The Seven Ds of Discipleship: #7 Doing

This is the seventh and final post in a series about discipleship. We have explored the following keys of discipleship—desire, discernment, decision-making, discipline, dwelling in the Word, and dependence on the Holy Spirit. With this article, we will conclude our series by focusing on a key element of discipleship: doing. Essential to our growth in discipleship is our disposition (being) in relationship to God and how to put our faith at the service of others […]

What a Little Girl Taught Me About Strengthening Parish Staffs

Strengthening parish staffs has always been a cause of mine. I have ministered within a school and a parish setting, and in both cases was a part of the parish staff. I have rejoiced to be a member of a parish staff that lived vibrancy. I have also been saddened to be a member of a staff that struggled greatly and needed strengthening in order to exercise its mission and its existence effectively. Living out […]

An Openness to the Word

The Church’s deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility: of proclaiming the word of God (kerygma-martyria), celebrating the sacraments (leitourgia), and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia). These duties presuppose each other and are inseparable. (Deus Caritas Est, 25) I find this quote from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to be a powerful reminder of the intimate relationship between charity and the Word of God. Charity, he seems to remind us, is an expression of […]

Missionary Zeal

This reflection is part of the Spirituality of the Catechist Online Retreat. We were created by God for a very specific reason; God has a unique and important job for each of us: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19–20) As Christians, we all […]

The Spirituality of the Catechist: A Missionary Zeal (Online Retreat Week 6)

Welcome back to our online retreat, the Spirituality of the Catechist. In this week, we focus on the fifth aspect of a catechist’s spirituality: A Missionary Zeal. If you’re just joining us, you can go back and catch up on earlier weeks at any time. You might also like to return to a previous week to share some thoughts in the comments section. This online retreat house is always open for your questions and insights. […]

Forming Children and Youth for the Mass, Part 8: Mission

This is the last article in a series about forming children for active participation in the Mass. The word Mass comes from “missa est” (Latin for “it is sent”). The dismissal formula variations in the Roman Missal are meaningful. “Go forth, the Mass is ended.” “Go in peace.” “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” These convey a clear sense of mission. The command “Go” […]

St. Paul, Conversion, and Mission

As the year winds down, we’re taking a session to talk about St. Paul and his conversion and missionary journeys. Our guide is Finding God, Grade 7, Chapter 23, but as usual, I’m using that as a jumping off point rather than following the book’s lesson plan word for word. We are all called to conversion and mission in our ongoing faith journeys, and that’s the point of this lesson (the “big idea” as Joe […]

Growing in Wisdom: Discernment for Young People

We know little about the life of Jesus as he grew up, but the one story we have of him as an adolescent can form the basis of a session on family and mission. Using Finding God, Grade 7, Chapter 9, my group will talk about how Jesus grew in age, wisdom, and grace—and what difference it makes to the life of a contemporary junior-high student. We’ll begin by studying the story of the 12-year-old […]

Apprenticeships Instead of Service Projects

I recently received this comment from Jared Anderson about something creative and outstanding he is doing with his Confirmation program: The way that we incorporate Mission into our Confirmation program is that I require the candidates to do 4 month long Apprenticeships in an already existing Parish Ministry. There are 12 ministries (including myself as Director of Confirmation and Youth Ministries) that provide an adult mentor to provide ministry-specific formation and opportunities to get their […]

Lenten Family Mission – Mary, Seat of Wisdom Parish, Park Ridge, IL

This week, I have had the privilege of preaching a Lenten Family Mission at Mary, Seat of Wisdom parish in Park Ridge, IL, on the theme of the Mass (drawing from my book, Living the Mass). It has been an extraordinary experience of grace and I thank the good people of the parish for their strong turnout each evening of the Mission. Last night, I focused on the Liturgy of the Word and how it […]