Preparing Students for Mass

My class of third graders attends Mass once a week with the rest of the school. Because I work with young students, I find that discussing and practicing what we will experience at Mass can be comforting for them. We start our preparation in our first class. We practice praying the Sign of the Cross. With this simple prayer, I ask them to slow down and concentrate on the movement of their hands. Next, we […]

Reviewing the Mass Before Christmas

I love the excitement, expectation, and joy that is abundant in my class as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth. As we get ready for Christmas with crafts and cookies, I also prepare my students for Christmas Mass. Many of my students do not regularly go to Mass, and they aren’t familiar with the Order of the Mass. I find that everyone benefits from a review of what happens at Mass before attending with their […]

Four Tips for Making Connections Between the Mass and Class Discussions

One of the boys in my group asked, “Do you go to church?” We were discussing the Mass, and he seemed genuinely surprised when I told him that, yes, I do go to church for weekly Mass. He admits he only goes to church occasionally, and he, like many kids in our programs, is more the norm than the exception. I don’t have the secret formula for how we change this trend and encourage those […]

It’s All About Jesus: Children and the Mass

This week’s lesson for my third-grade faith formation class was about the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Most of my students celebrated their First Holy Communion less than a year ago, so the previous lessons on the Eucharist are relatively fresh in their minds. They seemed confident in knowing that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and they all understood the mechanics of receiving communion. As we got deeper into the lesson, […]

Loving the Mass

Have you ever heard the saying, “Good teachers borrow, but great teachers steal?” This saying comes to mind as I reflect on the different ways we can help the children in our classes understand the Mass. My DRE had recently invited a guest speaker to come to our parish and give a presentation on how to teach the kids about the Mass. Since I am, at best, someone who aspires to be a good teacher, […]

A Pastoral Approach to Talking About Missing Mass

I recently received an e-mail from a diocesan catechetical minister who was contacted by a concerned DRE, struggling to address the following problem: A sixth-grade catechist, in teaching about mortal sin, told her students that if Mass is missed, then it is a mortal sin and the sinners will go to hell. Yes, she used those words. The student went home crying because her parents miss Mass frequently. We know these situations are coming up […]

The Spiritual Life of Catechists, Part 6: Participation in the Community

This is the sixth article in a series about the spiritual life of catechists, inspired by the list of characteristics in the National Directory for Catechesis. Catechists and catechetical leaders generally don’t sit in ivory towers reading theology in their spare time (thankfully!) Theirs is a lived faith, and nothing indicates that more than active involvement in the parish community. Their reputation and appearance as a regular part of parish life is proportional to the […]

Preparing for Our Mercy Experience – Permission Forms, etc.

Tonight, before taking the kids to church for their monthly Mass, we will focus on our upcoming Mercy Experience (formerly known as service projects!). On April 21, we will be going to the Ronald McDonald House near Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, IL, to prepare and serve supper for about 30 people currently residing there. Kudos to my DRE, Deb, and to St. Cajetan for strongly suggesting that EVERY grade of religious education be […]

Great New Liturgy Apps!

Here’s some information about some great new Apps on the Liturgy! The first is the My Picture Missal App from Loyola Press. This App, available in the iTunes store at this link: My Picture Missal App, was developed for children with special needs and  for young children. The intent of this interactive app is to help children learn, understand, and fully experience the Mass. Children with special needs have spiritual lives and, with communication assistance, can […]

Session Ten (11/26/13) – Getting Ready for Advent

Last evening was our scheduled monthly Mass in church which was moved from 6:15 to 6:45 PM to give us one solid block of teaching before Mass (6:00 – 6:40) rather than a brief one before Mass (6:00 – 6:10) and another short segment after Mass (7:10 – 7:30). This worked out very well because Mass still went about an hour but didn’t take away from class time! I don’t think parents minded that the […]

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