Catechist Corner

Teaching Thursdays

If you have any ideas or tips that you wish to share, send them my way so that I can share them with the entire catechetical staff.

Preparing Our Hearts - Advent - Thursday, November 21

This year is moving by rapidly! Thanksgiving is next week and Advent begins on Sunday, December 1.  I hope that this season of Advent helps you to grow closer in relationship to Jesus, Emmauel, God With Us! 
Here are some things that you can do to help prepare your heart for Christmas.

Best Advent Ever  
Every day during Advent, you’ll receive an email with a short video from Matthew Kelly and the Dynamic Catholic team.
It’s free and easy to sign up. All you have to do is go to and enter your name and email address. Don’t forget to invite your family and friends so they too can experience the best Advent Ever!

Preparing Our Hearts – Sacrament of Penance
Our Advent Penance Service will take place on Tuesday, December 10th at 7pm at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.  Saint John the Baptist prepared the people for the coming of Jesus by proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”  We too can prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus by receiving his sacrament of healing and mercy. 

Our Marian Novena - November 30-December 9
Beginning Nov 30 (during the 5:30pm Mass), each night will focus on a different apparition of the Blessed Mother.  See the attached flyer or check out the St Mary's Website, Facebook page, or bulletin for the entire Novena Calendar.

Here are some things that you can do in class to help your students celebrate Advent.
Advent Lessons:
Grade appropriate lessons for Advent: Loyola Press Advent Lessons for All Grades

Here is a great article about what we can focus on as we teach about Advent:
Waiting and Preparation: Teaching Advent and Christmas

Saint Charles Borromeo, Patron Saint of Catechists - Monday, November 4, 2019

I delayed last Thursday's Teaching until today, because today, Monday, November 4th, we celebrate the Feast day of Saint Charles Borromeo, Patron Saint of Catechists. Below you will find a reflection by Joe Paprocki about Saint Charles Borromeo, a wonderful quote from this great saint and a prayer for catechists. Thank you for all your work and St. Charles Borromeo, pray for us!

In her book, My Best Teachers Were Saints, author Susan H. Swetnam writes about St. Charles Borromeo, the patron saint of catechists, whose feast day we celebrate today. She explains that he supervised the writing of an accurate catechism, rewrote liturgical texts and music, and began enforcing clerical reform in Rome after the Council of Trent. She writes that he was, “an energetic reformer who took ‘always the most austere and stringent interpretation’ of the dictates of the Council of Trent,” and was, “instrumental in helping reinvigorate the church during the Counter-Reformation. His work, it is said, ‘gave new confidence to a shaken church.’”

New confidence to a shaken Church.
Sound like something needed today? I’d say; perhaps more than ever!
As we celebrate this day, let us ask Charles Borromeo to intercede for us catechists so that we may receive the grace needed to effectively and powerfully proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and bring new confidence to a shaken Church and a wounded world.
“If we wish to make any progress in the service of God we must begin every day of our life with new eagerness. We must keep ourselves in the presence of God as much as possible and have no other view or end in all our actions but the divine honor.”
—Saint Charles Borromeo
Prayer of St. Charles Borromeo
Almighty God, you have generously made known to human beings the mysteries of your life through Jesus Christ your son, in the Holy Spirit. Enlighten my mind to know these mysteries which your Church treasures and teaches. Move my heart to love them and my will to live in accord with them. Give me the ability to teach this faith to others without pride, without ostentation, and without personal gain. Let me realize that I am simply your instrument for bringing others to the knowledge of the wonderful things you have done for all your creatures. Help me to be faithful to this task that you have entrusted to me. Amen.

Reaching Out and Sharing Faith - October 24, 2019

At the Catechist Meeting in the beginning of September, I spoke about the theme for the Catechetical Year, STAY WITH US. It is a call to all of us to reach out to those who are Catholic and a part of our parish family to help them see the beauty and joy of the faith.  Our hope is that they may strengthen their faith and establish deep roots in the Catholic faith.

In preparing for this year, I found a great article and a short podcast (3) 5 minutes segments (15 minutes total) that gave some great thought and ideas on how we can better engage with the children you teach and their families.  

More About the Catechetical Year: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Resources for 2019 Catechetical Year

Article: On Mission to the Nones – The Leadership Conversion and the Call to Disciple-Making

Podcast: (Free to listen) Helping Parents and Families Engage & Evangelize the Nones in their Homes  - good tips for how to ask questions and talk about faith with young people

Using the Text Book - October 17, 2019

I spoke about the textbook at the Catechist Meeting, but wanted to highlight a couple of ways that I have used it in a classroom setting.

And check out this creative way to use the text, highlight key concepts, and keep the students engaged:   Creative Approaches to Reading from a Textbook: Clue Cards

1.    Let the children read! It gives them a safe way to participate in the teaching process. Ask for some volunteers and assign them a section so that they know what they are reading and won’t panic when it is their turn. Letting them read also helps them learn vocabulary and keeps the other students engaged because they have to pay attention to when it is their turn.
2.    Recap and Connect – After you finish a section, ask the children some open-ended questions. Your teacher guide usually has some or create your own. Connect what was read to earlier lessons or to things the children have experienced.
Example: After reading about what happens during Confirmation, remind the students about what they learned about baptism and make the connections (anointing with oil, light of Christ (fire)
Help the students connect what they are learning
to life and the lives of the saints.
Also let them do some of the activities in the book
to help them participate and to give you a chance
to regroup.
3.    Do at least one activity in the chapter. Every chapter has questions or an activity for the students to do. Let them pair up, take a moment alone or as a class to answer the question or do the activity. Take time to discuss their answers.  This has several purposes: It gives them a chance to think; it gives you a chance to see what was learned and to regroup before moving forward; and it gives any parents who open the book an opportunity to see that they are doing work and learning.
4.    Read the stuff in the little boxes! Those boxes have vocabulary words, talk about the lives of the saints, or give reminders about important faith concepts.
5.    The book is the GPS for the class. It will help you stay on the right track and keep the class from getting lost. When a lesson takes you off the road don’t be afraid to go on those small detours to share more about a saint or how we live out the lessons taught. Just remember to find your way back on course!