Why Reconciliation?

I know there are many people who are downright terrified of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. They are scared for different reasons, but ultimately, I think, it comes down to the belief that they view themselves as unforgivable. How could God ever forgive me for doing this or that? Sadly, such thoughts keep people from having that deep, intimate, and loving friendship that Jesus came down from heaven to restore. Let’s face it, St. […]

Encouraging Reconciliation

In a recent class, I asked who had made their First Reconciliation. All my third-grade students raised their hands. But when I asked how many have celebrated Reconciliation since then, the majority of their hands went down. Even though these children are only one year removed from preparing for their First Reconciliation, they still need to learn about Reconciliation and God’s forgiveness. How do we turn a first-time experience into a life-long practice? I decided to […]

First Reconciliation Parent Session

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of facilitating the First Reconciliation Parent Meeting at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Evergreen Park, IL, where I served as a catechist for a number of years. I had been the presenter at this meeting several times in the past, however, I was not comfortable just delivering a talk in the church to the parents who sat passively throughout. I worked with the DRE, Lori Kennedy, to create a […]

Actively Waiting for Advent—Free Prayer Packet

We wait at the doctor’s office. We wait in traffic. We wait in line at the coffee shop. We wait our turn. We wait for a sign from God. We wait to be heard. We wait. Advent is waiting, also, but not in the listless, zoned-out way like we might wait at the local coffee shop, nor in the anxious, bored way we might wait at the doctor’s office or in traffic. Advent is active […]

Thank God for the Textbook!

On pg. 40 of my book, The Catechist’s Toolbox, I mention that one of the top ten things that can go wrong for a catechist is “You’re done with your lesson and you still have 35 minutes to go!” Would you believe 50 minutes? That’s exactly what happened to me last night! We took our 6th graders to church for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and we were told to anticipate that it would take the […]

40 Ideas for 40 Days – Lenten Activities: Name That Song – the 7 Deadly Sins

The focus of this session is on the 7 Deadly Sins, a good way to prepare for the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation during Lent. Identify each of the 7 Deadly Sins and their brief definitions (see chart below). Download or otherwise acquire versions of each of the following songs and play about 60 seconds of each song, one at a time, inviting the young people to guess which of the 7 Deadly Sins the […]

A Very Prayerful Monday

This past Monday turned out to be a very prayerful evening and a good way to begin Advent with my 6th graders! We met in church for the Advent Prayer Service which I put together a couple of years ago. I love when the bell ringers (hand chimes) call the assembly to order by slowing walking down the aisle and sounding their chimes. It really creates a sense of reverence and all the kids quieted down beautifully. […]

A Video Examination of Conscience

In preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation next week, I did a little exploring on YouTube for a video examination of conscience. Here’s one that I found that’s not bad. I plan to search for more. If you know of a good one, please share!

Year of Faith Retreat – Week 2, Day 4: We Are All Broken (The Sacraments of Healing)

WEEK TWO: Sacraments (Celebrating the Christian Mystery) DAY 4: We Are All Broken (The Sacraments of Healing) No doubt you are familiar with Horatio Alger. Horatio Alger, Jr. was a 19th century American author who wrote a number of what came to be known as “rags-to-riches” stories, which embodied what became known as the American Dream—that is, the idea that through hard work, determination, and courage, anyone could lift themselves up out of poverty. This kind of thinking is […]

Catechists in Action – Fr. Matt Visits Steve’s Lascola’s 3rd Graders

In this segment of Catechists in Action, 3rd grade catechist Steve Lascola welcomes the Associate Pastor, Fr. Matt to class to speak to the children about recieving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Watch for the following: Steve has the children stand to greet Fr. Matt as he enters – a nice show of respect. Steve welcomes Fr. Matt as the “expert” on Reconciliation Fr. Matt goes over the sheet that outlines the procedure for going to […]

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