Supporting the Domestic Church: The Catholic Parents’ Survival Guide

Being a parent in today’s world is challenging. Now, add to that the job of being Catholic parents trying to raise children with Catholic values in a world where such values can be thought of as countercultural, and we’re talking about a major challenge. This is why we, as a Church, must do all we can to support parents in their efforts to make their home a domestic church. Thankfully, help has arrived in the […]

Reaching Parents Virtually

Catechists and catechetical leaders are always searching for ways of connecting with parents of the children in their religious education programs. We all know that parents are pulled in a million different directions, which means that connecting with them in person is not always feasible. One of the lessons we learned from the pandemic (hopefully!) is how to connect with people virtually. There are many simple ways we can connect with parents online to share […]

Helping Parents Prepare Children at Home for First Eucharist and Reconciliation

One of the things that we learned from the experience of the pandemic over the last few years was how to assist parents at home with the faith formation of their children. This help often took the form of providing parents with digital resources they could use at home with their children, utilizing them when their schedules allow quality time for faith formation. First Eucharist is one of the primary moments in the life of […]

Resources for Putting Parents First During the Catechetical Year

Whenever we fly somewhere and listen to the instructions from the flight attendants, we are reminded that, if there is a sudden drop in pressure and the oxygen masks come down, adults should put their own masks on first and then assist their children in doing so. The logic is simple: adults will be needed to assist young people throughout the crisis and beyond. We need to take the same approach to our faith formation. […]

The Good Shepherd and Hallway Shepherds

When I pray with my first-grade students, I often tell them they have to listen for Jesus’ voice not with their ears but with their hearts. Granted, it’s an abstract concept for young ones to understand. This year, when I taught a lesson on the Good Shepherd, I decided to try something new. Before class, I slyly arranged for two of the fathers to wait in the hall and asked them not to tell their […]

Speaking God’s Language at Home

It is an established fact that language and culture go hand in hand. Language is a crucial part of identity. When a language becomes endangered, the culture associated with that language also becomes endangered. According to linguist Noam Chomsky, “Language embodies the world view of a culture and is unique to the culture that created it. It reflects values and concepts that are deemed to be the most important by a culture. A language describes the culture […]

Inviting Parishioners to Help

“The more the merrier!” is my philosophy about volunteers in my religious education classroom. I’m always on the lookout for adults who will share their talents with the children. (I’m fortunate that the parents I ask rarely say no.) I ask my parents at the beginning of the year if anyone has a talent or skill to share. Parents who sew or play an instrument are good allies. Having a different person in the class […]

Baptismal Crosses and Baptism Reunions

In his book, Excellence in Ministry: Best Practices for Successful Catechetical Leadership (part of the Effective Catechetical Leader series from Loyola Press and NCCL), my friend Tom Quinlan wisely suggests the following: My strong exhortation for parishes today is to front-load their efforts at impacting family systems. There is much more proverbial bang for the buck in doing front-loaded, early family evangelization ministry than anything later down the road! From my experience, baptismal ministry gets next-to-nothing […]

Prayer Sticks

Last winter, a teacher friend of mine posted a photo of her classroom showing her “task sticks” for her students. On each stick was written a specific task for the student who held it, such as “line leader,” “pencil patrol,” and “librarian.” I was trying to think of a way to engage my class in prayerful habits during Lent when I saw her task sticks. I thought I could borrow her idea and make “prayer […]

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 […]

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