Crafting with Arma Dei

I am a big believer in occupying the hands of little ones as we instruct them.  They enjoy doing things themselves and having a finished product to show parents and this way when asked “what did you do today?” they can show something.  Of course, the hope is that parents look at it and then discuss it too!Rec Holy Communion cover

Monica McConkey of Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families  emailed me a kit that I choose for review, the “Journey with Jesus” scrapbook which includes the seven sacraments; explanations of sin, the domestic Church, and the Mas as well as definitions from the catechism and prayers. She breaks down the topics very well, asking questions with space for answers and helps lead the children to understanding by making the faith personal and relevant to their lives.  The line drawings were done by Monica’s daughter, are well done and appealing.  Plus, they are big enough to color if you want.

The logistics of the kit are fairly simple.  You order on line at the Arma Dei website and the have the PDF download immediately.  Be sure to print on only one side your paper. (my advice, so you can learn from my mistakes)  Other supplies needed are scissors and glue, crayons if you’ll be coloring the pictures.  If you want to make a cover, you’ll need card stock or construction paper.  Instructions are included to make an accordion fold book or you can cut each page, glue it onto construction paper and make a larger book.

What I like about the craft is the flexibility, both of the content and finished product.  Depending on your needs, each sacrament could be made separately, the prayer pages to make a prayer book, the Mass pages to make a Mass book or whatever suits you best.  If I were to do it with a class, I’d probably make a scrapbook with construction paper, rather than an accordion book.

I am passing this on to the second grade catechist and will have the other catechists take a look on the website and see what they would like for their classes this year.  I think this is an excellent product, practical yet engaging and most of all, very accurate in presenting the truths of our faith.

There are many other kits, games and resources on the website, both free and for a fee.    Monica is also about to release a new series on Super Saints.  Here is a video to learn more.  You are sure to find something you can use for you family or class.

Copyright 2015, Deanna Bartalini

Broken Gods: REVIEW

brokengodspopcakREVIEW: Broken Gods: Hope, Healing, and the 7 Longings of the Human Heart, by Gregory K. Popcak, Ph.D. (Image Books)

Did you know that God is slowly transforming you into a god and that a holy code exists that unlocks the secrets of this process?

From the earliest days of the Church, this process, called “divinization,” has been recognized and believed by all of Christianity. Since God shares his nature with us through adoption, and since his grace transforms and heals us as we journey toward heaven, we gradually become more authentic reflections of his divine image: glorious, perfect, and completely fulfilled.

But of what use is this insight to us as we struggle to comprehend our everyday joys and sorrows?

Dr. Gregory K. Popcak, an eminent and faithful Catholic psychologist and radio host has authored many superb books, some of which I own and love. His newest title, which I received from his publisher for review, Broken Gods: Hope, Healing, and the 7 Longings of the Human Heart, continues to raise the bar on his greatest strength: synthesizing faith, science, and psychology in ways that empower relationships and nourish souls.

Since the fall of human kind, human beings created in the image and likeness of God, willed into existence in order to share in the divine nature, have been broken and confused about our own worth and destiny. Our deepest longings, Popcak explains, can lead us deeper into confusion or, when properly understood, can mark a powerful and beautiful path of sanctity, joy, and ultimate fulfillment.

Popcak’s thrilling work explores the seven principle desires of the human heart for abundance, dignity, justice, peace, trust, well-being, and communion, and reveals the holy code hidden within our sufferings. By weaving psychology, science, spirituality, engaging case studies, and a simple, but powerful, step-by-step system for increasing understanding and self-awareness, he unpacks those buried longings so that we can pursue them more authentically through the prism of God’s call to our hearts.

I underlined so much and turned down so many pages that struck and inspired me that I’d have to quote most of the book in order to provide a complete understanding of why I so highly recommend this unique work; so I’ll have to pick just a few excerpts and ideas and let you discover the rest on your own!

Popcak really got my attention early in the book with this:

Though we are often tempted to feel that our lives and hopes and dreams are burning down around us, deification is the blueprint that allows us to rebuild our lives from the ashes and become everything God intended us to be from the beginning… Understanding deification enables us to finally stop running from our sins and instead begin running toward divinity. (p. 7)

On page 11, Popcak references an image taken from the prodigal son’s return, saying that God meets us as we humbly approach him in fear and trembling:

And yet, even that understandable fear is cast out by the perfect love (see 1 Jn 4:18) that flows from the heart of God, who calls to us, runs to meet us on the road, and wraps his finest cloak–his divinity–around us (see Lk 15:22).

