Giving Thanks Is Transformative

Thanksgiving is such a welcome break for us during these very stressful times. And, even though our Thanksgiving celebrations may not look like they usually do, we must not underestimate the power of gratitude. In her book, Spiritual Practices for the Brain, Anne Kertz Kernion points out that gratitude has a transformative power: Each of us gets knocked around by life now and again, so it’s helpful to remember that practicing gratitude can help us […]

Pop-Up Catechesis: Thanksgiving and the Virtuous Circle of Gratitude

Have you ever found yourself caught in a vicious circle? For example, you find yourself feeling a little down, so you treat yourself to a snack, a drink, or a purchase—only to find that the extra weight you’ve gained, the trouble you’ve gotten into with excessive drinking, or the piling debt you’re being buried under leads you to feeling a little down—and to make yourself feel better… The cycle continues! Well, there’s a different kind of […]

Thanksgiving Psalms Bumper Stickers

On those days when I drive to work on the crowded Chicago expressways, I can’t help but notice the wide variety of bumper stickers on the cars in front of me. Some of the bumper stickers announce the car owner’s allegiance to a particular sports team, his or her political leanings, hobbies, religious persuasion (or lack thereof), pet peeves, a favorite radio station, or the driver’s idea of humor or wisdom, just to name a few. […]

A Catechist’s Litany of Thanks

According to St. Ignatius Loyola, a healthy spirituality begins and ends with gratitude. On this Thanksgiving Day, we catechists have so much to be grateful for! Below is a catechist’s litany of thanks, which I invite you to add to. As a catechist, what are you most thankful for? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Happy Thanksgiving! To each of the following, we pray, “Thank you, Lord!” For my vocation as a catechist… […]

Thanksgiving Poems

My school celebrates Thanksgiving with a huge food drive for a local food pantry. Classrooms of older students are paired up with classrooms of younger students. This food drive really ignites our school as the pairs of classrooms compete to bring in the most food and win a pizza lunch. My classroom celebrates Thanksgiving by sharing stories. I have the children write a poem called “A Story of Thanks,” that gives thanks using each of […]

Thanksgiving Prayer Placemat

Set the atmosphere for a faith-filled Thanksgiving by sending children home with a Thanksgiving prayer placemat. Fun for kids of all ages (even adults!), the center of the placemat includes a child’s prayer of gratitude next to a cornucopia to color. Surrounding the prayer are several activities for children to do in the classroom during a discussion on the holiday or while waiting for the family to sit down to dinner: a question to prompt […]

Thanksgiving: Gratitude Is a Prerequisite for Discipleship

As Thanksgiving is fast approaching, I’d like to share a few thoughts about gratitude. Today, more than ever, we are hearing the term discipleship used in Catholic circles, as we seek to breathe new life into the Church and advance the New Evangelization. It occurs to me that a prerequisite for discipleship is an attitude of gratitude—a virtue that leads us away from cynicism, pessimism, and indifference and toward hope, faith, and love (charity). I’m sure […]

Gratitude for the Little Things

It’s so easy to be annoyed by the little things. How hard can it be, then, to allow ourselves to be thankful for the little things? The other day, I was on the verge of being completely annoyed by the traffic that made me miss my usual train. Instead, realizing that I was now “early” for the next train, I strolled at a leisurely pace from my parking spot to the train station. I took […]

When and How to Introduce Advent

The first week of Advent begins on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. While that is usual, it forces me to make a choice in how to introduce Advent: Do I talk about the season early, before Thanksgiving? Or do I wait until after the holiday break, when the season has already started? I’ve alternated my approach through the years, but I usually like to at least introduce Advent before the holiday, inviting the young people to […]

10 Things Catechists Can Be Thankful For

With Thanksgiving upon us, I thought it would be a good time for us catechists to pause and give thanks for so many blessings that we have. Here are 10 things that I think catechists can be thankful for, and I invite you to add to the list. For those we are privileged to teach. For our fellow catechists and catechetical leaders. For quality print and online resources from our Catholic publishers. For the guidance […]

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