Sharing Stories of Family Faith

As I reflect on how my religion class has gone so far this year, I’m struck by how often my third graders tie the concepts they learn back to their families and their relationships with one another. With each concept taught, we share stories about our experiences with our families. Building a comfortable relationship within the class that leads to students sharing family traditions is my favorite part of teaching our Catholic faith. For example, […]

Storytelling as a Tool for Evangelization

Often, when I travel to different parts of the country, people quickly spot my Midwestern/South side of Chicago way of talking. The way we speak and act can often “give us away,” as when Peter denied Jesus after the bystanders said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” (Matthew 26:73) The big question is, can people spot us as being citizens of the Kingdom of God? Does the way we talk […]

Are We Still Sharing Stories?

As a starter activity for a recent session on parables, I asked the young people in my seventh-grade group to think about some of their favorite stories. A few people asked for clarification: what kind of stories? Wanting to keep the activity broad in scope, I told them, “Any kind. Personal stories, family stories, or a favorite story you read.” The kids turned their heads to their papers, and some of them jotted some notes. […]

Sharing Stories to Teach the Faith

We are a few weeks into the new school year, and my third graders are finally settling into the routine of class. Our first lesson focused on the Holy Spirit. My students learned that the Holy Spirit helps guide us to live as Christians. As we read the chapter in our textbook, my students highlighted important sentences, phrases, and vocabulary words. We stopped several times during our reading to discuss how the Spirit guides us […]

Sharing Stories of Faith

We don’t make disciples of Jesus Christ by engaging others in debate or by lecturing to them about principles of dogma. Jesus’ preferred method of engaging others and teaching about the Kingdom was through storytelling. People are more open to hearing a story about an everyday life experience in which God’s nearness is revealed. As a Church, we need to take our cue from the highly successful TED talks, which effectively persuade and inspire countless numbers of […]

Stories, Not Labels

I work in the Office of New Evangelization for my diocese, and I remember a phone call from an 86-year-old woman named Gladys. She wanted to find out more about the “coming home” programs the diocese was offering for Catholics who had been away from the Church for a while. After a period of active listening and some gentle questioning, it became clear that Gladys herself wanted to return to the Catholic Church, but she […]

Sacraments and Stories: Reasons to Celebrate

I really enjoy teaching my students about the sacraments. After all, the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Jesus Christ through the sacraments. How could I not enjoy teaching them? In fact, I like to teach my kids that they don’t “do” the sacraments, they celebrate them! This can be a challenge when teaching the Sacraments of Healing. How can I teach my third graders to approach Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick with […]

Show and Tell: Sharing Your Story of Faith

Children ask a lot of pointed and profound questions about God that can be difficult for us to answer. Right up there with the question of “Why do bad things happen to good people?” has to be the question “What’s your story of faith?” or “Why do you believe in God?” While our students might not ask such questions using exactly these words, they will often try to ferret out from us why we believe […]

Adults Sharing Faith – Kids Listen In

Last week, we hosted an evening of adult faith formation at St. Cajetan parish that featured 5 adults forming a panel to share their stories of faith connected with the Rosary. While the event was sparsely populated (I’ve yet to solve the mystery of getting parents to attend faith formation while their children are in class…still working on it!), a bonus feature was that the 7th grade catechist brought his students over to “listen in.” […]

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