I’ll give you a sense of how much just the foundational chapters effected me. In a section called, “The Inner Ache” (p. 14), I had an epiphany and wrote this in the margin:

Do I believe that God, in his desire to share his nature with me, has truly AMAZING plans for my life? If I do, then my dreams are SACRED and should have my TOTAL COMMITMENT.

In Chapter Two, the author asks,

What if there was a way to stop being afraid of your desires?

and goes on to explain that

…even your most neurotic and destructive desires can be transformed into an engine of divine actualization that can propel you down the path toward both a more joyful life in the present and the fulfillment of your ultimate destiny… (p. 17)

Later he says,

These seven divine longings have such tremendous potential to propel us toward divinization that Satan works hard to keep them hidden where we are least likely to look, behind the parts of ourselves we hate the most. (p. 25)

Did you catch that? The greatest treasures of our souls are often hidden in our self-hatred.

Lest you suspect that the book merely proposes these life-altering, hope-filled ideas, the rest of his work is specific, practical, and sites fascinating examples of actual individuals and couples whose lives and relationships were profoundly healed through the methods Popcak employs, based on these concepts.

Both our bodies and our brains are hardwired for holiness. Using neuroscience, genetic studies, and the theology of the body, Dr. Popcak reveals the innate wisdom of our bodies: when we live according to God’s plan, we are healthier and happier, and it is easier to think and learn!  Within the path of sanctity lie all the secrets to our ultimate destiny: union with God and the most perfect expression of our holy individuality.

Presenting a basic recipe for happiness–through meaningfulness, intimacy, and virtue–and by defining and illuminating each concept spiritually, practically, and–sometimes–poetically, the author helps us to appreciate the fundamentals of a life lived to the very full–that answers all the deepest desires of the human heart.

The book includes one of the most fascinating bibliographies I have ever seen (my “buy” list is substantial), and closes with a strong chapter called, “Approaching Divinity.” One of my favorite comments utilizes the image of the wedding feast, with Christ as the groom:

Through these longings, God gets down on one knee and holds out–not a ring–but his Sacred Heart. He is proposing to make you whole, and to show you how you can live in his love for all eternity. He is asking you if you would do him the honor of letting him fulfill your deepest desires so that you will never want for anything again, and so that you can discover how to love yourself the way he loves you. (p. 182)

This extraordinary resource is newly released today!

I highly recommend Broken Gods: Hope, Healing, and the Seven Longings of the Human Heart, by Gregory K. Popcak, Ph.D. (Image Books)

For more help, support and information, contact Dr. Popcak’s organization, Pastoral Solutions Institute. To make an appointment to speak with a counselor, call 740-266-6461, or check out his website, www.CatholicCounselors.com.

 

 

 

 

Five Years in Heaven: Book Review

fiveyearsinheaven“Five Years in Heaven: The Unlikely Friendship That Answered LIfe’s Greatest Questions” by John Schlimm, is a memoir that recounts a young man’s five-year friendship with an elderly Benedictine nun.

First, I want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this moving and extremely charming account of a transformative friendship, and I recommend it heartily, with one caveat: This is not a catechism and not intended to be a guide to the Catholic faith. It is a memoir. And because it is a memoir, the reader must understand the personal, subjective nature of the work and offer the narrator a leniency that a serious, catechetical work would not deserve. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I’ll share some of the beauty of this lovely book, in a moment. But bear with me.

I am a catechist, and one of the most painful realities for me is the lack of understanding that is so prevalent in the world–even among catechists–of the Church’s foundational traditions and teachings. John Schlimm’s memoir, along with its tender beauty, gives us some examples of that lack of understanding. But first, let me tell you why you just might treasure this book anyway.

After abandoning a career in public relations and still suffering from childhood wounds, 31-year-old John Schlimm returned to his home town (St. Marys, Pennsylvania) to try and sort out the next phase of his life. At the suggestion of a friend, Schlimm visited the ceramic shop of the local Benedictine convent and made the acquaintance of a remarkable woman. From their first meeting, the 87-year-old Sister Augustine’s radiant interior beauty attracted the young man’s heart, drawing him quickly into the sanctuary of her friendship and her busy art studio. Along with the techniques of making and molding clay, glazing and firing her exquisite works of ceramic artistry, her deep faith and personal, homespun wisdom eventually turned his heart from discouragement to hope, from fear to joy, and from doubt to faith. That journey is well worth the price of the book.

