National Bible Week 2016

National Bible Week

Catholics have come a long way in our understanding and appreciation of the Bible. For too long, Catholics were not encouraged to read and pray Scripture. Since the Second Vatican Council, (and especially the publication of Dei Verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation), our Church has encouraged us to delve more deeply into God’s Word. With that in mind, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is once again inviting Catholics to participate in National […]

small group for Year of Mercy
Adult Faith Formation

90 Participating in Year of Mercy Small Faith Groups

Earlier this month, my parish, Christ the King, began hosting six small faith groups with 90 total participants gathering weekly for four weeks to reflect on Scripture passages related to the Year of Mercy. Two of the groups are being led by our Associate Pastor, Fr. Matt Litak, while the other four are being led by parishioners, including me. Two of the groups are meeting in the rectory, three are meeting in homes, and one—my group—is meeting in the […]

Year of Mercy
Spiritual Growth

A New Commandment and the Year of Mercy

In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus gives his disciples and us the New Commandment. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34–35, NIV). So what is “new” about this commandment? The duty of loving neighbors is grounded in the Old Testament and had been at […]

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Adult Faith Formation

An Umbrella of Mercy

My friend and colleague, Kathy Donnelly, sent this wonderful story along to me. According to Sr. Phyllis Schenk, O.P., the Director of Religious Education at Resurrection Parish in Illiopolis, Illinois, the parish installed an Umbrella of Mercy in the church for the Year of Mercy. Under the umbrella are Loyola Press Beatitude Cards and small wooden plaques. Parishioners are encouraged to take a Beatitude Card home and to write on the plaque a time when they were shown mercy […]

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Lenten Activities

A Lent of Mercy

My third graders always embrace Lent. I will include all my usual Lenten activities this year, but because this is the Year of Mercy, I will be adding some new activities that will help my students perform works of mercy. The first activity will be a visual reminder of Lent. (My young students are visual learners.) Outside my classroom is a very large wall on which we usually display artwork. I will construct a very […]

Year of Mercy
Catechetical Issues & Topics

Five Ideas for Including the Year of Mercy in the Classroom

After my first year working as the Director of Faith Formation, I realized that I had spent very little time focusing on Christian service with my students. Though service has been a great influence on my own faith, with our calendar already packed with so much curriculum to cover, service seemed like something extra—something nice to have if we could find the time. The Year of Mercy, however, offers catechists a unique opportunity to be […]

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Ten Commandments, Sin, & Morality

The Mercy Rule: How to Teach the Works of Mercy

Are you familiar with the “mercy rule” in sports? The mercy rule states that if one team is ahead by an insurmountable lead, the game ends so as to not drag out the humiliation of the losing team. Since many children play sports, they are familiar with the mercy rule. It can be a great starting place for teaching mercy and the fact that we are called to show God’s compassion to everyone, even our […]

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Catechetical Issues & Topics

Let Mercy Flow!

Welcome to the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, which officially began just a few days ago on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2015! Mercy is a concept that is at the heart of Pope Francis’s papacy and is a much-needed reality in today’s world and in our Church. Here are a few resources to support you in your efforts to observe and celebrate this Year of Mercy with those you teach. Loyola […]

children serving by joining in clean-up day
Intermediate Grades

Mercy Opportunities for Fifth Grade Finding God

As I mentioned last month, I will be working with two fifth-grade catechists at St. Cajetan Parish this year to provide a Year of Mercy focus for their students and their parents and families. The catechists are hoping to engage the young people in a work of mercy during every lesson throughout the year. To that end, I have created the following chart which draws from the main theme of each chapter of the fifth grade Finding […]

service day - girl with donations box
Catechetical Issues & Topics

Bringing the Year of Mercy to Fifth Graders and Their Parents

As I’m sure you know by now, Pope Francis has declared an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, which will begin December 8, 2015, and last until November 20, 2016, the Feast of Christ the King. As I’ve described here before, mercy can be understood as treating people like they are one of the family. With that in mind, I am happy to announce that I will be working with two outstanding catechists at St. Cajetan Parish […]