Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

May 11, 2018

A Lesson on Purgatory

Share a lesson the Church’s teaching on Purgatory. The following information is from Jesus Christ: Source of Our Salvation (2nd Edition). A short lesson follows the background information.

Background Information

Purgatory is name the Church gives to the final purification of those who die in God’s grace and friendship, but who need purification or cleansing to achieve the holiness necessary to enter heaven. From her beginnings, the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in solidarity with those who have died, especially during the celebration of the Eucharist. Other acts, such as helping the poor and works of penance, can be offered up for someone who is in Purgatory as well.

Catholic belief in the existence of Purgatory is based on biblical passages such as 2 Maccabees 12:39–46, which encourages those who are living to pray for the dead so that they may be released from their sins. In addition, Church Tradition has interpreted certain passages (see 1 Cor 3:15; 1 Pt 1:7) as referring to a place of a “cleansing fire” after death.

The doctrine of Purgatory and the process of purification make sense. To embrace an all-loving God, you must be free of any imperfection in your own capacity to love. Only a person who, before death, has been cleansed of sin or any punishment due for sins is pure enough to embrace an all-loving God completely and is thus ready for heaven. Sometimes, this cleansing can only be completed after death. It is both a joyful and a painful process. Those in Purgatory are happy that heaven awaits them, but the process of purgation might entail burning with sorrow and shame over sin and of great difficulty in giving up selfish attachments. However, when their purgation is complete, their suffering will end as they enter the bliss of heaven.



Provide some art material (paper and drawing supplies). Have the students draw an image from your description that follows:

Imagine a ship or boat sailing in choppy waters. Jesus is at the helm, setting its course. Above the boat, cloudlike figures representing the faithful who have died and are present with God in heaven fill the boat’s sails with zephyrs of their prayers. The deck of the boat is crowded with sturdy folk working the oars. These are the living members of the Church whose shared efforts and prayer power the craft. Below deck are sleeping figures, representing the souls of those who have died (and who are in Purgatory) and are being supported and transported by the efforts and prayers of those on deck and those above the clouds. This image reminds us that all of us in the Church—living and dead—are in the same boat.

Go on to emphasize that Purgatory is a transitional state of purification in which the imperfect person encounters the perfection of God. Emphasize that all people in Purgatory will eventually be in heaven. Invite the students to share in a class discussion some earthly experiences that might be considered purgatorial. Ask:

  • What are some experiences that, though painful, bring us closer to God or open our eyes to see God’s action in the world?
  • How might the popular slogan “No pain, no gain” be applied to Purgatory?

Suggest that the imperfect person would find a face-to-face encounter with the perfect God necessarily purging and therefore painful. In this purgatorial encounter, we quickly come to the realization that we have not chosen consistently for God and neighbor, a realization that is not only agonizing but purifying as well.

April 27, 2018

Called to Pray in the Month of May

Coming soon from Ave Maria Press is Called to Pray: Daily Prayers for Catholic Schools, a collection of prayers complied by Bishop McNamara High School teacher Justin McClain for teachers or their designated student leaders to read during a class period or over a school intercom system. The prayers are organized by school events, feast days, and solemnities over an academic year calendar.

Here are three sample prayers for Called to Pray for you to share with your students during the month of May.

Prayer for the Solemnity of Pentecost

Father God, today we ask the Holy Spirit to descend upon this Catholic school community, just as he did in the Upper Room at Pentecost, and to remain with us, not only now and throughout the conclusion of this school year, but throughout our lives. Please fill the hearts of the students in this school, so that they can spread Christ’s Good News no matter where they find themselves, whether within this school or beyond. We ask this in the name of the same Christ the Lord. Amen.

Prayer before Prom

Dear Lord, as we approach the end of this academic year, we prepare for the festivities that come with it. May the time spent together at prom be an occasion not just for fun, but also for reflection on all for which we are grateful within our school community. Help our students to make good decisions and to act only according to Christian principles, thus representing our community well. We ask this, as we do all things, in your holy name. Amen.

Prayer for Memorial Day

Heavenly Father, we take the time today to remember those men and women in uniform who have gone before us. We express our deepest gratitude for their bravery and sacrifice. Encourage us to remain thankful, and please inspire the students of this Catholic school community to work for peace around the world, especially in the midst of armed conflicts and other types of discord. We ask this in the name of Christ the Lord. Amen.


Make sure to preorder a copy of Called to Pray: Daily Prayers for Catholic Schools so your copy arrives just in time for the fall term.

