Author Archive

Lesson Notes: The Bible, Our Book of Faith

October 10, 2015

the bibleThis whole month is going to be spent learning and reviewing Bible basics and whether you’re an expert or a newbie, I hope you’ll be sure to go over all of this lesson with your kids.  It’s so foundational that even if your kids know it well enough that they could teach this lesson to others, there is still great value in review.  (They’re almost certainly capable of learning it better this time than they were three years ago.)

On the checklist:

  • The Bible is one volume containing 73 books.
  • It is divided into two main sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament.
  • The work is the result of over 40 authors
  • Who worked in a period of about 1,600 years.

But, miraculously, it still maintains the thread of one continuous story!  How can that be?  The single word answer is “inspiration.”  The slightly longer answer is that the Holy Spirit worked with and through each of these men in such a way that they used their own style and language, but all the ideas that God wanted included were there with nothing left out.

The rest of the lesson is a big-picture overview of the major sections of Scripture (law, history, wisdom, prophets, etc.) and how they all fit together.


  • booksIf your kids are young enough that cutting is a tedious activity, you may want to cut out your “books” ahead of time, and just have the kids glue them onto the bookshelf in the proper place.
  • We strongly recommend you leave each section of books together when you’re cutting rather than separating all 73 of them.  It’ll just make your life easier!


Remember that even though you won’t encounter the name of Jesus until the book of Matthew, He is all over the Old Testament as well.  In fact, the Catechism teaches us that “the economy of the Old Testament was deliberately so oriented that it should prepare for and declare in prophecy the coming of Christ, redeemer of all men.”

All About Jesus logo

In this case, it really is all about Jesus!

A success story

October 9, 2015

One of the moms who was outspoken against [our parish switch to Family Formation] just told us how happy she now is with the program. What triggered the change?  Her family was doing something for someone the other day and her son said, “Mom, we’re following the precepts of the church!”

Visiting nursing home - Tina

If you would like to know more about this innovative program that is transforming families everywhere, contact us!

Bible Basics: Do Catholics Follow All Those Weird Old Testament Laws?

October 9, 2015

Fr. Mike Schmitz – great, as always.

In today’s inbox:

October 7, 2015


We had our first sessions this week, and gave out every single home lesson packet (I believe we ordered 270!), so we’re getting a great response to Family Faith Formation at [parish in Massachusetts].

October Memory Verses

October 6, 2015

memory verseWe just wanted to let you know that you can find this month’s memory verses set to music by clicking the “Memory Verses” link on the sidebar (right side, under the “Pages” list).  It’s a simple download that you can access from any computer, phone, tablet, etc.

Actually, they’re all there for the entire year.  Feel free to listen ahead or to use them for review throughout the year!  Singing is a fantastic way to memorize something!

September pictures

October 3, 2015

Thanks to these two families for sharing pictures of their September Home Lesson!

FF Precepts of the Church


The School of the Heart: Parents as Primary Catechists

October 1, 2015

We’re still sorting through all we learned and experienced at last week’s World Meeting of Families, but one of the highlights was definitely attending Archbishop J. Michael Miller‘s session on family catechesis:

Parents are the primary catechists of their children.  Because of baptism and the grace of marriage, they are equipped to fulfill the mission of handing down the faith to their children.  A mother and father’s witness of faithful love establishes their domestic church, which is a school of virtue for the family.  It introduces children to the richness of Catholic teaching, the encounter with the Word of God and the sacraments, and the generosity of selfless service.  “Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith” (CCC 2226).  This session will offer help to parents to carry out their often daunting mission.

It was a great affirmation of one of the reasons why we made the trip and opened up opportunities to talk to many people about Family Formation!  I heard a rumor that eventually all the talks will be available to view/hear on their site, but until then, I think you’ll like the notes Deb took during the workshop, especially the last part with the Archbishop’s 10 practical tips for parents to catechize and evangelize their children.  Enjoy!

Parents fail as primary educators because:

  1. The faith is not so much denied, it is just ignored.
  2. They feel insecure in passing on the faith – we have at least one, if not two, generations who are not well catechized and, therefore, not equipped.
  3. They are bewildered and confused about what the Church teaches.
  4. Of societal influences and pressures: long work hours; children spending little time at home and when they are, they are with social media – each family member lives in an isolated world.

We need to affirm parents as the first evangelizers of their children. Parents’ primary place of evangelization is in the home, which is the closest and often toughest place.

Home is the epicenter of the new evangelization – the daily witness of love.

Children have the right to be:

  1. Instructed
  2. Educated in the faith
  3. Supported in the Christian life

Catechesis will not be effective unless it is preceded and accompanied by fostering the personal relationship of children with Jesus Christ.

Nothing and no one can replace the influence of parents on those entrusted to their care.

The parish is an essential element. It should provide:

  1. The point of contact for families to meet and discuss problems they have
  2. Adult catechesis aimed at helping them carry out their mission

Ten practical tips for parents to evangelize and catechize their children:

  1. Be present to your children – REAL presence: stay home, eat together, do things together, tuck them into bed
  2. Be joyful witnesses to the Gospel. The father is the most critical factor. Share your personal testimony. Faith is caught, not taught.
  3. Know your stuff! Study the CCC! YOUCAT is a great resource, even for parents.
  4. Stick to the core message – important to teach the kerygma
  5. Pray with your children and teach them to pray! It may be the most effective and successful way to pass on the faith. It leaves an impression on children. Pour out your joys, sorrows, and the desires of YOUR family. Start small. Just DO IT!
  6. Go to Sunday Mass together. It sends the message that life is not just about sports and entertainment and work, etc. Also, go to the sacrament of Reconciliation together. Prep for Mass as a family.
  7. Read the Bible together as a family. Faith demands familiarity with the Word of God. Begin with the Gospel – a little at a time, a few verses, stuff the children can understand
  8. Sacramentalize your home. Help your children to know beauty has its origin in God. Children are fascinated by rosaries, palms, statues, etc. A Catholic culture sustains our ability to pass on the faith.
  9. Share your experience of faith amongst each other. Share age appropriate stories of your own journey and encourage your children to share theirs (while respecting their privacy).
  10. Form your children’s moral conscience and teach the need to obey a well-formed conscience.


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