A talented, intuitive artist with a humble heart, some of Sister Augustine’s most valuable gifts to John Schlimm were her insights:

On Simplicity

“Simplicity is something you should definitely not overthink.” (54) “When we clear away the physical clutter around us, we set our spirit free on the inside, as well.” (55)

On Gratitude

Later, when the author points out the difficulty of being grateful for unjust treatment, Sister says, “That’s when gratitude counts the most. It’s in those challenging moments when we get a little closer to our true purpose in this life. We need to be thankful for those challenges.” (62)

On Forgiveness

“Forgiveness is the crucial turning point for so much of what happens to us in this life. People often see it as an end goal. But it’s really a beginning. With it, we move forward. Without it, we are at a standstill.” (76)

“Those people, who forgive under the most extreme circumstances, they are messengers.” (84)

Here’s a favorite insight from the author:

“I realized that while the adage ‘To whom much is given, much is expected’ holds true, even more potent is the understanding that from whom much is taken, much is also expected.” (84)

[Reviewer’s note: the “adage” is actually a scriptural reference: Luke 12:48]

This memoir is valuable, not just for the lessons that John Schlimm learned during his visits to Sister Augustine’s studio, but in the way the story illuminates the mutual give and take of a holy friendship. Sometimes God brings a person into our lives who has something powerful to teach us. It’s one of the ways he shows that he loves us and watches over our souls. This story comes together so fruitfully because the author had the good instincts to keep coming back to the sanctuary he found and the saintly woman who became his most treasured friend.

Now, as a catechist, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out some potential issues.

In Parts Five and Six, Schlimm asks Sister Augustine to opine on the topics of women priests (190) and the study of other religions (220) . Her answers are harmless enough, except they in no way reflect the actual teachings of the Church. The possible issues for the reader are threefold.

First, Sister Augustine’s view–that women are just as good as men and should be able to do anything men do–seems to support the false charges of misogyny so often lobbed at the Church by those who are ignorant of its actual teachings. The Church has always upheld the equal-but-different understanding of feminine dignity and has never attempted to assert the male priesthood on any such offensive grounds. From the earliest beginnings of the Church–and indeed, human history–there have been misogynists and every other type of sinner in our midst. We are all sinners, from the Popes on down to the ordinary person in the pew. We cannot escape this reality in this lifetime. But those sins do not reflect the consistent teachings of the Church, which urge all people to respect and uphold each other’s dignity.  Some great resources–many of them by Dr. Peter Kreeft, one of my heroes– for understanding the traditions and theology behind the male priesthood can be found here and here and here and here. Prepare to be surprised and nourished.

Second, Sister’s statement on the religions of the world essentially boiled down to their being all equally valuable: “Just the terminology and practices are different.” (220) While the Church certainly upholds the respect due to other faiths and even seeks common ground, it is critical that Catholics understand the wealth of their inheritance. Jesus Christ, the God-man, gave us a Church and seven sacraments so that we would not wander endlessly in a sea of alternatives, but be fed and nourished on his Body and Blood, his Word, his Spirit, and the community of the faithful. Those gifts are beyond price and should not be lumped in with other religious practices as being all of the same cloth. The fact that so few Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and do not understand the power of Jesus to forgive them and heal them in the sacrament of reconciliation is a tragedy, not a sign of sophistication.

Finally, the author’s sudden injection of controversial material into an otherwise gentle and big-hearted portrait, felt out of step with the rest of the book. The word “agenda” came into my mind, for the first time. I pictured certain friends of mine closing the book for good, without reading further–which would have been a shame, because the book has so much good in it. Remember that this is, first and last, a personal story.

All of that said, I’m quite happy I read this book. It’s an energetic and appealing story, well written. Most importantly, two of its strongest themes are that our lives can have great meaning and purpose at any age, and that we should take the time to listen to each other and encourage each other’s growth throughout our lives. Amen to that.

pottery

 

#Valentine #Giveaway: GOD FIRE, the “Purgatory Lady,” and Her Amazing New Book

daybydaywiththeholysouls“I saw my Guardian Angel, who ordered me to follow him. In a moment I was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls.”
St. Faustina (Diary, 20)

It is rare that an author is blessed by a pope, but Susan Tassone was twice blessed by Saint John Paul II for her work bringing to the world a new interest and understanding of the Church’s powerful devotions to the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Often referred to as the “Purgatory Lady,” Susan is a popular speaker and a frequent guest on Catholic TV and radio.

