Third Week of Advent (Year C): This Is Really Happening! Wipe That Frown Off Your Face and Stop Worrying!

Welcome to the third installment of this series on the Scripture readings for Advent, Year C. I mentioned in the first installment that, as I reflected on the Advent Scripture readings, I thought of the image of castaways on a deserted island, feeling hopeless and abandoned. The readings for the First Week of Advent reassured us that “help is on the way,” and the readings for the Second Week of Advent told us that we […]

The Saintly Catechist

The director of our faith formation program asked if I could help her develop a saints’ syllabus for the eighth- and ninth-grade classes. This was right up my alley. We met for coffee to work on the syllabus, which would complement our regular curriculum. Our discussion turned to the canonization process: how does someone become a saint? As we talked about the steps in the canonization process, I wondered, “What do we have to do […]

Confidence, Generosity, Joy, and Fearlessness: Four Ways Mary Inspires Catechists

Lord, give me Mary’s confidence and generosity of spirit. I ask not only to listen to your voice and do your will but also to do these things joyfully and fearlessly. Let me answer your call with an exultant “Yes!” because I know that my journey into the unknown will be made radiant by your transfiguring presence. —Sacred Space: A Little Book of Encouragement This extraordinary quote inspires me as a catechist. There is no […]

J.O.Y. in the Classroom: How to Teach Children to Cultivate a Joyful Life

Cultivating and sustaining joy in the spiritual life has received quite a bit of attention in recent years. Pope Francis has made joy a central part of his message, as we see in the encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel. The Holy Father reminds us over and over again that the Christian life is characterized first and foremost by joy: Joy is a pilgrim virtue. It is a gift that walks, walks on […]

Evangelization and Joy-Filled Witness

One of the pastoral recommendations provided during the 2012–2013 Year of Faith jumped off the page for me: The Year of Faith is intended to contribute to a renewed conversion to the Lord Jesus and to the rediscovery of faith, so that the members of the Church will be credible and joy-filled witnesses to the Risen Lord in the world of today—capable of leading those many people who are seeking it to the “door of […]

9 Advent Attitudes – #2: Lightness of Being

Advent is, above all else, a season of hope – a virtue that is all too rare in our world. To live as a person of hope is to behave in such a manner as to draw suspicion that we are behaving somewhat erratically as far as worldly norms go. This new type of behavior – what some may even call erratic behavior (the behavior that led people to conclude that the Apostles were “under […]