We are in the midst of a season that compels us to express our gratitude, and, as Catholics, we are always called to give gratitude to God, especially as we participate in the celebration of the Eucharist. In Scripture, St. Paul exhorts us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18), to give thanks always and for everything (Ephesians 5:20).
Ministry leaders are working hard this year to adapt programs to new formats, including online and hybrid models. It can be tempting to “copy and paste” old programs into new formats, to put old wine into new wineskins (see Matthew 9:17, Mark 2:22, and Luke 5:37–38). For example, we can email parents a lesson plan and tell them which pages to cover in the religious ed textbook, or we can gather the teens on Zoom to watch the youth minister give a talk and send them into breakout rooms for small group time. These solutions are fine, but they fail to respond creatively and take into account the reality we are all experiencing.
Very little about 2020 is “business as usual.” If your parish is planning to begin the academic year with in-person gatherings, you need to develop clear guidelines for your ministries and, because nothing this year is predictable, have contingency plans ready.
“I desperately need guidance as a catechist. I'm being told by my DRE . . . to 'send home lessons.'
I'm not a professional educator. I don't have back up or tools or tech support. Just a mandate to do it.”
—Recent comment from a blog reader
Planning lessons as a catechist can be challenging. Planning lessons to send home for parents to complete with their children can be even more difficult! Whether you find yourself as a catechist in a religious education program that is dividing its time between classroom instruction on the church campus and family instruction at home or you’re experiencing a global pandemic and suddenly need to prepare lessons to send home for several weeks, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.
Every year, I find myself struggling with Christmas gift shopping. I want to be generous, I like to give people gifts, but I don’t want to give in to the temptation of consumerism that plagues us during the holidays.