Don’t Forget: Building a Better Disciple Series

Next Monday I’ll be launching the first in my five-part series of webinars entitled “Building a Better Disciple.” This series will focus on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ through the lens of Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.”

Information on the series — including registration information — can be found at If you are unable to participate in the live webinars you can check here or on the series web site for recordings a day or two after each live session.

I hope I’ll see you there!

Preview: Sunday Prayer for Catechists 2014-2015

As I’ve previously mentioned, I was privileged to write this year’s Sunday Prayer for Catechists book from Liturgy Training Publications. The book is out now and I’ve received very positive feedback (including notes from two of my childhood catechists!).

A preview of the book is available on Google Books:

Sunday Prayer for Catechists 2014-2015 is available from the LTP web site (in both digital and dead tree formats) for $2.00. I pray that it will be a blessing to catechists this coming year!

Free Webinar Series: Building a Better Disciple

Christ_Taking_Leave_of_the_ApostlesI’m pleased to announce that this fall I will be offering a free webinar series entitled “Building a Better Disciple.” Over the course of five webinars we will explore what it means to be a Christian through the lens of Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.”

Full information on the series is being posted at; here’s a quick overview of the sessions (clicking on the links will take you to the registration pages for each webinar):

October 13: Jesus: The Face of Discipleship
Before understanding how to become a disciple we must first know what a disciple is. Through the person of Jesus Christ we will come to know what it means to claim the name “Christian.”

October 20: Scripture and Tradition: The Boundaries of Discipleship
Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition – passed on through the biblical authors, the apostles, and their successors – form the deposit of our faith. As the basis for all of the Church’s teaching they also provide the boundary lines for discipleship by illuminating the path that followers of Christ must follow.

October 27: Christian Community: The Foundation of Discipleship
Faith is nurtured and sustained in the context of a community of believers. This session will explore how the Church in various contexts (family, parish, school, etc.) sets the stage for a life of discipleship.

November 3: Liturgy and Prayer: The Engine of Discipleship
In this webinar we will examine how the graces received in the sacraments, liturgical celebrations, and personal prayer fuel our capacity for embracing the call to discipleship.

November 10: Vocation and Mission: The Aim of Discipleship
Faith that is not put into practice is sterile. Connecting the themes of the previous webinars we will explore how the faithful participate in the Church’s mission in the world through their particular gifts and calling.

All webinars begin at 7:30p (Central Time) and will last 90 minutes. I hope you’ll be able to join me for this exciting series!

Come On Up to the House – My Guest Post For Margaret Felice


Today I’m honored to have a guest post over at the indefatigable Margaret Felice’s blog. Margaret is a religion teacher by day and opera singer by night; she’s hosting a series of guest posts highlighting favorite songs that have a spiritual significance to the authors. The song I chose, “Come On Up to the House” by Tom Waits, is a song that has long haunted my prayers:

Waits’ tune – mournful and hopeful at the same time – reminds me that, no matter what we suffer and endure, those hardships will one day be transformed by God’s mercy: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.” (Colossians 1:24)

You can read my complete reflection on “Come On Up to the House” — and listen to the song! — over at Margaret’s blog:

Reader Survey Results

A couple weeks ago I sent out a survey to the readers of this blog to get a sense of who is out there and what topics they find most interesting and helpful. In the interest of full disclosure I thought I would share some of the results of that survey.

Primary Catechetical Role

Role% of Respondents
(Arch)Diocesan Catechetical Leader41.6%
Parish Catechetical Leader9.0%
Evangelization Trainer9.0%

How You Follow the Blog

Method% of Respondents
Email Newsletter45.5%
RSS Feed18.2%
Checking the Site18.2%

Favorite Topics

Topic% of Respondents
Using Tech in Catechesis72.7%
Catechetical Resources63.6%
Leadership Tips54.5%
Catechetical Reflections45.5%
Book Reviews36.4%
Evangelizing Catechesis18.2%
Guest Posts18.2%
Reflections on Church Documents9.0%
Video Posts9.0%

Requested Topics

Topic% of Respondents
Leadership Tips45.5%
Using Tech in Catechesis45.5%
Catechetical Reflections27.2%
Book Reviews18.2%
Catechetical Resources18.2%
Reflections on Church Documents18.2%
Video Posts9.0%
Guest Posts0%

Social Media Use

Service% of Respondents

I also asked respondents what other catechetical blogs or podcasts they follow; responses included

Thanks to everyone who took the time to answers these questions! If you haven’t already, the survey is still open and will remain so for a few more days. Feel free to contribute your thoughts!

The Road Goes Ever On and On…

Today I’m traveling by train to Chicago for a meeting of the NCCL Rep Council. On our agenda, among other items, are discerning new board members, updates to the institutional web site, and how and to what extent to integrate evangelization into the structures of the organization. Please pray for NCCL and its leadership as we discuss these issues.

