The Making Disciples Today Blog has reflections to help you grow in your journey of missionary discipleship, reviews on recommended Catholic evangelization resources, and practical insight on how to evangelize in your daily life.
- Written by Kristin Bird
I spent 15 years as a youth minister taking teenagers and young adults on retreats, conferences, mission trips, and summer camps. I'm also the product of those experiences - my earliest memory of encounter with Jesus was as a teenager at a World Youth Day Mass. My inital conversion happened during adoration as a young adult at a summer conference. The experience of retreating from routine and entering into a pocket in time that's totally focused on faith and genuine fellowship with other Christians can be powerful and life changing.
It is not good for man to be alone.
However, these experiences cannot and do not stand on their own. God calls us to community and companionship. He has created us for relationship and communion. When these on fire young people return from their camp, retreat, or conference, they need more. They need you. They need your ongoing & intentional accompaniment to help fan the flame of their encounter experience (sometimes referred to as a "retreat high") into the lasting transformation of conversion!
They need you if you’re a chaperone, youth minister, catechist, teacher, or Core member. They need you if you’re a parent, grandparent, godparent, or sibling. They need you if they’re a part of your parish or school community.
- Written by Kristin Bird
Understanding the roles and distinctions between apostles and disciples in our faith communities can help us build accompaniment, formation, and support structures that encourage and help people to grow across the full journey of discipleship.
We are All Called to be Disciples
Discipleship is at the core of our faith. Being a disciple involves building a personal relationship with Jesus and practicing His teachings. Disciples strive to be like Christ, pursuing holiness and showing others God's love and mercy. At the core, discipleship is an active response to a relationship with Jesus.
Discipleship is active. It happens on purpose. The author of the book Forming Intentional Disciples, Sherry Weddell, said, "You don't do [discipleship] accidentally; you don't do it in your sleep."
Discipleship is also internal. You can't identify a disciple based only on their external practices. Both disciples and those who have not yet commited to making Jesus the center of their lives can participate in prayer, fasting, giving, participation in the sacraments, works of mercy.
- Written by Kristin Bird
A Simple Ritual for the Home
“On this day the Church celebrates Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem to accomplish his paschal mystery” (Roman Missal).
“Entrance” is the key to understanding the liturgy of Passion (Palm) Sunday. We enter into Jerusalem with Christ. We enter into our holiest week. We enter into our final preparation for the Easter feast.
Ordinarily when we go to Sunday Mass we enter the church one by one, as we arrive. On Palm Sunday, we enter the church together -- a grand entrance.
Usually, the community gathers in another location (outside the church, for example, or in the school hall). One of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem is proclaimed.
Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out:
“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!”
And then we “enter into” the Gospel. We go with Christ into Jerusalem. We process into the church.
Procession with Palms
This is one of our most joyful and triumphant processions of the entire year. As we gather on this Sunday we receive a branch of palm or olive (or other green plant).
What do you do with the palm branches you bring home from Palm Sunday Mass?
The branches are blessed by the priest before the procession and often kept as blessed objects in peoples’ homes. Please don't throw them (or any scrap pieces) into the trash. The proper way to dispose of blessed items is to bury them, burn them, or return them your church so they can burn them and use them next Ash Wednesday.
One of my fondest memories of Palm Sunday as a child is the quick palm cross my mom would whip each of our palms into as soon as we sat down at church. The palm crosses were a sign of how quickly our love and adoration for Jesus can turn to rejection of him through sin. Our shouts of "Hosannah!" turn to shouts of "Crucify him!" during that Mass almost as fast as my palm turned from a branch into a cross.
There was another, more practical benefit to her talent as well. Palm branches that wave during the procession quickly turn into swords, lightsabers, sky writing pens, lassos, and objects of torture in the hands of young children. The compact crosses my mom whipped out during the First Reading were not nearly as easy to poke my siblings with!
- Written by Burning Hearts Team
The Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
All Catholic parishes have depictions of Christ’s Passion and death called the Stations of the Cross, The Way of the Cross or Via Dolorosa (way of suffering) In many churches, the Stations of the Cross are depicted in stained-glass windows, but other media are used as well, including paintings and stone or wood carvings and sculptures. Often on Friday evenings during Lent, you can find a parish that’s open with Catholics meditating and saying prayers in unison before each of the 14 stations.
The Stations of the Cross is a Lenten devotion that offers witness to Jesus’ Passion and Death. Often, the Stations of the Cross is an action prayer. Catholics walk to the fourteen stations of the Way of the Cross and stop to pray at each one. At each station we use our senses and our imagination to reflect prayerfully upon Jesus’ suffering, Death, and Resurrection, and to simply experience the visual images to reflect on Christ’s love for us.
We've listed the best Way of the Cross prayer resources for...
- beginners who are new to this form of prayer,
- families and those who want to pray the stations of the cross with children, and
- busy adults who may not be able to join your parish Stations of the Cross prayer time.