On the Cusp of Lent

Today we enjoy a last feast before tomorrow when Ash Wednesday ushers in the season of Lent. I wrote yesterday about Lenten fasting, but fasting is but one of the three elements of this penitential period. During Lent we are supposed to increase our prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Even as adults we can grumble about […]

Know Your Audience!

I recently heard an excellent catechesis on the distinction between venial and mortal sin, complete with illustrative props and an amusing subtext. I thought to myself that second graders preparing for their first confession would enjoy and remember it. Unfortunately, this catechesis was not being offered to second grade children, in fact, not really to […]

Parents and Parish Religious Ed

What should a parish offer families to support the religious education of their children? First and foremost, where possible, a parish should provide a good Catholic school. When I was a girl, every parish had its school, but times have changed here and the Catholic school system is no more. There are but a handful […]

Developing Faith in Children

Ask any children’s catechist about what they want from parents and after the eyeroll you will get a list of suggestions. Mostly, they look to parents to be the first educators of their children, introducing them to fundamentals of the faith, teaching them about Christ, memorizing basic prayers, going to Mass regularly. It is sad […]

The Christmas Crèche

A Christmas tradition kept in just about every Catholic home is the Nativity Scene or Crèche. The figurines representing the Holy Family and others who were present following the birth of Christ are presented in a manner that tells the story without words. We find small scenes under the Christmas tree and larger ones on […]

Are Your Kids Protected Against MTD?

In their book Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (2005), Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton revealed the results of extensive interviews with young Americans. They learned that the teenagers, regardless of their faith traditions, had more or less synthesized their beliefs into their own “religion”, what the authors called Moralistic […]

The Role of the Church in Education

When I was a little girl, like most Catholic children, I attended the neighborhood Catholic school. We were very privileged, compared with many other parts of the world, in that our education was free. There were parallel public school systems, Catholic and Protestant, although the Protestant system was largely secular. The Catholic schools were attached […]