When Kathy isn't blogging or contributing writings to many of Sadlier's programs, often times she's speaking at workshops, leadership seminars or retreats throughout the United States. Here is an updated list of conferences and events Kathy will be attending!
- February 4 - St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, Centennial, CO
Retreat day: "Pathways to Prayer"
- February 28 - St. Ann's Catholic School, Arvada, CO
Parent session: "Popcorn for Dinner: A Survival Plan for Tired Parents"
- March 8-10 - Mid-Atlantic Conference, Baltimore, MD
- April 13 - NCEA Annual Conference, Boston, MA
- April 20-21 - St. Ann's Catholic Church, Arvada, CO
- May 6-10 - NCCL Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA
Workshop and roundtable presenter
- September 8 - Diocese of Grand Island Religious Education Conference, Grand Island, NE
- October 13 - Diocese of Fresno Catechetical Conference, Visalia, CA
- October 26-27 - Pax Christi Catholic Church, Littleton, CO
It’s been a few decades since I sat behind a desk as a Catholic school teacher, but I recall my experience with great fondness. I purposely chose to teach in a Catholic school right out of college. It not only gave me the opportunity to talk to children about God’s love, one of my great passions, but also afforded me the freedom to infuse all teaching and classroom discipline with Christian values of justice, compassion, and mercy. I loved beginning and ending each day with prayer. When I taught second graders, I also helped them prepare to receive First Communion. It brought me in touch with their parents in a different way than the standard parent-teacher conference. In doing so, I learned a great deal about the critical importance of families in the formation of a child’s faith. This, in turn, led me into the work I have done with family spirituality and intergenerational catechesis over the past thirty-five years.
My experiences in Catholic schools ran the gamut from impoverished communities in central British Columbia, Canada, to more prosperous ones in Colorado. No matter what the circumstances, however, teachers and administrators often had to cope with limited resources. It was a challenge but one that was often met in creative ways. As a result, I believe I learned to become more resourceful and to work with the materials at hand. One of the hallmarks of Catholic education is its dedication to excellence. My current work with Sadlier helps me appreciate such commitment as I witness the time and attention that goes into the development and publication of religious and academic materials.
I attended many conferences and in-services as a Catholic school teacher. These not only honed my methodology but also challenged me to grow spiritually as well as mentally. Those early experiences left me feeling re-energized for the work and mission in which I was engaged. As a presenter of workshops, retreats, and keynote talks, I am always aware of those who are just starting out as a teacher, catechist, or pastoral minister. My hope is that each person takes away something that inspires as well as informs.
I received lots of little “love notes” from the little children I taught all those years ago. One of my favorites was from a boy named Bill. On a small piece of newsprint paper he thanked me for being his teacher and then wrote, “You taught me things I never knewed.” Perhaps Spelling class wasn’t one of my fortes at the time, but I cherished the message. It’s one I can relate to as I look back over my earliest experiences in teaching. I learned a lot of things I never knew before.
Reflect upon your own experience as a teacher, catechist, or pastoral leader. What sort of learning did your acquire when you started your ministry? Share your response with someone in your school, parish, or family.
How resourceful can you be? As a family, brainstorm the ways you can “make do” with less stuff, with fewer activities, or with a reduced usage of natural resources.
Download and send a card with an inspirational quote from Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the “mother” of Catholic education, to a teacher, parent, or student. Tell what you appreciate about him or her.
photo © iStockphoto
Lent is a time to prepare for the joyous celebration of Easter. During this season, we make a special effort to pray, to do penance, and to do good works. Gather In My Name offers two event options that will help parishoners learn about the three traditional Lenten practices-prayer, penance, and good works-used by the Church for centuries. These events will also explore simple ways to make these practices part of our daily lives. We invite you to download the Lenten Event handouts for your parish or community!
My mother used to wait to take the Christmas tree down once my siblings and I were back in school because she thought it would make us sad. In truth, she was the one who mourned the passing of the season. I think she needed the time alone to grieve. As a result, January was her least favorite month of the year. Many people seem to concur. With the bright activity of the holidays behind us, the month can seem long, cold, and stark.
I tend to like January. Living, as I do, in Colorado, the days are brisk but usually clear and filled with the sunshine that is a hallmark of the state. The bare branches stand in contrast to the pale winter sky, marking the landscape with simple beauty. Perhaps this understated loveliness draws me to January’s stillness. It invites reflection and slowing down after a season of intense activity. The cold temperatures drive me to bed a bit earlier each night and I snuggle under the covers with a good book before nodding off. There is a contentment wrapped into this time of year, one that is given eloquent expression in Psalm 131:2 - “It is enough to keep my soul still and quiet like a child in its mother’s arms, as content as a child that has been weaned.”
On the other hand, there is the feeling of “cabin fever” that grips many of us during January. Dreary weather and long nights make children antsy and parents harried. Tempers grow short and boredom takes hold. What’s needed is a jolt of some sort – a stepping out and trying something new.
