Welcome! If you’ve enjoyed reading my work online, my books offer the best of what I care about most, edited into sanity by some of the most talented editors in Catholic publishing today. If you like what you read, please leave a review at your favorite bookseller’s website. Thanks!
The How-to Book of Evangelization: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You
by Jennifer Fitz, Our Sunday Visitor, 2020
I spent several years soaking up everything I could (and throwing in my own many cents worth of opinions on various topics) at Sherry Weddell’s Forming Intentional Disciples discussion forum. A frequent question would come from gung-ho Catholics, always someone who loves the Catholic faith, loves people, and is raring to go: “I’m ready to evangelize! But, um, how exactly do we do that??”
This book is the answer to that question. It’s written for the average Catholic (clergy, staff, or parishioner) in an average parish, dealing with all the typical challenges of contemporary parish life. It’s a pretty big book because we cover a ton of material, but it’s very readable, heavy on the common sense.
If you’re new to evangelization and looking for a good comprehensive overview of how to evangelize, this is that book. If you already know what you’re doing, but are struggling with how to explain the concepts of evangelization and discipleship to others in your parish, this book will help you find the words for the concepts that you’re trying to teach.
There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter, so if you are looking for a truly life-changing book for your next parish group study, it’s ready to go.
Here’s the episode of the Outside the Walls podcast where TL Putnman and I discuss the book (audio only, if anyone has a transcript please let me know: currentresident at fitzes dot com).
Need more evangelization help? This book and and many other excellent resources are included (as of 8/22) in the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana’s Evangelization Resource list. I can personally attest to the caliber of many of the other resources on that list, so please check it out!
Classroom Management for Catechists
by Jennifer Fitz, Liguori Publications, 2013
I wrote this book because when I started teaching religious ed, it was a disaster. I knew the faith and I had experience teaching, but I was totally blown away by the power of a room full of tired, jaded, teacher-wise ten-year-olds. Classroom Management for Catechists is a summary of all the things I learned in the process of turning that first fateful class into something amazingly good.
The book provides detailed, step-by-step methods for catechists on how to manage classroom behavior with love and grace. These are the time-tested methods for classroom discipline used by professional educators, but applied specifically to the particular challenges of the parish religious education setting. Because quality teaching is one of the cornerstones of a good classroom experience (trust me: children will not behave if you are boring them to death), the book covers the basics of class planning, including chapters addressing each of the big pitfalls waiting for catechists — stuff you don’t necessarily face in any other environment.
I’m honored to see (writing in May 2021) that the Archdiocese of Indianapolis recommends Classroom Management for Catechists as the go-to resource for catechists for this topic. Check out their page for other great catechetical resources to consider.
Lord You Know I Love You: A Discernment Retreat Using the Great Commandment
If my spiritual life were evaluated on an elementary school report card, I’d get an N for “Needs Improvement.” I originally wrote the Lord You Know I Love You retreat for use by a local chapter of the Catholic Council of Women in February, 2013. It is now available on Kindle, and a paperback edition is in the works. The retreat walks you through the Great Commandment using the four ways of loving God — heart, soul, mind, and strength — as the basis for self-examination.
If you wish to discern on behalf of a ministry or apostolate, or evaluate your work as a catechist or faith-formation leader, there are sections in each chapter tailored to those contexts.
This book makes a great Lenten retreat, and is geared towards ordinary Catholics across the spectrum. You can work through it as a group or on your own, whatever you like.
The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion
Edited by Sarah Reinhard and Lisa Hendey, Ave Maria Press, 2016
This is a collection of daily devotionals in the classic style of CatholicMom.com. It’s for use year after year, as the reflections are tied to the season or the feast day, rather than a particular calendar year. I’ve got some pretty cool ones in there. You can read about what I learned from being part of this project here.
Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary
By Sarah Reinhard and Contributors, Ave Maria Press, 2015
My friend Sarah Reinhard undertook a massive collaborative blogging project, and it turned into this book. I and a bazillion authors you already know, or really should know, each wrote a reflection on a word of the Hail Mary.
My word is “women,” and I was nervous when the book arrived that I would have written something I regretted, but nope, I did great.
It’s no surprise that some of the writers who accepted the call when all they had was enthusiasm and a heart for Jesus have since gone on to big things. Sarah has an eye for picking talent.
A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism
Sarah Reinhard, Ave Maria Press, 2012
This isn’t my book, it’s Sarah’s. I put it here because she asked me to write a chapter-opening on the topic of siblings and the new baby, and I think it was one of the best things I ever wrote.
This book is hands-down fantastic, and I don’t usually like books like this. I couldn’t be more pleased to have been a part of it.
As Morning Breaks: Daily Gospel Reflections
Lisa Hendey, Editor, 2014
A reflection on the daily Gospel reading for every day of 2015. Even though this is obviously a “dated” work, I keep it here because I think it still offers value. This is from the original team at CatholicMom.com, and if you’ve never read these reflections, they’re worth your time. You can preview the first month, which lets you get a taste of each contributor’s style and the kinds of ideas that will be coming your way each day.
If you just want to see my name in print, scroll down to the 16th. To my knowledge, proceeds from the sale of the book underwrite Lisa Hendey’s ministry.
If you enjoyed As Morning Breaks, check out the follow-up reader, The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion: A Book of Daily Reflections .