April 18, 2018

A Prayer of Gratefulness

This prayer which popped up on social media recently is a wonderful way to associate things many people in the Western world connect with drudgery with a moment of gratefulness through prayer. Share this list and format with your students.

Ask them to write five to ten more examples in the same format.

Gather a list together and pray a prayer of gratefulness from it with the entire class.

April 9, 2018

Pope Francis and the Call to Holiness in Today’s World

Pope Francis released a new apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Esultate (Rejoice and Be Glad) with details on how to follow the Beatitudes by being of service to the marginalized, poor, and migrants. The pope equates defense of people on the fringes of society with defense of the unborn who are threatened with abortion.

The exhortation has many insights for everyone to live a holy life though Pope Francis begins by writing that this is a “modest goal is to repropose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities. “

In Chapter 1, he writes of following the practical examples of holiness left by the saints. He sites, in particular, Bl. Maria Gabriella Sagjeddp who spent fifteen months of her life devoted to praying for Christian unity. He also cited the “genius of women” and the “feminine style of holiness” by mentioning the examples of St. Hildegard of Bingen, St. Bridget, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila and St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

Holiness must be lived “in the present moment,” stated Pope Francis and in community with others, not in isolation. Pope Francis points out that “when Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyên van Thuân was imprisoned, he refused to waste time waiting for the day he would be set free. Instead, he chose ‘to live the present moment, filling it to the brim with love’. He decided: ‘I will seize the occasions that present themselves every day; I will accomplish ordinary actions in an extraordinary way.’”

Chapter 3 of Gaudete et Esultate is perhaps of most relevance to your students, all Catholics, and all people.  Holiness comes only in being rooted in the Lord. Jesus explained with great simplicity what it means to be holy when he gave us the Beatitudes (cf. Mt 5:3-12; Lk 6:20-23). The Beatitudes are like a Christian’s identity card.”  The pope offers practical reflections and applications for how to practice the Beatitudes. The subheading of this part of the chapter is “Going Against the Flow.”

Consider having your students read paragraphs 65-94 and write a summary of Pope Francis’ teachings on each of the Beatitudes.







March 21, 2018

Looking for the Nones

Bishop Robert Barron delivered the keynote lecture at the Cultures of Formation conference hosted by the McGrath Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame. The lecture is just over one hour in length. It is worth your time to hear Bishop Barron address this important topic.

Bishop Barron, the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, referenced a report by sociologist Christian Smith on the reasons youth and young adults are leaving the Catholic Church. Find the report here.



March 9, 2018

March Madness 2018: A Salute to the Loyola Chicago Ramblers

We depart from our usual salute to all the Catholic colleges qualifying for the NCAA basketball tournament, also known as March Madness, to focus on one particular school and team: the Loyola University Chicago Ramblers who will be making their first appearance in the tournament since 1985. The Ramblers finished the regular season 28-5 and recently got an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by winning their own conference championship.

Loyola's qualification recalls a significant other Loyola Rambler team in both college basketball and US History. It was the 1963 National Championship team that defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats 50-48 in overtime. Share a brief look at the highlights of the finish of the game.

The game was significant basketball wise as it is Loyola's only national championship and the only national championship for a team from Illinois. Share a pictorial and written history of the team with your students.

It was significant from a US historical perspective because at the height of the Civil Rights movement Loyola started four black players. (Cincinnati started three black players.) The game was known as a game of change, yet the team faced significant prejudice along the way. In 2015 President Barack Obama honored the 1963 Ramblers at the White House.

To conclude, share some information about the current 2017-2018 Loyola Ramblers, their record, and their road to March Madness.


  • Research the basketball history of another Catholic school in this year's tournament.
  • By seeding, rank the Catholic schools participating in this year's tournament.
  • Research the founding religious order of one or more of the Catholic colleges in this year's tournament.
  • Research and write a report on what happened to the players on the 1963 Loyola Ramblers.







February 28, 2018

Lenten Resources from Catholic Relief Services

Catholic Relief Services offers a bevy or Lenten resources that are appropriate for sharing with your students. A series of Lenten reflections videos are designed with the message of further guiding Catholics more deeply into their faith.

A Lenten digital retreat includes a series of questions that can help your students more clearly answer the question "Who is my neighbor?" and "How can I serve him or her?".

A section on Catholic saints shares detailed and moving profiles of several saints students might research more about and pray with during Lent.