Several years ago, while living in Southeast Alaska, my husband, Ron, took a beautiful picture of mountains in winter. He and a friend went snowshoeing in order to reach the spot where pristine swirls of untouched snow are tinged with hues of blue and creamy white. He titled the photograph “January Blue.” It hangs on the wall in our living room, a reminder of the effort we sometimes need to make in order to reach a place of beauty and serenity. Cabin fever may be an invitation to stretch our spiritual practices a bit more in order to find the soul’s still point. January is a good month to try.
Plan a family outing this month that takes in the beauty of God’s creation. Visit a natural history museum, an aquarium, or a botanical garden. Talk together about the value of dormancy in the cycle of life.
January is a great month for indoor games and activities. Catechists and teachers can find some great ideas HERE!
Download my January Psalm Reflections and place them near your daily calendar or on the family table. Use them for individual reflection or for class or family discussion.
photo © iStockphoto
As the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25) approaches, enjoy this series of articles on the life and ministry of this great saint by Scripture scholar, Father Donald Senior.
First in series on St. Paul
Second in series on St. Paul
Third in series on St. Paul
Article 4 | Article 5 | Article 6 | Article 7 | Article 8 | Article 9 | Article 10 | Article 11 | Article 12
“…Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Oslo, 1964.
While many of us can readily recall much of the “I Have a Dream” speech that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered at the Washington Mall in 1962, we might have more trouble identifying words from his other speeches and sermons. Take, for example, the excerpt from his acceptance speech after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. There is no question of the grounding this great leader had in the Gospels and in the call to justice that predominates all of Sacred Scripture. His was a vision that encompassed the globe and looked beyond the struggles of the current day to a brighter horizon in which peace would rule the day.
I have always admired Dr. King’s connective approach to peace. In one of his sermons, he described human interdependence by naming which part of the world every part of a morning breakfast comes from. While we Americans pride ourselves on being independent, it is our ability to recognize and embrace our interdependence that is going to determine our survival. At the base of this is the Gospel imperative to love.
The other day I read a newspaper column in which the writer listed words he was afraid his child would never know. One of them was peace. In a world constantly under threat by terrorism and nuclear holocaust, it is not a far-fetched fear. With such massive issues facing us, how does a single individual make a dent in the quest for peace? I think Dr. King would remind us to start at home. The peace we make within our own small spheres has a way of spreading outwards, connecting with others and sending ripples that will eventually affect the entire world. It’s a hopeful thought as we prepare to honor the life of a man dedicated to peace.
Find out more about the life and work of Dr. King by visiting the King Center web site - http://www.thekingcenter.org/
Engage your family or class in a discussion about the ways they can generate ripples of peace that will spread outwards into the world.
Download my Prayer for Peacemakers and share it with your family or class.
photo © iStockphoto
Sunday, January 15th, is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. Plan to spend time this week reflecting on the readings and preparing to celebrate the Eucharist. Gather in My Name offers "Question of the Week" - a free resource to incorporate the Sunday Eucharist into your religion classes, family discussions, or community activities.
Question of the Week: Jesus asked "What are you looking for?" How would you answer?
Reading 1 Reflection: 1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19
Reading 2 Reflection: 1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
Gospel: John 1:35-42
Looking for discussion Questions for the above Reading Reflections? Click here!
My husband, Ron, and I needed a trip to the mountains. Faced with some major changes in our lives, we needed to clear our heads by getting away from all that was familiar. There is nothing like the alpine air of the Colorado Rockies to do just that. As we wound our way up and down mountain passes, our conversation turned brighter and much more hopeful. The dead ends we seemed to be bumping into at home opened up and revealed themselves as avenues to something new and life-giving. By the end of the day, we had reached a level of clarity around the issues with which we were grappling.
The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek Epiphania, meaning “revelation.” The Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, which is celebrated by Catholics in the United States on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8, marks the journey of the Magi to pay homage to the Holy Child Jesus. In Orthodox traditions, the traditional feast day (January 6) marks the celebration of the birth of Christ. In many cultures, the Epiphany marks a “little Christmas”, one celebrated with gift-giving and the sharing of special foods.
No matter when or how it is celebrated, the Epiphany is steeped with meaning for those seeking enlightenment. The image of three astrologers following a bright star across the darkened landscape is one of hope and promise. Their journey ends, not in a palace, but in a humble dwelling. Theirs is a story of surprise and wonder, of unexpected blessings and challenging encounters.
So it goes with the little epiphanies in our own lives. Often what is needed is a change of scenery, a stepping out into uncharted territory where we might find ourselves guided by nothing more than a sliver of light. It seemed to work that way for Ron and me as we traversed the Colorado mountains over the weekend. God’s grace shimmered around us as we came to terms with both the challenges and the blessings in our lives.
One of the traditions associated with the Epiphany of the Lord is a blessing of the household. Download a prayer from the United States Catholic Bishops to use in your home.
Make a batch of Epiphany bread and share it with your class or family.
photo © iStockphoto