Praying with a Classroom Visitor

The DRE told me that one of the parish priests would be stopping by sometime during class to talk to the young people about becoming altar servers. He was visiting several classrooms, and I didn’t know how much time he would spend in each one nor the order in which he would visit. So I started class knowing that at some point we’d have a visitor, though I didn’t know exactly when. Of course, he […]

Priests Who Visit the Classroom

Twice a month, my students look forward to a visit from our associate pastor, Father Vincent. I am so glad my school makes it a priority to have a priestly presence in our halls. In my 12 years of teaching, three different priests have taken the time to visit my classes. Their 20-minute visits offer my students three benefits: the priests bring their unique perspectives, they are very good with show and tell, and they […]

Summary of Session Two (9/24/13) – Mass and Bible Basics

First of all, thanks to those folks who were concerned because they thought I actually flew home from Italy to teach my class and then fly back! I guess a few folks missed my emphasis on the word VIRTUAL in reference to the pilgrimage to Italy! I’m not on the actual pilgrimage but am conducting a VIRTUAL pilgrimage so that we can, in some small way, share in the experience of those pilgrims who actually […]

Advent Reconciliation

Last evening, I took my 6th graders to church for an Advent Reconciliation service which turned out nicely. Here are some observations: Our DRE, Arlene, has been out tending to her husband who has had some serious health issues (but appears to be on the mend, thank you, Jesus) so we gathered in church with a bit of uncertainty as to how to proceed. Quite understandable, given the circumstances, and quite manageable. The kids’ biggest […]

Year of Faith Retreat – Week 2, Day 5: Because It’s the Right Thing To Do (The Sacraments at the Service of Communion)

WEEK TWO: Sacraments (Celebrating the Christian Mystery) DAY 5: Because It’s the Right Thing to Do  (The Sacraments at the Service of Communion) I once took a group of high school youth to visit Fr. Larry Craig, who was the chaplain at Cook County Jail in Chicago. Fr. Larry was a pretty tough cookie with a chiseled face like Clint Eastwood and a husky voice like Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). One of the kids asked him […]

What’s Up with the Cup?

There seems to be what I consider to be a disturbing, albeit minor, trend of  dioceses  eliminating receiving from the Cup during Holy Communion. First, the Diocese of Phoenix and now the Diocese of Madison. This is an important issue for catechists to stay on top of. For the past quarter of a century or so, many of us have been working very hard to encourage people to receive Holy Communion under both species. Now, we’re […]

An Interesting Update

Some time ago, a catechetical leader shared her comments here about the total revamping of the catechetical program at her parish. I invited her to update us which she has done. Some interesting and innovative approaches: Dear Joe,  I shared with you how we completely revamped our religious ed. program.  You invited me to share more, so “here goes.”   I had been a catechist for about 16 years before I became the Director of Faith […]

The Catholicism Project

Tonight, at the NCCL conference, I attended a preview of Fr. Bob Barron’s exciting new Catholicism Project. Fr. Bob was a teacher of mine in my Doctor of Ministry program and is one of the most brilliant minds in Catholic thought today. His Catholicism Project is a multi-textured introduction and explanation of the depths of the Catholic faith. What sets Fr. Bob apart from other Catholic “personas” is his ability to speak intelligently about the […]

What’s Up with this Exorcist Stuff?

You may have come across some stories this past weekend about the U.S. Bishops hosting a conference on exorcism. In particular, the conference was organized by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, IL…yes, my brother. How he ended up coordinating that event, I don’t know, other than maybe the bishops figured that growing up in a family of 9 children, he and his siblings had a little “devil” in us! 🙂 Seriously, though, I just […]

A Gift from Jesus

At the end of my workshop In Hartford, CT, on Saturday (speaking on leading guided reflections), a priest came up to chat with me. I hesitate to call him an elderly priest because, although he was obviously up there in years, he had such a youthful attitude that it made him seem quite young. Anyway, the priest was telling me how he’s been doing guided reflections in catechesis for many years and that one thing […]

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