I interviewed Susan about her latest, best-selling devotional, Day by Day for the Holy Souls: 365 Reflections, which has hit the top of not one but three major charts! It is the #1 Best Seller at Our Sunday Visitor, EWTN’s #1 Best Selling book for 2014, and was #1 in “spirituality” and “meditations” on Amazon.com. Over 13,000 of these books have already been sold since it’s October release.

READ this fascinating interview with Susan Tassone about the powerful intercession of the Holy Souls, at my blog!

I’ll be GIVING AWAY three copies on Valentine’s Day to three of our weekly newsletter subscribers, here at AmazingCatechists.com!

(Details at my blog!)

 

99 Ways to Teach Like the Master – Book Review

No matter what my job title or career choice, I have always considered myself an educator.  In all things I strive to reach out and teach by word or deed.  The material or topic is almost irrelevant as is the age of the person.

This book of meditations, 99 Way to Teach like the Master by T.J. Burdick lends itself to all of us who teach.  And by all of us who teach, I literally mean all of us!  Whether you are a preschool teacher or a college professor, just starting out or an old hand, one child at your kitchen table or enough to fill a bus, there is something to be gleaned from reading the scripture and reflections T.J. has put together.

Used with permission, from T.J.Burdick

Used with permission, from T.J.Burdick

There are five chapters with reflections in them, each beginning with a brief introduction.  I don’t think it is necessary to read the book from front to back, you could pick and choose which reflection to read based on the title which you find intriguing, such as “Humility”, “Mercy” “Knowing it All” or “Keeping Healthy”.  My favorite reflection is “Understanding God’s Report Card”.

Each reflection begins with a scripture quote, then an explanation as to how the passage relates to a facet of education, and closes with how to apply the teaching in a practical way, either with an action or prayer.  The reflection takes just a few minutes to read and then you can think about it as you go through your day, helping to form the minds you are teaching

The book is available as an E-book and paperback.  Both are available from En Route Books and Media.  The E-book is on sale for $3.99 until February 9, 2015.

Book Review: “Joy to the World,” by Dr. Scott Hahn

Joy to the World by Scott Hahn

“If the Lord is our joy, our joy cannot be taken away.  It cannot be lost…Joy had come to the world, and it had come to stay.” – Dr. Scott Hahn

As I turned the pages of Dr. Scott Hahn’s “Joy to the World”  the light of understanding that God gave each of us sparked, and soon I was experiencing the instilling gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Anyone who has prayed for such gifts knows how joyful it can be when they appear…Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge – who knew this book of inspiring meditations would give such a comprehensive glimpse into the story of Christ’s birth.

Among Dr. Hahn’s scholarly reads, I was most taken with “Joy to the World,” because his usual preciseness is mingled with such childlike wonder as he takes us through this Holy season with Sacred Scripture in one hand and the Church’s life giving Tradition in the other.  Already in the first chapter I was heartened when he “sees” the radiance of the teenaged Virgin Mary on his young daughter’s face during his family’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

In the end, we come to understand why he believes this wonder is the key to the New Evangelization, “Christmas sets us apart. Christmas calls us to share in divine love and then to share that love with an unbelieving world…People find it irresistible and irrefutable.”

So this year as we light the first candle on our Advent wreaths, we can do it with a deeper understanding of the events surrounding the reason for this miraculous season of God’s saving love.  The Truth is here, but like the Magi, we must seek it.  The Truth is Christ, and like the star, “Joy to the World”  helps us find Him.

* * *

Read more reviews at Dr. Hahn’s “Joy to the World” Blog Tour with Image Books, going on now through December 11!

Review: To the Heights, by Brian Kennelly

ToTheHeightsCoverREVIEW by JT Therrian

I’ve often wondered what my life would’ve been like by now had I followed the call of God’s voice as a young boy. Erroneously believing that a life of pain and hardship lay in that direction, I hardened my heart and adopted a more “realistic” attitude toward my future.

To the Heights, Mr. Brian Kennelly’s novelization of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frasseti’s life (1901-1925), showed me what such a life devoted to caring and loving, begun at a very early age, might have looked like. Pier Giorgio simply and humbly believed that no one is ever too young to love and to care for others, especially for the marginalized, the poor, and the disenfranchised.

