Classroom Spiritual Breaks

We can all practice self-care during these days marked by social distancing, remote learning, and disruptions to our cherished routines. Here are a few spiritual practices that catechists can incorporate into sessions to help nurture the spiritual and physical well-being of young people. Calls to Mind God’s Presence in Our Lives Invite young people to sit up tall, with both feet on the floor. They may close their eyes if they want. Tell them to […]

Giving Thanks Is Transformative

Thanksgiving is such a welcome break for us during these very stressful times. And, even though our Thanksgiving celebrations may not look like they usually do, we must not underestimate the power of gratitude. In her book, Spiritual Practices for the Brain, Anne Kertz Kernion points out that gratitude has a transformative power: Each of us gets knocked around by life now and again, so it’s helpful to remember that practicing gratitude can help us […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Thanksgiving and the Virtuous Circle of Gratitude

Have you ever found yourself caught in a vicious circle? For example, you find yourself feeling a little down, so you treat yourself to a snack, a drink, or a purchase—only to find that the extra weight you’ve gained, the trouble you’ve gotten into with excessive drinking, or the piling debt you’re being buried under leads you to feeling a little down—and to make yourself feel better… The cycle continues! Well, there’s a different kind of […]

Gratitude in the Life of a Catechist

A few years ago, I visited the town in Ireland where my father’s ancestors lived. The cathedral there was built in the 1950s, so it’s unlikely that any of my relatives were part of its construction. Yet, when I went in, I felt immediately rooted. It was as if I could somehow feel a bunch of church-going Irish-Catholics handing down their faith traditions from generation to generation. I remember feeling overwhelmingly grateful in that moment […]

Be the Tenth: Gratitude in the Life of a Catechetical Leader

I’ve long been fascinated by the Lucan narrative of Jesus’ cleansing of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11–19). Jesus healed all ten, but only one returns to thank and worship him. As catechetical leaders, we often experience Jesus’ healing presence through our ministry. How often do we return to him to express our gratitude? Jesus heals us of apathy and transforms our experience. Children help us see the world through a clear, new lens. Think of […]

A Catechist’s Litany of Thanks

According to St. Ignatius Loyola, a healthy spirituality begins and ends with gratitude. On this Thanksgiving Day, we catechists have so much to be grateful for! Below is a catechist’s litany of thanks, which I invite you to add to. As a catechist, what are you most thankful for? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Happy Thanksgiving! To each of the following, we pray, “Thank you, Lord!” For my vocation as a catechist… […]

Age Spots and Polka Dots

As a mother of three young children, I am grateful for daily opportunities to look with fresh eyes on the wonder that unfolds in every day. Peering into the bathroom mirror one evening, my three-year-old daughter Ava asked what I was doing. “Mommy is looking at some spots on her skin,” I said to her. “Show me them,” she asked. And so, I kneeled on the floor and pointed out some of the age spots […]

Thanksgiving: Gratitude Is a Prerequisite for Discipleship

As Thanksgiving is fast approaching, I’d like to share a few thoughts about gratitude. Today, more than ever, we are hearing the term discipleship used in Catholic circles, as we seek to breathe new life into the Church and advance the New Evangelization. It occurs to me that a prerequisite for discipleship is an attitude of gratitude—a virtue that leads us away from cynicism, pessimism, and indifference and toward hope, faith, and love (charity). I’m sure […]

7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness: What Scratches Your Itch?

Editor’s note: This post is one in a series inspired by Joe Paprocki’s book 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness. In the book, Joe introduces each key with a fun or thought-provoking question. Each Friday we’ll share an excerpt from 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness that poses a question, followed by a response by a catechist or catechetical leader. What scratches your itch? On a spiritual level, we all have an itch. It’s that chronic, gnawing sense of discomfort that […]

Gratitude for the Little Things

It’s so easy to be annoyed by the little things. How hard can it be, then, to allow ourselves to be thankful for the little things? The other day, I was on the verge of being completely annoyed by the traffic that made me miss my usual train. Instead, realizing that I was now “early” for the next train, I strolled at a leisurely pace from my parking spot to the train station. I took […]

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