Lent: So What’s Up with the Number 40?

“These forty days of Lent, O Lord, to you we fast and pray…”  We all know that Lent has 40 days, but it may cause us to wonder about the significance of the number 40. Did you know that the number 40 appears in the Bible nearly 200 times? What’s up with that? In the Bible, the number 40 is symbolic and represents a significant period of time during which an individual’s faith is tested. What is […]

Active Learning That “Sticks”

I’ve always been a proponent of active learning—making sure that learners are actively involved in the process of accessing new information—and I’ve written about this here previously. Now, let me give you a specific example that I find very effective. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved stickers! Who doesn’t? I know that my wife and I found stickers to be one of the best ways of keeping our kids occupied on car rides. […]

Don’t Put Words in God’s Mouth!

When teaching others, especially children, about Scripture, we often find ourselves paraphrasing the actual Scripture passage in order to use words that more closely resonate with contemporary experience. This is all well and good, and I do it myself all the time; however, it is important that we expose people to the actual Scripture passages we are summarizing to ensure that we are not putting words in God’s mouth! Recently, I overheard someone speaking to […]

Praying the Scriptures with Lectio Divina

Lectio divina is an ancient method of praying the Scriptures. The name means “sacred reading,” and the prayer invites slow reading and praying with a Scripture passage. In the video below, Becky Eldredge, a spiritual director and author of Busy Lives & Restless Souls, explains lectio divina. Suggested Uses for the Video Use this video in your catechetical classroom with older students to introduce this prayer form. Then lead an experience of lectio divina with […]

Faithfully Adapting Scripture Stories for Children

It is not unusual for catechists and publishers of textbooks to adapt Scripture stories for children. Let’s face it: the Bible was not written for seven-year-olds! When adapting Scripture stories for children, however, it is imperative that we remain faithful to Sacred Scripture and not change the essence of the stories we are relating. For example, until I was an adult, I thought that, in the story of Cain and Abel, Cain’s offering was not […]

Scripture Skits—Free New Testament Plays

Children excel at pretending, so get them out of their seats to learn about Scripture with our free New Testament plays. Key teachings of Jesus from the Gospels form the basis for these Scripture skits: Jesus Teaches How to Live and Love Jesus on the Mountainside: The Feeding of the Five Thousand and the Sermon on the Mount Two Parables of Jesus: The Good Samaritan and the Lost Son Each short play includes background information […]

Promoting Catholic Identity, Part 4: A Reverence for Scripture and Tradition

This is the fourth article in a series on the five characteristics of Catholic identity and how we can nurture those in our children. An important part in developing our Catholic identity is fostering a deep appreciation for the source of the knowledge of our faith. The Catholic Church recognizes that God’s Revelation comes to us in two ways: Scripture and Tradition. Many children may not get an experience of Bible passages in context, as […]

Remembering the Larger Story in Catechesis

As we near the midpoint of our catechetical year, we can begin to feel dragged out and even a little intimidated as catechists. We’ve come so far since the fall, and there is so much left to do. We can get so caught up in parish life that we feel overwhelmed and lose our focus on what moves us and inspires our ministry. We can forget that all of the activities, planning, and preparing we […]

Summary of 10/15/13 Session: God Creates Something Good Out of Nothing

Yesterday, I gave a couple of little tidbits (Ave Maria activity and a humorous comment from a student) about this past Tuesday’s session so now I thought I’d give a more detailed summary. For the first time, I had a couple of absentees so I was down to 7 students. As soon as students entered, I put them to work locating passages in the Bible using their Bible Bookmarks from my book The Bible Blueprint and a Scripture Search […]

Reviewing with the Bible Bookmarks

As the kids enter the room tomorrow evening, I will have them immediately get to work finding some Scripture passages using the Bible Bookmarks (from my book The Bible Blueprint) and their bibles along with the following worksheet which you can feel free to use. Take note that page numbers are different for every edition which is why I cannot provide an answer key. Likewise, this activity will only work if all of the children are […]

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