Pop-Up Catechesis: Pentecost and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit

Recently, I enjoyed watching Death on the Nile, a Hercule Poirot mystery in which the Belgian detective uses his keen skills to gather clues leading to the solving of a complex crime. Like all detectives who themselves did not witness the crimes they are investigating, Poirot relies on his skills of observation to gather clues leading to an irrefutable conclusion. As we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, we are reminded that we, too, must rely […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Easter and the Spiritual Works of Mercy, Part 2

All Christians are called to be a “Resurrection People,” and that means that in our thoughts, words, and actions, we are to embody and exemplify hope and joy and to share that with others, especially those experiencing despair. For this reason, the 50 days of Easter provide a wonderful opportunity for us to practice the Spiritual Works of Mercy—acts of compassion by which we help our neighbors with their emotional and spiritual needs. In a […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Easter and the Spiritual Works of Mercy, Part 1

The 50 days of the Easter season provide us with plenty of time to spread the hope and joy of the Risen Christ to others. One of the ways that we do this is by performing Spiritual Works of Mercy. While the Corporal Works of Mercy aim to help our neighbors with their material and physical needs, the Spiritual Works of Mercy aim to help people with their emotional and spiritual needs. All works of […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Easter and the Joy of Moving Forward

It’s interesting to note that, in a number of the post-Resurrection stories in the Gospels, Jesus’ disciples are stuck in the past. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus lament, “We were hoping.” (Luke 24:21) Peter is well-aware of his denial of knowing Jesus, when the Risen Christ asks him, “Do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15) The Apostles are locked away in the upper room, paralyzed by fear and aware that […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Feasting More Than Fasting

In the Church year, Easter, our season of feasting, is longer than Lent, our season of fasting! While the 40 days of Lent lay out a program of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we often don’t seem to have a game plan for how to celebrate the 50 days of Easter. I suggest that we focus on the concept of “feasting” during the 50 days of Easter. In this episode of Pop-Up Catechesis, we explore six […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Blessing of Easter Foods

One of my favorite traditions at Easter is the blessing of Easter foods and baskets on Holy Saturday. When I was a kid growing up in a predominantly Polish parish in Chicago, my siblings and I annually lugged several baskets full of the best-smelling Easter foods to the parish hall on Holy Saturday for the blessing of Easter foods known as the Święconka (shveeyen-TSON-kah). Many parishes continue this tradition on Holy Saturday; however, there is […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Exploring the Value of Cleanliness

The phrase, “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” is not found in the Bible but is regularly used, nonetheless, by Christians as if it were. Perhaps that is because there is great truth in this statement. Scripture does tell us that God “makes all things new.” Cleanliness—referring to both personal hygiene and keeping our environments neat and clean—is a reminder to us of how God restores things and does indeed make all things new. In this […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Exploring the Value of Optimism

Optimism is at the very heart of the Kingdom of God, and before we invite someone to consider following Jesus, we had better show some optimism. To be Christian is to have a disposition of optimism and not despair. We are not doomsayers. By the same token, we do not see the world through rose-colored glasses. We are realists. We see, feel, and experience pain, violence, sadness, hurt, and evil. However, our faith teaches us […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Exploring the Value of Honesty

On several occasions, Jesus accused the Pharisees of being “hypocrites.” The word hypocrite comes from the Greek word hypokrites, which means “an actor,” and we know that actors in ancient Greek theater wore masks to hide their true identities behind the identities of the characters they were playing. We sometimes struggle to be honest about our true thoughts and feelings. And yet, our spiritual and emotional well-being rely on the value of honesty—being honest with ourselves, […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Exploring the Value of Generosity

Lent is a good time for us to explore our values, and the Lenten discipline of almsgiving reminds us to cultivate the value of generosity. We tend to think of generosity as an occasional act of kindness expressed monetarily. We send a check to a charity, drop an envelope in the church basket, purchase Girl Scout cookies, or put some money in the red kettle or CRS Rice Bowl. These are indeed generous acts that […]

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