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 […]

10 Things Catechists Can Be Thankful For

With Thanksgiving upon us, I thought it would be a good time for us catechists to pause and give thanks for so many blessings that we have. Here are 10 things that I think catechists can be thankful for, and I invite you to add to the list. For those we are privileged to teach. For our fellow catechists and catechetical leaders. For quality print and online resources from our Catholic publishers. For the guidance […]

A Thanksgiving Lesson Plan: It Is Right and Just

A few years ago, I developed a lesson plan on the theme of thanksgiving titled “It Is Right and Just.” It is packed with ideas, so you will probably have to pick and choose how much of it you actually hope to/think you can accomplish in the time you have during your sessions between now and Thanksgiving. This lesson is most appropriate for intermediate and junior high kids but can easily be adapted for younger […]

Forming Children and Youth for the Mass, Part 7: Thankfulness

This is the seventh article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass. Eucharist means “thanksgiving.” How grateful are we for God’s gifts, especially his gift of Jesus? Do we sincerely give thanks and praise at Mass? How can catechists help children develop an attitude of gratitude to God that they can bring to the celebration of the Eucharist? Younger Children One simple way to encourage young children to cultivate gratitude […]