Pop-Up Catechesis: Make a Wish and Blow Out the Candles

Among the many traditions that are part of a birthday celebration is that of the celebrant making a wish and blowing out the candles. This tradition most likely has its roots in ancient Greece, when people would offer cakes and candles as an offering to the gods. It was believed that the smoke rising from the blown-out candles carried the offering to the gods. On September 8, we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Celebrating the Queenship of Mary

One of the traditional characteristics of royalty is someone who leads an army into battle. Before Israel had a king, they would go into battle led by the Ark of the Covenant, which represented the presence of Almighty God in their midst. Eventually, the Ark of the Covenant was lost to history. However, Christians see Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as the new “Ark of the Covenant”—one who bears within her the presence of the […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: The Feast of the Assumption

In today’s episode of Pop-Up Catechesis, we explore the significance of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15). The feast reminds us of the seamless connection between body and soul, as Mary was assumed into heaven body and soul. Catholicism is not a dualistic faith that ignores the physical in favor of the spiritual. Rather, we see the two realities as intertwined. The Feast of the Assumption calls us to appreciate more deeply […]

Facing New and Uncertain Situations Like Mary: A Family Faith-Sharing Guide

May is traditionally a time to honor Mary in special ways, such as with May Crowning celebrations. This year, we can look to Mary as a model for facing uncertain times. When faced with the news that she would be the Mother of God, Mary had questions but accepted God’s plan for her with complete trust. Explore Mary’s faith and trust in God with the help of our family faith-sharing guide. Excerpted from 52 Simple […]

Introducing Children to the Blessed Mother

Throughout the faith formation year, I devote part of my lessons to introducing the children to the Blessed Mother. Whenever I teach about Mary, my goal is for the children to know that: Mary is our mother; Mary is our best model of faith; and Mary said yes to God, and we can say yes to God too. My lessons on Mary are based on the liturgical year. I begin in October, which is dedicated […]

Mary, a Model for the Ministry of Catechesis (Video)

Mary, as the first and best catechist, provides a model for the ministry of catechesis. Julianne Stanz, author of Developing Disciples of Christ, says that three aspects of the life of Mary, drawn from Evangelii Gaudium, serve as a guide for our ministries. Read the complete post that inspired this video: Three Lessons from Mary, the First and Best Catechist. Find Marian resources here to help you honor Mary during May or throughout the year.

A May Crowning Acrostic

We end our program year with a May Crowning celebration, presided over by our pastor. Generally we can expect opening and closing songs, a reading about Mary from Scripture, a few words from the priest, some prayers, and an eighth-grader crowning the statue of Mary. The statue then keeps the crown for the rest of the month, serving as a reminder to the entire parish of the special evening the religious education students shared. Today […]

Celebrating the Annunciation: Finding Reassurance in Mary

March 25 is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, when we recall and celebrate the day that the angel announced to Mary that she had been chosen to be the Mother of our Lord (Luke 1:26–38). As I’ve mentioned here before, Marian feasts are ultimately about Jesus, since Mary seeks to draw attention, not to herself, but to her Son, Jesus, who brings us the Good News of rescue, restoration, and reassurance. Mary participates in […]

Light Up a Room as Mary Did (Video)

How will people react when you enter a room this Christmas? Will something within them leap for joy, knowing that love has visited their home? Read the post that inspired this video: This Christmas, Light Up a Room as Mary Did.

How Marian Feasts Teach Us About Jesus

As we approach the celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, it is important to remind ourselves that Marian feasts are not primarily about Mary! In fact, the Blessed Virgin Mary would be the first to resist our efforts to draw attention to her. Her great Magnificat prayer proclaims that it is the Lord who is to be magnified. Like all Marian feasts, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is ultimately about Mary’s Son, […]

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