I found the life of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frasseti incredibly inspiring. I admit that before reading To the Heights I had not heard of this popular third order Franciscan. Mr. Kennelly does a great job fleshing out Pier Giorgio Frasseti’s love for his family along with his passion for the Catholic Church; his pious devotions to praying the Rosary; attending daily Mass; and spending time in adoration of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

It is important to show young Catholics the rewards of a strongly-lived faith. This book does just that. To the question: given the current state of the world, how can I believe in a God? Mr. Kennelly replies, through Pier Giorgio Frasseti’s humble actions and words: take account of all the graces in your life. How can you not believe in God?

As a Vincentian, I was heartened to read of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frasseti’s work in the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The spirit of caring and charity rings true on every page. In a moving passage, Pier Giorgio explains to someone seemingly indifferent to serving the poor, “There is a special light behind the poor and unfortunate, one we do not have, one that has nothing to do with riches and health. I urge you to see that light tonight, not with your eyes, but with your heart.”

There are many echoes of past saints and sanctifying grace in the young man’s life: his fondness for hiking reminded me of Pope St. John Paul II’s passion for the outdoors; Pier Giorgio’s love of the poor and the sick, and the selfless acts of kindness with which he filled his days, brought to mind St. Vincent de Paul and St. Thérèse of Lisieux (especially in his love of flowers); and his limitless charity towards the poor is exemplary of St. Francis’ concerns.

But Mr. Kennelly also shows us that the tenderhearted and pious young man was no stranger to physical confrontations. Pier Giorgio lived through WWI and the chaotic political aftermath in Italy which gave rise to Mussolini’s infamous fascist (and anti-Catholic) Black Shirts. Pier Giorgio did not back down from unjust confrontations, although he would only fight when all peaceful avenues had been exhausted. In reaction to the Black Shirts, he remarked, “It’s a sad day when Catholics cower to evil and treat the teachings of their Church as if they are merely suggestions, abandoning them without the slightest sign of a troubled conscience.” How prophetic and timely this warning, as our Church continues to face relentless assaults from the secular world.

I truly enjoyed To the Heights and I will be recommending it to everyone for years to come. Mr. Kennelly not only understood what was in Bl. Pier Giorgio Frasseti’s mind, he showed us the care, love and charity alive in the blessed’s heart. We are grateful to such a talented author for revealing these graces. I also enjoyed the book’s short chapters, and I liked that Mr. Kennelly includes some actual prayers in the text, introducing some of the Church’s treasures, such as the Tedeum, to readers.

If you know someone, especially a young person concerned about the plight of the poor or injustice in the world, you must inspire them to action with a copy of To the Heights.

 

 

 

JT writer picJT Therrien is a Catholic Canadian fiction writer working in a variety of genres: literary;  commercial; children’s and young adult; inspirational (mostly based on the Theology of the Body and traditional Catholic doctrine); art-themed; paranormal; romance and love stories. He plies his craft in short story, novella and novel-length works. Readers who enjoy Brian Kennelly’s To the Heights might also like JT’s art-themed, Theology of the Body, young adult, dystopian novella Sprainter, available at all online e-book retailers. Readers can also follow JT online: https://twitter.com/jttherrien – Twitter, http://jttherrien.blogspot.ca – blog, https://sites.google.com/site/jttherrienauthor – website, https://www.amazon.com/author/jttherrien – Amazon author’s page, and at many other social networking sites.

 

Common Sense Book Study {Foreword}

Fr. Robert J. Hater in his awesome book Common Sense Catechesis gives catechists an instructional form to understand the “Lessons from the Past” as well as a “Road Map for the Future.”

I love that. While it’s good to know where we came from and how we got to where we are today, that’s just an echo of thoughts if the student is not given a map pointing him in the right direction. That’s so important.

Let’s get started with this book study, shall we?

commonsensecatechesis

The forward of Fr. Hater’s book is written by Sister Angela Ann Zukowski of the University of Dayton. She makes sure the reader is aware of the “shifts” in our society and culture. There have been political, psychology, sociology, methodology, and anthropology shifts. I’ll wait will you google some of those definitions. 😉

…..

Our whole world has changed. Is changing and “secularism, relativism, consumerism, and individualism” are making us (and especially our children) think and act differently. There’s no going back, folks. I’m sorry. Just as there is no going back to the caveman era or the stone ages, there is no going back for those of us living in the technological age. Aside from the second coming, we know too much. Man has always moved forward, never backward.

Mother the Church is wise beyond her years. While God does not change, the Church does.  It is the human community on earth…ever nurturing, ever guiding.