Bishop Robert Barron leads a video journey of the Stations of the Cross with special focus on remembering those in need of our physical and spiritual help,

A special Holy Week section includes classroom prayer services for the conclusion of Lent.



February 14, 2018

Reflections on Witness: Learning to Tell the Stories of Grace that Illumine Our Lives by Leonard J. DeLorenzo

Catholic adolescents are no different than Catholic adults: Both groups of Catholics often find it difficult to tell their own personal stories of faiths. Leonard DeLorenzo has taught thousands of teens and young adults to think about and share their moments of grace from their personal lives in a way that is compelling, convincing, and free of clichés and vague generalizations. In Witness: Learning to Tell the Stories of Grace That Illumine Our Lives, DeLorenzo shares seven guiding principles for doing so. They are:

  1. Tell it as a story
  2. Begin with what happened
  3. Express it in style
  4. Modify it for your audience
  5. Ensure there is sufficient closure
  6. Embrace natural emotions and
  7. Pray and practice

How might the approach offered in Witness be applied first-hand to a Catholic high school theology course? Eric Buell, religious studies chairperson at Presentation High School in San Jose, California, has attempted the process within coverage of a typical course curriculum. He offers some reflections here:


Imagine seeing your life full of grace.  What is needed however is the correct lens to parse through the triumphs, the challenges, and the mundane to discover this light.  The first introduction I had to the concept of  “stories of grace” was my junior year at the University of Notre Dame as a part of the Notre Dame Vision program.  If you have had the opportunity to spend some time at this program or have spent some time with Dr. DeLorenzo’s book, the concept is at once familiar yet unique.  Personal narratives have taken center stage in online news and entertainment media.  This text provides a practical guideline of how to tap into this type of personal narrative, not as a therapeutic catharsis, but as a way to understand the movement of God’s grace in a person’s life and, the ultimate goal, to come to see ourselves in the light of and through the eyes of God.  This text provides practical steps and serves as a good supplemental resource for teachers wishing to bring their students into a more personal, narrative driven reflection that digs past the clichés that a secondary theology teacher can often encounter.  

Over the past decade teaching high school, I have sought for ways to bring my students into a deeper engagement with the course material (most of which is now outlined by the USCCB Doctrinal Elements for Curriculum).  In the context of my course on prayer and spirituality we have developed what I call “Chapel Fridays.”  No matter where we are in the course curriculum, the class moves to the chapel whenever we happen to have class that day (this is normally between 7-9 times a semester).  Using chapter 2 (“Bending Light”) as a guide, students use a variety of the seven principles laid out by DeLorenzo to open up the course material (primarily focused on sacrifice, grace, redemption, and sin) to bridge the gap between the academic and the formative.  Allowing students the freedom to choose which of her their stories to engage with is a tremendous opportunity to discover what is important to them, what has formed them into the person they are today, and how they grapple with understanding the presence of God in their lives.  

The most challenging academic concept I have had to teach throughout my high school’s curriculum is grace.  It is easy to memorize the definition, fill in the blanks, or apply it to the seven sacraments; but how can students be given the opportunity to hang on to a more concrete notion of grace?  The stories that my students have been able to produce in a variety of media (poetry, film, essay) have been inspiring.  Allowing students to share their stories (after a semester’s worth of editing, adapting, and discussing) is the most meaningful experience of the semester.  Instead of hearing about “grace” from the teacher, students encounter the variety of ways God has been present to their peers; this type of witness is what is needed to evangelize students in the classroom.

This text is most useful for the upper division classroom that has room in the curriculum to carve out space for storytelling.  If schools are providing a sacraments course in the Junior year, there is a prime opportunity to develop a secondary track of looking at the stages of a student’s life in terms of where they have been initiated, healed, or in the context of service, and have them develop a way of looking at these various experiences in the context of God’s grace.  In this respect, teachers can focus on the primary stages of sacramental theology while also developing student narratives that correspond to the respective stage.  This type of essay could serve as a capstone assessment for the course in conjunction with a semester review; students could share their personal stories of grace alongside the review of material.  There is opportunity to make a more formal essay alongside this story by having the students use sacramental imagery or a thoughtful understanding of symbol within their personal narrative.

