Book Club Bonus: Traditional Prayers with the Family

Editor’s note: In our online book club, we’re reading Jane Knuth’s The Prayer List…and Other True Stories of How Families Pray. Each Tuesday through August 7, 2018, we’ll bring you Book Club Bonus Days—sharing additional stories of family prayer, continuing the weekly conversation, and more. Find all the book club posts here. Family Rosary Daily prayer with a large family is a bit like being a circus performer where one has to keep a bunch […]

Beyond Memorizing Words to Meditating with Traditional Prayers

This past year I was a substitute catechist for my parish’s faith-formation program. When a young man in one of the classes learned that I had written a book of meditations based on the lives of the saints, he said, “Of course it’s a book of meditations. It’s Bob.” Even though we didn’t spend much time together, he knew that prayer and contemplation are the source of all that I am and all that I […]

Singing Grace Before Meals

As I continue my quest to encourage Catholics to sing more when we gather for faith formation and various other activities in our parishes, I would like to suggest a simple melody for singing Grace before mealtime. Rather than create a new melody, I suggest we use the melody from the traditional “Agnus Dei” and use the words of our traditional Grace Before Meals prayer: Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts which we are […]

Three Ways to Teach the Creed to Younger Children

I was teaching a class of second graders the Nicene Creed when I started reciting it phrase by phrase. I asked them to repeat the lines after me. A group of children who attended Mass regularly realized they knew what came next and excitedly continued on without waiting for my prompts. I let them go, curious to see how far they would get. They spoke the words very quickly; whenever they paused or thought about […]

Taking to Heart the Apostles’ Creed

Each year, the Archdiocese of Omaha requires all third-grade Catholic-school teachers to teach the Apostles’ Creed. Teaching young children to memorize a prayer involves some traditional and non-traditional methods. I am always looking for new methods to help my students since every class is different. What worked with one class may not work with another. I dedicate two weeks to teaching my class the Creed before giving them a test. During the first week, I […]

Taking Prayers to Heart

I was born in 1959, which means that my first few years of faith formation in the early to mid-60s involved the Baltimore Catechism and its emphasis on memorizing. After the Second Vatican Council, my remaining years of formal faith formation (mid-60s and 70s) moved in new directions inspired by the Council but with a definite shift in one specific area. Memorization was deemed an old-fashioned, lifeless way of learning. The result, of course, is that as I […]

Year of Faith Retreat – Week 4, Day 4: Family Heirlooms (Forms of Prayer, Part III)

WEEK FOUR: Prayer DAY 4: Family Heirlooms (Forms of Prayer, Part III) I’m one of those people who was born (1959) right before the Second Vatican Council so I remember (slightly) the Latin Mass and the beginnings of my religious formation with the Baltimore Catechism. Of course, the approach employed with the Baltimore Catechism included a fair amount of rote learning (memorization). Following the Second Vatican Council, the religious formation I received was very different in nature and […]