catholic faith and daily living, including hobbies or activities that people engage in: “This approach can be a wonderful form of pre-evangelization, a way of inviting people to begin getting a flavor of the Catholic way of life without being overwhelmed by anything that smacks […]

A Popular Pentecost Idea

With Pentecost being about a month away (May 15, 2016), I thought it would be a good idea to remind you of an idea I proposed last year: Discipleship Pledge Cards for Pentecost. This idea flows from my most recent book, A Church on the Move: 52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion. Here’s a snippet from the post from last year: What we need is a strategy for getting people to take the […]

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