This text might also serve as a great resource for teachers engaged in Catholic Morality, Social Justice, or Vocations courses.  Having the students use DeLorenzo’s seven steps while developing thoughtful reflections in these previous areas provides a more robust experience with the curriculum.  If schools require service hours with these courses, there is an opportunity to engage students in more thoughtful theological and Christological reflection by allowing class time to consider the people they were serving and how God not only provided an experience for them to reflect on the dignity of the human person in the context of direct service, but how they see grace emanating and illuminating the organization or person they served.  If your school is requiring service hours, carve out some space for students to think seriously about the presence of God in their local community.  This text will provide a concrete and practical overview of how to structure a meaningful theological reflection for your students.

Eric Buell

MA Theology, University of Notre Dame

MA Educational Leadership, Santa Clara University



If you are interested in a copy of Witness: Learning to Tell the Stories of Grace That Illumine Our Lives, ordering information is available here. If you would like more information or to dialogue on how to use this book in a high school theology course you may contact Eric Buell at ebuell@presentationhs.org






February 4, 2018

A Collection of Prayers, Exercises, and Others Lessons for Lent

Author and Catholic high school theology teacher Justin McClain has a new book coming out in the fall: Called to Prayer: Daily Prayers for Catholic Schools. It includes over 200 prayers to pray in a classroom. Here is a sample of one of the prayers, appropriate for use during Lent.

Prayer to Remain Steadfast During Lent

Lord, Lent is a challenging time, and we will not pretend that it is not. However, you did not expect anything of us that you were unwilling to subject yourself to. Your own time of trial in the desert set the standard for how to resist temptation and remain steadfast as we form our hearts to God’s will. Help us to grow steadily closer to you as we embrace the virtues of faith, hope, and love during Lent. Encourage us along as we walk with you, reminding us that Lent is far from a time to simply “give something up;” rather, to take on little sacrifices, which compare in no way to the supreme sacrifice that you offered by giving your life on the Cross in atonement for our sins. Strengthen us to persevere in holiness, virtue, and sanctity, seeking to do your will not only during Lent, but likewise throughout the year, as we look forward to celebrating your joyous Resurrection at Easter. We ask this in your redemptive name. Amen.

This site has several has several other prayers, guided meditations, activities, discussions, and others lessons for Lent. You can discover them here.


January 22, 2018

Catholic Schools Week Assignment for High School Students

The annual Catholic Schools Week is scheduled for January 28 to February 3. How will you mark the occasion with your students?

One idea would be for the students to write a short essay entitled “6 Benefits of a Catholic High School Education.” The six benefits can be written in a list form with a one paragraph explanation of each.

After you have collected the essays, compile a list of the top three benefits mentioned by all the students. Collate some of their reasoning into a larger promotion on a poster and an online platform with quotations included from as many students as possible and mentions by name of all the students in your class.

You might note a similar essay composed by a recent graduate of a Catholic high school.



January 8, 2018

Jim Caviezel's Powerful Message for Young Catholics

Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in The Passion of Christ, told the audience of young Catholics to "shake off their indifference" and "express their faith in public." This presentation--just under sixteen minutes in length--is well worth the time to show in its entirety to your students. Caviezel spoke at the recent SLS18 (Student Leadership Summit 2018) conference sponsored by The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) in Chicago. He was there to promote his new film Paul: Apostle of Christ which is scheduled for release on March 28, 2018.

After the students watch the presentation, ask for their reactions. You may wish that they share their favorite quotations by Caviezel. For example:

  • "Shake off indifference."
  • "Pray. Fast. Meditate on the Holy Scriptures. Take the sacraments seriously."
  • "Embrace your cross."
  • "Race to your goal."
  • "You are not given freedom to do what you like. You are given freedom to do what you ought."


January 2, 2018

Pope Francis and New Year's Resolutions

A few years ago, a list was compiled from Pope Francis’ most popular teachings and quotations to form his most popular New Years’ resolutions.  Here they are:

  1. Don't gossip.
  2. Finish your meals.
  3. Make time for others.
  4. Choose the “more humble” purchase.
  5. Meet the poor 'in the flesh.'
  6. Stop judging others.
  7. Befriend those who disagree.
  8. Make commitments, such as marriage.
  9. Make it a habit to “ask the Lord.”
  10. Be happy.

As you return to school, have your students write one or two sentences either explaining what each of Pope Francis’ resolutions mean or how they might apply these resolutions to their own lives.

Next, have them write their own New Years’ resolutions using Pope Francis’ list as an inspiration.

Finally, have the students read highlights of Pope Francis’ January 1, 2018 homily on the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God.

