The First Class of the Year

What is your goal for the first day of faith formation? My goal is to set the tone for the year, build community, and inspire everyone to come back for week two. Each week my lesson plan has a theme. My theme for our first class is “Connected by God’s Love.” In some sense, this is our theme for our whole year. God is at the center of why we all are there. God is […]

Calling Children by Name

“I have called you by name, you are mine,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 43:1) This intimate connection we have with God is a gift to be celebrated. Being named Kathleen, I’ve gone through life with people automatically assuming I want to be called “Kathy” or “Kate.” I don’t want to be called something else; my name is Kathleen. When I meet my religious education students, the first thing I do is ask them their names […]

Inspiration for a Worried Teacher

If you’re feeling nervous about the approaching new catechetical year, you’re not alone. Read and pray with this excerpt from A Catholic Woman’s Book of Days by Amy Welborn. And let’s pray for each other as we prepare to meet our students. “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of […]

A Plan for the First Session of Seventh Grade

I’m never sure what to expect on the first day of religious education. How many students will show up? What will they be like? How long will the opening prayer service and send-off to classrooms take? A catechist always needs to be flexible, but the first day of sessions makes that quality even more important. This year I had 14 young people on my roster, 13 of whom attended the first session. I expect the […]

Transitions and Expectations: Facing a New Catechetical Year

CatechistsJourney.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, publishers of the God’s Gift program for sacramental preparation. The program is available for primary and intermediate levels, as well as for programs that celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Restored Order. The start of the new catechetical year has always brought me much excitement for the graces that will come; it has also brought a little anxiety as I think about the ways that God […]

Starting the Catechetical Year

In the next few weeks, many of us will be starting the new catechetical year. Before walking into the classroom to meet your group, find advice and inspiration with some of our favorite starting-the-year posts. Getting Started as a Catechist Webinars Our blog host Joe Paprocki helps new catechists get acclimated to the ministry in a series of recorded webinars. Select the group you’re working with for age-level specific advice. Five Tips for Working with […]

Feeling Like a First-Year Catechist

Despite having 15 years of experience, I feel like a first-year catechist in many ways this year. Our parish has a new catechetical leader. I will be in a different classroom on a different floor of the school building. My room has tables instead of individual desks. The religious education office moved to different location within the parish space. Things are changing, and I’m hoping the changes bring positive effects for our program. On the […]

And Away We Go!

I’m old enough to remember how Jackie Gleason would say, “And awaaaay we go!” at the beginning of his TV show every week. Those words popped into my mind as we kicked off the catechetical year at St. Cajetan Parish last week. We began with a prayer service in church, which included blessings of the parents, children, catechists, and Finding God textbooks. After some inspiring words from the pastor, Fr. Frank Kurucz, the young people were […]

Start-of-the-Year Parent Gathering—Free PowerPoint Presentation

As you plan for the new catechetical year, schedule a start-of-the-year parent gathering. This is a great opportunity to meet parents and encourage them in their role as their children’s first catechist. To help you, I’m offering a free PowerPoint presentation, complete with suggested script, for hosting a parent gathering. The message it conveys is that faith formation isn’t just another activity; it’s a way of life. Support the domestic church with this encouraging presentation […]

Combatting the “Drop-Off” Mentality

This afternoon, I met with Deb Breakey, the DRE of St. Cajetan Parish in Chicago, to brainstorm a new way to kick off the catechetical year this Fall designed to combat the “drop-off” mentality that so many parents have when it comes to their children’s faith formation. We are working on designing an experience on the first night of religious education that, in essence, will be an intergenerational event. Parents will be asked to gather with […]