Reading Ahead and Preparing for the Year to Come

Each summer I like to dedicate my office time towards a specific project. Last summer I opted to cozy up with the catechist’s books and become really familiar with the curriculum. Though I have taught much of the material in previous years, I wanted to have a more intimate understanding of our textbooks and the subjects that my students would cover. At my parish the DRE traditionally dictates which chapters should be taught each week. […]

Preparing My Heart and Mind: Four Ways to Get Ready for the Classroom

My three kids are back in school and I’m preparing to head back to the parish classroom as a third-grade catechist. It would be easy for me to overlook preparing for the class since I’ve been teaching the same grade for a few years, but I know that this would be a huge mistake. Just because I am familiar with the age and curriculum doesn’t mean I don’t need to prepare. Preparing to teach religious […]

Setting Goals for Successful Catechesis

You’ve arrived at the first catechist meeting of the year just in the nick of time. Your DRE hands you your catechist book, your class roster, and a list of expectations for the year. At the end of the meeting, your DRE wishes you the best of luck. You gather your things, head back to your car, and wave good-bye. Upon returning home, you’re faced with an abundance of materials, a couple of new ideas […]

Using Discernment in Planning the Faith Formation Year

At some point during the summer months, we all start to wonder what our formation programs will look like in the fall. Whether we have a lot of ideas or just a few suggestions from others, the struggle is trying to select what ought to be done out of the range of possibilities. Thankfully we are not left alone in our discernment. As James assures us, “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask […]

Through the Year with the DRE

Back in the day, when I was a “baby” DRE (Director of Religious Education), I turned to a nifty book for help: Through the Year with the DRE: A Seasonal Guide for Christian Educators (Gail McKenna, Paulist Press). The book is long out of print, but the idea stayed with me and inspired me to create a chart outlining the “typical” responsibilities that a catechetical leader/DRE is faced with over the course of a year. I […]

Planning Your Adult Faith Formation Calendar

With all of the traveling that I do, sometimes my calendar can get a little crazy. I’ve gotten better at it, but I can remember some times when I asked myself, “What was I thinking when I said yes to this?” In parish life, we do this all the time. Even when we have calendaring meetings that should remove such conflicts, we still sometimes find ourselves overbooked and unable to devote time and energy to […]

Summer Planning for the DRE

As the weather gets warmer, the students are not the only ones who are restless! I love my ministry with passion, but the summer provides a wonderful opportunity to renew my programs as well as myself. During the year, in the midst of the hustle and bustle, I often cannot find time to discern what God is calling me to create in my ministry. I look forward to the summer for time and space to […]

How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 5

As we continue our series on how to host Lenten small faith groups in your parish, we turn our attention to the immediate weeks before the program starts. I am drawing on the successful experience of St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago where last year, over 200 parishioners gathered to participate in small faith groups during Lent. Today’s post includes sample small group promotional materials that you can adapt for your own use. 5 Weeks Out […]

How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 3

We continue our series here on Catechist’s Journey on how to implement small faith groups in your parish. Today we look at the crucial step of identifying, inviting, and training small group leaders. This is by far the most critical step, since the small faith groups will conduct their sessions in parishioners’ homes, without parish staff present. This follows the successful model used by St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago last Lent. 2–3 Months Out Select […]

How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 2

Today we continue a series here on Catechist’s Journey that will lay out for you the steps to successfully implement small faith groups in your parish with an eye on Lent as a target. I am drawing on the successful experience of St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago, where last year over 200 parishioners gathered in homes during the season of Lent to participate in small faith groups. The success of the efforts at St. Barnabas […]

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