Next Thursday evening I will be in Brooklyn for a workshop with parish catechetical leaders in that diocese:

“When you pray”: Cultivating the New Evangelization through Prayer and Sacred Scripture
The New Evangelization is centered on the person of Jesus Christ and assisting others in their journey as his disciples. This evening of learning and reflection will guide participants through various scriptural prayer types with an eye for how they can deepen our relationship with Jesus.

Please pray for me and these catechetical leaders that the Holy Spirit may guide our time together!

A Quick Note to Email Subscribers

If you subscribe to my blog via email, I want to let you know that this weekend I’ll be switching the service that handles the email list from Feedburner to MailChimp. I’m hoping that there won’t be any glitches; my apologies in advance if you end up receiving multiple emails from me this weekend.

Please let me know if you notice any major problems with the system. Thanks for following me!

If You’re In the Central Illinois Area…

microphone - greenmmonster - flickrCC

…come join us for one of our office’s five regional workshops on catechesis and evangelization:

Nourished by Jesus, Called to Evangelize

Disciples must be rooted in Jesus Christ, who loves and saves and feeds us. This encounter with Jesus then leads us to introduce him to others – to pass on the faith we have received as a gift.

In this regional workshop we will spend time reflecting on the beauty and grace of the Eucharist, both as sacrament and as liturgical expression. You will come away with new insights to enrich your understanding and experience of the Mass. We will also explore how to form our children to appreciate liturgy as a powerful and intimate encounter with Jesus and the Body of Christ. Finally, we will discuss practical tips for becoming more effective in our call to proclaim Christ Jesus.

  • Monday, September 30; 6p-9p (St. Peter, Quincy, IL)
  • Tuesday, October 1; 6p-9p (Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield, IL)
  • Wednesday, October 2; 6p-9p (St. Mary, Edwardsville, IL)
  • Monday, October 7; 6p-9p (Sacred Heart, Effingham, IL)
  • Tuesday. October 8; 6p-9p (Holy Family, Decatur, IL)

The 2013 Regionals will be led by Tom Quinlan, director of religious education for the Diocese of Joliet. Tom received his Masters of Divinity from the University of St. Mary of the Lake and has 20 years of experience as a parish and diocesan catechetical leader. He is active at the national level and has presented in many dioceses. Tom got his start as a catechist and a high school religion teacher.

We’ll also be offering three sessions in Spanish:

Evangelización en las Familias Hispanas

El llamado a la evangelización desafía a cada cristiano a reconocer y respetar las riquezas que las familias hispanas traen a la iglesia. Estas familias hispanas necesitan tener un espacio para reunirse, para compartir sus historias, sus tradiciones religiosas, y su riqueza cultural para fortalecer su compromiso activo con la llamada bautismal a la misión y llamado de Jesucristo. Vamos a explorar cómo a través de las tradiciones, el idioma, las relaciones, la comida y la música, y las expresiones religiosas las familias hispanas se relacionan y responden a Dios y a expresar la fe desde su cultura y dentro de su cultura hispana.

  • Lunes el 7 de octubre a las 6pm (La iglesia Sagrado Corazon, Effingham, IL)
  • Mares el 8 de octubre a las 6pm (La iglesia St. Alexius, Beardstown, IL)
  • Miercoles el 9 de octubre a las 6pm (La iglesia St. Boniface, Edwardsville, IL)

Presentación de Sori Govin
Sori Govin es representante bilingüe de ventas en la editorial de religión RCL Benziger. Ella trabajó en la Arquidiócesis de Atlanta, como Directora Asociada del Ministerio de Catequesis y ha sido Directora de Educación Religiosa, la iniciación cristina de los niños y también trabajó con las comunidades hispanas en la parroquia de San Patricio. Sori es completamente bilingüe en inglés y español y posee una experiencia de más de 18 años de servicio y evangelización en una comunidad multi-cultural. Ella es de nacionalidad Cubana, estudio el bachillerato en Miami Florida y vive con su familia en Atlanta Georgia.

All sessions are $10 per person. Pay at the door or contact the Office for Catechesis for details.

On the Road Again


A quick programming note: I’ll be on the road this week attending the St. John Bosco Conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville. It’s my first time attending and while I won’t be blogging from the conference be sure to follow me on Twitter where I’ll be live-tweeting as much as my laptop battery will allow!

Please pray for my safe travel and for all of the conference attendees. I’m particularly looking forward to meeting other catechists and catechetical leaders; if you’re attending leave me a comment to let me know you’ll be there!

A Month of Catechetical Stars!

starsAs some of you may know from following me on Twitter, my wife and I recently welcomed our sixth child into the world. As a result I’m taking some time off from blogging as we get acclimated to this new reality.

But fear not! In an effort to raise the usual standards on this site I’ve lined up a series of guest posts from some of my catechetical friends. Starting today and over the next few weeks you’ll be hearing from:

I’m extraordinarily grateful to them for helping me out this month. Please be sure to check out their sites for more catechetical blogging goodness!