December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas from All of Us at Ave Maria Press

"Glory to God in the highest

     and on earth peace to those on whom is

             favor rests." (Luke 2:14)



December 13, 2017

Comparing Two Portrayals of the Infant Jesus

Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints by Raphael Sanzio (1483-1520)

In this painting, the infant Jesus and the Madonna are seen enthroned in heaven as Jesus is worshipped by several saints, including the infant John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, Catherine, and Cecilia. The fact that these saints lived in different centuries stresses the fact that, for God, there is no past or future. His time is not chronological (measurable and sequential time) but kairological (time that is not bound by sequence or measurement but rather by emotional significance). He lives in an eternal “now” where all are alive for him.


The Burning Babe by Robert Southwell (1561-1595)

The Burning Babe reflects on the love of Christ for fallen humanity. Through poetic imagery he combines the story of Christ's birth with accounts of his Passion and Death. His poem gives an unforgettable portrait of Jesus Christ, true God and true man. As I in hoary winter’s night

Stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat
Which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye
To view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright
Did in the air appear;
Who, scorched with excessive heat,
Such floods of tears did shed,
As though His floods should quench His flames,
Which with His tears were bred:
‘Alas!’ quoth He, ‘but newly born
In fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts
Or feel my fire but I!
‘My faultless breast the furnace is;
The fuel, wounding thorns;
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke;
The ashes, shames and scorns;
The fuel Justice layeth on,
And Mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought
Are men’s defiled souls:
For which, as now on fire I am
To work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath,
To wash them in my blood’
With this He vanish’d out of sight
And swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind
That it was Christmas Day.



  • Write a one page essay detailing the similarities and differences in the depiction of the infant Jesus in Raphael’s painting and Southwell’s poem?


This activity comes from the book The Catholic Spirit: An Anthology for Discovering Faith through Literature, Art, Film, and Music.


December 6, 2017

Faith, Friendship, and Football

“I knew Grant was a practicing Catholic, and I also saw that he was joyful,” Butker said. “I didn’t understand how someone could live the way the Church wants us to and still be joyful.”

Share this article about the friendship and faith connection between an NFL player, Harrison Butker, and his college teammate, Grant Aasen, who is now studying for the priesthood.

Things to Do

  • Write a story about your own friend who inspired your faith.
  • Research and write a report on the Knights of Columbus.
  • Research Mass opportunities at a college you are considering attending. Write about other faith programs at that college.
  • Write a profile about another Catholic athlete.



November 30, 2017

Waiting: The Beginning of Advent

In Advent we wait in hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Introduction: As the students arrive, ask them to write a two to three paragraph journal entry titled “Waiting is Hard.” Ask them to share a particular occasion they found waiting for Christmas hard when they were a young child. How does this type of waiting compare to the first century Jews and Gentiles of Palestine who longed for a Messiah? How does this type of waiting compare to people today who long for Christ’s return?

Choose a student to read the Gospel from the first Sunday of Advent.

Gospel (Mark 13:33-37)

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
Watch, therefore;
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'"

The Gospel of the Lord.

Response: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


Play this short music reflection: Advent: Waiting in Silence

Call on students to share their stories of Christmas waiting with a partner. After a short time for discussion, ask a few volunteers to share their stories with the entire class.

November 16, 2017

Report on Evangelization and Catechesis

At the full assembly of United States Catholic bishops this week in Baltimore, a report was presented on behalf of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis detailing issues of relevance for Catholic high schools and theology departments in those schools. The full presentation begins immediately at the start of the video linked here.

November 2, 2017

Questions and Answers on Jesus' Disciples

Here’s a short exercise your students might complete upon entering your classroom or at the end of a lesson. Have the students look up each passage and complete the following items related to Jesus’ disciples.

  1. Matthew 10:1–15. List the Apostles. Name three things Jesus instructed the Apostles to do.
  2. Luke 8:1–3. Name three women followers of Jesus.
  3. Luke 10:38–42. What was Martha complaining about? What did Jesus tell her?
  4. John 3:1–21. What did Nicodemus not understand about Jesus’ teaching?
  5. John 20:11–18. Why did Jesus tell Mary Magdalene not to hold onto him?
  6. Luke 19:1–10. Why was Zacchaeus despised by so many? What was the sign that he became a true disciple of Jesus?