The Popes have been guardians of the growth and changing nature of this human entity, constantly taking the rebellious, delinquent child by the neck and guiding us back, giving us a deliberate shake, and reminding us what the consequences of our actions are. And then, most importantly of all, forgiving us and embracing and welcoming us back home.

Like it or not, every home needs a disciplinarian. And every home needs a comforter. Such has always been the image of the family in the characters known as Father and Mother. This creates a balance. Life pleads for balance.

For years the family has been the unshakeable stronghold of the Church.

The domestic church linked to the ever greater Church. The “traditional Catholic family…offered balance, stability, and direction…” In many homes, it still does. I know these families. I see them in Church and CCD every week.

Yet cultural, political, environmental, global “shifts” have shifted our ways of thinking, our views, our opinions, our actions.

“The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensible contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple.” — Pope Francis, from his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium

Mother Church sits there reminding us that we have been adopted by a King. We are children of God. We are loved. We have dignity. We are valuable. Procedure with caution. Listen to your Mother.

And the rebellious child spits at her and recklessly goes along with his free will, master of his senses. Many children today grow up without that fatherly influence. And without a father, there is no protection for the family.

The Church has always harbored the poor, the unwanted, the undesirables, the rejected, the homeless, the fatherless.

Numerous Popes have been the fatherly voice, fiercely reinforcing the mother’s counsel. Sometimes the Church is the only authoritative voice in a child’s life.  Popes, like fathers, tend to be blunt and authoritative. With youth we don’t see the wisdom, not until we’re old and spent (miserably so)…and wisdom has found us. It’s all quit natural. And then we wish we had listened more to that old reckoning voice.

It might help to remember that the Church is over 2000 years old. That’s pretty old by anyone’s standards. And pretty wise.

The Church has outlived emperors and plagues and generals and presidents and kings and it will outlive each of us.

Perhaps we, people of the 21st century, would be wise in listening more closely to the trail of wisdom left by a Church founded by the Voice of God.

Perhaps that is what we need to tell the children who come through our religious education doors this school year. If they desire to be open-minded, begin by listening to the Voice of God that is older and wiser than their parents and grandparents.

The questions Sister Angela mentions are:

  • Why is there such a loss of Catholic culture and identity today?
  • Why is parish participation rapidly declining?
  • Why are Catholic unable to clearly and convincingly explain their faith when confronted?

These are questions catechists in the schools needs to address and know.

Pope Francis challenges catechists: “The catechist, then, is a Christian who is mindful of God, who is guided by the memory of God in his or her entire life and who is able to awaken that memory in the hearts of others. That is not easy! It engages our entire existence! What is the Catechism itself, if not the memory of God, the memory his works in history and his drawing near to us in Christ present in his word, in the sacraments, in his Church, in his love?

“Dear catechists, I ask you: Are you in fact the memory of God?” (September 29, 2013)

In order to be the memory of God, wouldn’t it make sense to have a “historical catechetical perspective”? To “learn from the past in order to re-imagine the future”?

Fr. Hater, in this book, helps us to follow the Church’s vision and mission in evangelizing and disciplining the Church and why it will take new approaches and methodology for catechesis in today’s ever-changing world.

Common Sense Book Study

I read this book in less than a week. It’s that good. That easy. That sensible. That practical. That informative.

It’s simply full of good common sense.

commonsensecatechesis

It’s so good I’m getting my catechists started with it this school year.

I think an online book study is probably the easiest, most common sense way for us all to discuss this book, share ideas and thoughts regarding the past while supplying a roadmap to the future, and starting off a great catechetical year of learning.

This topic concerns all catechists and Catholic parents. The world has changed. The Church has changed.

God has not.

What have we lost? What have we gained? How has that changed our identity as Catholic people? What is our responsibility to our children? Why don’t people care anymore?

Order the book here: Common Sense Catechesis by Fr. Robert J. Hater

Each week we’ll read and discuss a chapter and I will have a chapter summary posted here to help you see the important points Fr. Robert J. Hater makes in his book. Questions (as a post-Vatican II youth being raised by pre-Vatican II parents) I’ve wondered about. Areas I’ve surfed aimlessly. Concerns I’ve struggled with. A faith that I continue to love.

Join book study discussion here: CRET: Catholic Religious Education Teachers (comments in the combox here are always welcome for discussion)

Additional Related Article:

On Catechesis: Love and Common Sense by Jennifer Fitz

Concise Book Review by Sean Ater