Do the Elderly Need Catechesis? Yes!

Back when the General Directory for Catechesis came out (1997), many aspects of it captured our imaginations and piqued our curiosity: the primacy of adult faith formation, the concept of apprenticeship, the catechumenate as the model for all catechesis, the importance of sacred art, and so on. One concept that caught my attention but I believe has been vastly overlooked is the attention given to catechesis for the elderly, or the “aged” as the GDC prefers. […]

Celebrating the Wisdom of Elders

Encourage the children, youth, and families in your parish or school to acknowledge, celebrate, and learn from the wisdom of the generations in your community. Download resources inspired by Sharing the Wisdom of Time by Pope Francis and Friends, including: An Intergenerational Event to gather families together to recognize and honor the gifts and wisdom of the generations. Family Prayer Box activity for any classroom. How Do I Help Celebrate the Wisdom of the Generations? […]

Cherishing the Wisdom of Our Elders

One of the things that I love about the Jesuits is that they never “retire.” When a Jesuit becomes elderly or infirm, he is given a new assignment by his Provincial, namely, to pray for the success of the mission and ministries of the Society of Jesus at one of the Jesuit assisted-living facilities. The message is clear: every member of the Jesuits, no matter what age, is still valued and considered an integral member of […]

Honoring (and Learning from) Our Elders

When I began in parish ministry, I inherited an RCIA team that included one very unique member, Theresa, who was 85 years old. I was told that Theresa’s job was to bake and bring the snacks for every session—something that she was renowned for. (Her cookies were to die for!) But Theresa did more than just bring homemade cookies and pastries to our sessions. She sat in on every session and added her two cents. […]

Grandparents and Grandchildren Go to Faith Camp

Grandparents can play a unique and important role in family faith formation. The General Directory of Catechesis describes the family as the primary place where catechesis takes place: “In this family catechesis, the role of grandparents is of growing importance. Their wisdom and sense of the religious is often times decisive in creating a true Christian climate.” (236) Pope Francis echoed a similar message in a tweet about grandparents: How important grandparents are for family life, […]

Celebrating Advent by Making Wreaths with Your Families

As our young families gathered on the first Sunday of Advent, the buzz of excitement was undeniable. Our parish hall was transformed into an Advent workshop where they created their very own Advent wreaths. Before me lay a sea of long tables at which the families worked, chatted, collaborated, and prayed. Christmas music harmonized with the hum of warm and friendly conversation; the atmosphere was most certainly alive with joy. Together, our families wove the […]

Intergenerational Catechesis: An Apprenticeship of Christian Life

When it was time for my youngest to learn to tie her shoes, our family gathered together and knelt on the ground to take turns demonstrating and gently guiding her own attempts. Over the next few weeks Mom, Dad, or older brother would be sure to be at her side to coach and guide until, in very short order, she was tying them up right along with us. Catechesis, at its heart “…is an apprenticeship […]

Four Ideas for Engaging Parents in Faith Formation

While there is often agreement among catechists that parental involvement in their children’s faith journey is essential, it can often be quite challenging to actually encourage and engage parents in the process. The business of family life, the idea that the teaching of the faith is a role reserved for the classroom teacher, DRE, or pastor, and the fact that this level of involvement may not have been required in parish programs in the past […]

Combatting the “Drop-Off” Mentality

This afternoon, I met with Deb Breakey, the DRE of St. Cajetan Parish in Chicago, to brainstorm a new way to kick off the catechetical year this Fall designed to combat the “drop-off” mentality that so many parents have when it comes to their children’s faith formation. We are working on designing an experience on the first night of religious education that, in essence, will be an intergenerational event. Parents will be asked to gather with […]

Sacraments Learning Stations at St. Gabriel’s in Riverdale, the Bronx

As they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery so I am indeed flattered to learn that a parish in the Bronx – St. Gabriel – adapted my Sacraments of Initiation Learning Stations for use with their Family Faith Day, an intergenerational event. I’ll let Marie Gwertzman, the Sacramental Coordinator, fill you in and then you can enjoy the pics she sent along! Hats off to Marie and her DRE Glenn McCarthy! November 14, […]

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