Pop-Up Catechesis: Bridging the Gap Between Science and Faith

Once, after teaching sixth graders about the Creation story in the Book of Genesis, I asked my students if this is what they learned in science class—knowing full well it wasn’t! They looked very uncomfortable. Several finally shared that they learned a very different story. I asked them, “Well, then, who’s telling you the truth? Your science teacher or me?” They looked even more uncomfortable. Before anyone could attempt to answer, I said, “OK, that […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Praying the Angelus

We live in a world of notifications! A notification is an icon, a vibration, a ding, or some other sound that pops up on an electronic device to let us know that something new has happened or to remind us about something. Before the world of electronic devices, one notification that Catholics relied on was church bells, which would ring, not only when Mass was beginning on Sunday, but also daily at 6 a.m., noon, and 6 […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: If I Were a Church Hymn

One of my favorite musicals of all time is Fiddler on the Roof. Of all the wonderful songs in that musical, my favorite is “If I Were a Rich Man,” in which Tevye dreams about what it would be like if he were a wealthy man. Over the years, I have borrowed from that title to engage people in a fun activity I call, “If I Were a Church Hymn.” In this activity, participants think […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Filling Your Home with Joy

The notion of a happy home can seem Pollyannish, given the complexities of family life in today’s very complicated world. Perhaps that’s because we tend to confuse the words happy and joyful. Happiness is a fleeting emotion that is influenced by exterior conditions, for instance sunshine makes me happy. But we all know that exterior conditions are not always favorable. Joy, on the other hand, is a deep-down gladness grounded in the love of Christ that […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Pentecost and Our Need for an Advocate

Some years ago, when I was serving as a catechist for an eighth-grade faith formation group, I was blessed to have an outstanding catechist aide. Let’s call her Mrs. Kelly. As it turns out, Mrs. Kelly was a nurse at nearby Advocate Christ Hospital. When it came time for us to teach about the coming of the Holy Spirit—our Advocate—on Pentecost, I asked Mrs. Kelly to describe her work as a nurse in pediatrics and how she […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: The Ascension and Three Questions

Imagine that a terrible storm caused considerable damage to the area you live in, including your home. Once the storm passes, you and your neighbors emerge from your homes to assess the damage. Relief workers and first responders are everywhere, but everything is in chaos. In fact, some scam artists are posing as relief workers and are seeking to take advantage of folks. In order to figure out how to get help for you, your family, […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: How Parents Witness Faith to Their Children

I’ll never forget the image. I was about eight years old, and I got up in what I thought was the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (turns out it was only about 11:30 p.m.), and as I passed my parents’ bedroom, I saw my dad on his knees saying his prayers. I knew he was a man of faith who went to church every Sunday, but I had not witnessed this […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Why Do We Have to Go to Mass?

Kids ask a lot of questions, such as, “Are we there yet?” Some of their questions are harder to answer than others, especially when they ask, “Why?” One of the questions that most children eventually ask is, “Why do we have to go to Mass?” Parents struggle to find all kinds of answers to convince their children that going to Mass is important and is a good thing but all too often end up telling […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Divine Mercy and Treating People Like One of the Family

One of the most compelling reasons for believing in the Resurrection of Jesus—for me, at least—is the fact that the Gospel writers record no acts of vengeance on the part of the Risen Christ. Think about it: if the Gospel writers were trying to protect or restore their own reputations for backing a failed messiah who was publicly executed in the most humiliating way, they would most likely fabricate a story about his return to […]

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