  1. The Apostles are Simon called Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot. Jesus instructs them to go to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel,” proclaim the kingdom of Heaven, cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons, and take very little.
  2. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna
  3. She complained that her sister did not help her serve the guests. Jesus told her not to worry, but to sit and listen to him like her sister Mary.
  4. Nicodemus did not understand the meaning of being born again.
  5. Jesus had not yet ascended to his Father
  6. Zacchaeus was despised because he was a wealthy tax collector, but he proved his loyalty as a disciple by giving half of his possessions to the poor and promising not to steal from anyone.



October 24, 2017

A World Series Ballplayer Who Makes Time for Mass

With the 2017 World Series upon us, take time to share the story of Andre Ethier, an outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who always makes time for Sunday Mass within a hectic season. The story is taken from Meeting Jesus in the Sacraments (2nd Edition) from Ave Maria Press. Also share other players in this year’s World Series who attended Catholic high schools or colleges.

Do you feel that it’s hard for you to get to Mass? Think about Catholic professional athletes in any of the major sports who play games on Sundays. Have you ever wondered if, and how, these Catholic athletes are able to set aside time on Sunday for going to Mass in the midst of preparing for and playing an important, high-pressure game?

One person who does this successfully is Andre Ethier, an outfielder who plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers. A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Andre has revealed in interviews that his Catholic faith has played an important part in his life. Andre says, “It’s developed me into the person I am. And to shun away from that just because you’re supposed to be more vanilla in certain areas, it wouldn’t be me. I’m always trying to portray myself as who I really am, so that’s definitely part of me—the faith part.”

Because Sunday is a game day, Sunday Mass takes a little planning ahead for a major league baseball player. Andre explains, “People ask me, ‘On Sundays, why do you always come dressed up?’ It’s because either I’ve come from church or I am going to go to church following the game.” Occasionally, for home games, the Dodgers provide a team chaplain to say Mass in a room adjacent to the team’s clubhouse.

Andre finds that Sunday Mass is “a great time to be able to clear your mind and think about where you’re at in general. Sometimes things get out of perspective pretty quickly. So no matter what happens, good or bad, you gotta keep steady in that faith.”

Asked, “How hard is it, being in professional sports, to practice your faith?” Andre answers: “For me it starts probably with the most basic and simple—going to Mass every Sunday, and making a point to do that.” Andre continues: “The faith won’t lead you wrong. It’s led me right the whole way, and I still go to church every Sunday. I love it, and I’m glad to be involved and I’m glad to be a part of that Catholic community.”


World Series Players Who Attended Catholic High Schools or Colleges


Houston Astros

Evan Gattis, Designated Hitter

Bishop Lynch High School

Dallas, TX


Luke Gregerson, Right-handed Pitcher

St. Xavier University

Chicago, IL


Dallas Keuchel Left-handed Pitcher

Bishop Kelley High School

Tulsa, OK


Lance McCullers Jr. Right-handed Pitcher

Jesuit High School

Tampa, FL


Los Angeles Dodgers

Andre Ethier, Outfielder

St. Mary’s High School

Phoenix, AZ


Kyle Farmer, Catcher

Marist High School

Atlanta, GA


Logan Forsythe, Infielder

Christian Brothers High School

Memphis, TN




October 13, 2017

Helping Students Discover the Roots of Faith

Here are two activities you can do with your students to help them to critique their own faith history and better answer the question “Why do I believe in Jesus”?

In Class

Help students reflect on their most strongly held beliefs about Jesus.  Begin by inviting students to make a quick list of every person or source from which they have learned something about Jesus.  Then, setting this first list aside, challenge them to list the twenty most important things they believe about Jesus. At this point, you might even offer them time to compare lists with a classmate and revise as they feel necessary, based on new ideas from their discussions. Once they feel confident about their lists of twenty, have them evaluate which ten of the twenty are the most important. Finally, have them evaluate which three of those ten are the very most important. Direct them to look back at their lists of sources of information that they first brainstormed, and pose the question:  Which of these teachers or sources have contributed to your top three beliefs? Students may find that their most closely held beliefs were those influenced by the largest number of teachers, or conversely, by those teachers whose relationship or example they value most. Discuss student reactions to the exercise as a class.


At Home

Have students interview a faith mentor. Invite students to spend time talking with someone who has helped shape their faith—perhaps a parent or other relative, a friend, a teacher, or a Church leader.  Students should ask their mentors who they believe Jesus is and for what reasons they believe in his divine nature.  They should report back about their interviews, using a format of their choosing.  If time allows, students might, for instance, create a poster, a video, a written reflection, a prayer service, or any other creative “product” that shares the wisdom of their faith mentor with others.


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