Racism: Are We Cultivating a Patch of Weeds in Our Garden?

Recently after Sunday Mass, my wife and I were chatting with our pastor outside of the church. He drew our attention to one of the gardens along the side of the church, pointed at a patch of green plants and said, “I’ve been meaning to ask someone, are these weeds? Should I be pulling them?” Joanne and I, with our limited knowledge of gardening, were not quite sure ourselves. Some weeds are easy to spot. […]

Third Sunday of Lent, Year C

Turning away from sin is a good thing. However, it is possible to turn away from sin and still not know where you are going! Repentance is concerned not primarily with the act of turning away from sin but with turning toward God. When we run toward God, we will turn our backs on sin, but our focus will not be on our sins but on the loving mercy of God that we seek to […]

Session 6: October 22, 2013 – When We Don’t Trust God, We Face Consequences (Adam & Eve; Cain & Abel)

Here is my plan for this evening’s session. I will have 60 minutes to teach before we take the kids to church for the Rosary in honor of the Month of the Holy Rosary. Big Idea: When We Stop Trusting God, We Face Consequences (Adam and Eve; Cain & Abel) Preliminaries: (15 mins)  As students enter, have them work immediately on coloring their Creation Drawings from last week. Allow 10 mins total and then share and collect. Opening […]

40 Ideas for 40 Days – Lenten Activities: Overcoming Impulses

Sin is often the result of acting on an impulse – like a reflex action that we do without thinking. During Lent, we strive to pay closer attention to how we act so that we can learn to discipline our impulses and not act reflexively. Materials needed: several cotton balls or rolled up paper towels, a transparent barrier (a wire screen, a piece of clear plastic, etc.), a heavy book and a table top.  Say, […]

Entering the Stories of Genesis (Creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel)

For Monday evening’s session, we will begin exploring the stories of Genesis, beginning with Creation, Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel. I’m going hi-tech for this session, showing a number of brief video clips from YouTube. Here’s the plan. BIG IDEA: God creates something from nothing and sin has consequences. Preliminaries (15 mins) Students enter and write down prayer intentions Procession to set up prayer center Opening Prayer ritual Engage (10 mins) Show video […]

Year of Faith Retreat – Week 1, Day 4: What Are You Afraid Of?

WEEK ONE: The Creed DAY 4: What Are You Afraid Of? (Sin, Salvation, and the Cross of Jesus) Fear is a natural human condition. The following are considered some of the most common fears. Which do you share? Spiders, snakes, heights, closed spaces, lightning, injections, social situations, flying, germs/dirt, public speaking, darkness It often seems as though we have many things to fear. Perhaps this is why one of the most commonly used phrases in the […]

God’s Plan of Salvation

Here’s what I’m planning right now for my class this coming Monday, September 27, 2010. Theme: God’s Plan of Salvation Big Idea: God, our Rock, can be trusted because he kept his promise. Although God gave us the wonderful gift of Creation, we sinned against him and one another. The story of Adam and Eve describes how this happened. Despite our sin, God promised to save us from sin and he kept his promise by sending […]

Not Sure What I Did Wrong

One of the Two-Minute Drills that I organized for my class on Monday evening involved a demonstration using water, food coloring, and bleach. You fill a clear glass with water (about half full), add a drop or two of food color to represent sin, stir, and then add bleach to make the color disappear, representing the effect of God’s grace. Many catechists and Sunday school teachers use this demonstration to show how grace dispels sin. […]

What it Means to Pick Up Your Cross

I had the pleasure of attending an evening of reflection at the McDonough Chapel of Saint Xavier University last night to listen to Dr. Barbara Reid, OP, Professor of New Testament Studies, Vice President, and Academic Dean at the Catholic Theological Union at Chicago. Barbara did a wonderful job of helping us to reflect on the meaning of the Cross of Jesus, very appropriate for the Lenten season. She talked about how most people will respond to […]

Lenten Odds N Ends

I hope your Lent is off to a good start. Remember, Lent is not easy but it’s not a downer. Why else would the Sacramentary refer to Lent as “this joyful season?” (First Preface for Lent) Renewal is good…but it takes hard work. As we move forward into Lent, I want to remind you that I am willing to be your Lenten partner (I offered this on my webinar). In other words, you are welcome […]

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