Engaging in Dialogue with Your Students

“I know why many religious education programs at parishes are struggling and yet why youth ministry is growing in some of those same parishes,” my friend Sarah said to me one day at a coffee shop. “I’m sure that some of these parishes have various factors involved,” she continued, “but I have found a common issue in my 12 years of being a youth minister. It’s pretty simple too.” I urged her to tell me […]

Finding God’s Love in Tragedies

In a recent lesson about the saints, my third-grade faith-formation class wanted to know how people become saints. They asked about the process of canonization by which the Church names someone a saint. While describing the process, we got sidetracked talking about miracles. The kids weren’t sure that miracles actually happen anymore; some thought a miracle was something like a magic trick. To help them see that miracles still happen in our world, I shared […]

Praying and Talking About Newtown, CT

Last evening was my first opportunity to be with my 6th graders in the wake of the tragic massacre in Newtown, CT. I came prepared to spend some quality time touching on the subject with them and praying about it. Here is what happened: As I was setting up for class, one young lady arrived early as usual to help me distribute materials. She said, without provocation, “Well, I’m very upset.” I asked her about […]

Shootings at CT Elementary School: When Will it Stop?

In the wake of the horrendous shootings at an elementary school in Newton, Connecticut, I can only say that it sickens me to have to run this post again.  Just substitute “Newton, CT” for “Virginia Tech.”Please pray for the victims, the survivors, and their families. The shooting at Virginia Tech will be the “Columbine” for the children we are teaching. Witnessing television reports about such violent events can result in fear and confusion. The sudden […]