Engaging Children Online

Like many others, my parish has turned to virtual faith formation classes. Last spring, we had a few virtual sessions to close out the year, so I got a sample of what was in store. The difference this year was that I had never met any of my students in person, and I wondered how I could engage them. I mailed each child a postcard to say welcome to the class. I e-mailed each family […]

Tips for Catechists Doing Faith Formation Remotely (Video)

As a catechist, it’s possible you’re being asked to teach faith formation lessons online this fall due to the ongoing pandemic or as a new approach to doing faith formation in your parish or diocese. Either way, if you’re new to this concept of facilitating remote lessons, I am pleased to share the following free video with you. It offers some basic tips to get you started proclaiming the Good News of Jesus in the […]

Re-Starting Religious Education This Fall: Loyola Press Digital Resources to Assist Parents and Parishes

As the pandemic continues and with fall right around the corner, parishes are making decisions about how to re-start religious education programs safely and wisely. Among the options being considered are: in-person sessions catechists teaching remote lessons parents teaching lessons at home a hybrid or combination of some of each of the above. The bottom line is parishes are looking for versatility and flexibility when it comes to using quality, approved catechetical resources with families […]

Finding God in the Digital World: Introducing Wanderlight!

St. Ignatius taught that a life of faith leads us to find God in all things, whether it be nature, experiences, relationships, or even technology. It is no surprise, then, that Ignatius did not hesitate to use cutting-edge technology—the printing press—to proclaim the Gospel to the world in the 16th century. In that same spirit, Loyola Press is proud and excited to introduce Wanderlight: A Pilgrim’s Adventure™ —an immersive digital game to help young people learn […]

Facilitating a Small Group Online: St. Andrew Parish in Chicago

For years, it seemed as though faith formation at the parish level tended to lag behind the rest of the world when it came to taking advantage of technology. That all changed with the pandemic, didn’t it? Suddenly, we realized that, if we wanted to reach people, we would have to enter the online world. One successful example could be found just a few blocks away from Loyola Press at St. Andrew Parish, where Pastoral Associate and Director […]

Connecting with Middle Schoolers on Zoom

In the past few months, I learned that middle-school students know what is going on in the world and are deeply affected by it. I learned that they understand the power of prayer, especially in interceding for others. I learned that they turn to God when they are scared. I learned that they love their families intensely. How did I learn this? I learned it during our weekly Zoom calls, during which I offered them […]

Creating an Online Presence in One Week: A Tale of One Chicago Parish

When stay-at-home orders went into effect in mid-March because of the pandemic, many parish religious education programs found themselves facing unimaginable challenges. The main challenge, of course, was how to reach families and children who still had another six weeks of faith formation sessions left in the catechetical year. Many catechetical leaders and catechists all over the country responded with heroic efforts to sustain their programs through virtual contact. One such parish is St. Sylvester, […]

Technology, Prayer, and Catechesis

When it comes to prayer, many of us think that it is a prerequisite to turn off all electronic devices that might distract us. Although we certainly need to cut down on distractions, the truth is, the world of cyberspace offers us numerous opportunities to deepen our prayer lives. With that in mind, I encourage you to read an excellent article by my friend Jonathan Sullivan, Executive Director of the Department of Evangelization, Education, and […]

Forming a “Sheen Squad” for I.T. Assistance in RE Programs

The New Evangelization calls for presenting the Gospel with a new “ardor, methods, and expression.” I propose a new “expression” that would meet a pressing need in our faith formation programs: the “SHEEN SQUAD” to assist catechists with I.T. needs. It would be composed of teens/young adults who volunteer as aides for religious education programs to help catechists integrate technology into their sessions. The name, of course, mimicks the well-known “Geek Squad” which offers computer-related services […]

The Lure of Technology

I mentioned in my post the other day that I used my laptop and LCD projector to invite my 6th graders to come forward and arrange images in chronological order to tell the Exodus/Passover story and that they did this for the parents who were visiting for Open House. One of the parents attending had her 3rd grade son with her and he was transfixed by the images on the screen. As we were nearing […]

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