Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

March 1, 2019

Researching Catholic Non-Violent Resisters of the 20th Century

During his 2015 address to Congress, Pope Francis spoke of four great Americans that stood as witnesses of the dignity of the human person and advocated for social justice for all: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton (Address of the Holy Father, 2015).  In this spirt, encourage your students to follow the insights of Pope Francis and research lives of individuals from Catholic tradition that advocated for social justice and non-violence alternatives through their life and witness. Assign a presentation or short essay along with the research.  

Rubric expectations might include: personal quotations, pictures, biographical information, and/or a summary of their advocacy work. (This might be a good activity to guide students in learning about digital literacy and the need of reference citations and clear supporting evidence to accurately illustrate the advocacy of the individual.)  For more creative settings invite the students to create a poster, PechaKucha, or find a series of song lyrics that connect with the mission and ministry of one of the following Catholic advocates to present for the class. 

The following are some examples of Catholic individuals who advocated for human dignity and labored for a non-violent alternative throughout the American twentieth century (supply background information on each as needed):

  • Nicholas Black Elk (1863-1950)
  • Sr. Thea Bowman (1937-1990)
  • Fr. Solanus Casey (1870-1957)
  • Cesar Chavez (1927-1993)
  • St. Marianne Cope (1838-1918)
  • Dorothy Day, OblSB (1897-1980)
  • Ms. Eileen Egan (1912-2000)
  • Ms. Dolores Huerta (1930-)
  • Fr. Emil Kapaun (1916-1951)
  • Sr. Teresa Kearney (1875-1957)
  • The Martyrs of La Paz, El Salvador (1980)
  • Sr. Mary Angeline Teresa McCrory (1893-1984)
  • Thomas “Fr. Louis” Merton, OCSO (1915-1968)
  • Fr. Stanley Rother (1935-1981)
  • Mother Soledad Sanjurjo Santos (1892-1973)
  • Fr. Aloysius Schwartz (1930-1992)
  • Ms. Eunice Kennedy Shriver (1921-2009)
  • Ms. Mary Ann Wright (1921-2009)
  • Ms. Rhoda Greer Wise (1888-1948)
  • Fr. George B. Zabelka (1915-1992

                                                    Submitted by Thomas Malewitz, Ph.D.

                                                        St. Xavier High School Louisville, KY

February 12, 2019

Comparing Parable Themes with Music Videos

An essential component for authentic catechesis is to include real-life, pertinent, and culturally relevant examples within the theology course activities (Catechesi Tradendae, 1979; Instrumentum Laboris, 2012; Evangelii Gaudium, 2013).  Jesus exemplified this by teaching through parables to relate to his audience.  Jesus’ parables challenged the audience to think critically about a moral lesson, and jar complacent/stereotypical attitudes of the time (see Luke 10:25-37).  Although we don’t use the same cultural images in our stories today we can still use similar techniques, like music videos and short films, to teach moral lessons and challenge our students to think beyond stereotypes and labels.  Music videos, like ancient parables, can be a helpful modern-day storytelling technique as well as a beneficial option for a quick theological conversation starter. 

Directions

To start a conversation for adolescents on parables choose a couple of the music videos (a few are listed below), watch the video and develop a dialogue from the following suggested questions to discuss the meaning and morals of the videos you chose.  Finally, bring the conversation back to Scripture by connecting the video to any theme of Jesus’ parables.

Suggested Questions

1) What message do you think the director wanted to express through this music video?

2) How could the video be compared to a parable? 

3) What were your first impressions of the video?

4) Who could be considered the anawim (outcast) in the video? 

5) Briefly discuss, explain, or compare/contrast the videos you chose and relate them to a parable from the Gospel. 

 

Suggested Videos (remember adolescents may relate to other genres or artists more than the options offered below)

- Avicii's "Hey Brother" (2013) 

- Collective Soul's "The World I Know" (1995) 

- Dave Matthew's Band "Everyday" (2001) 

- Emerson Drive's "Moments" (2006) 

- Five for Fighting’s “What If” (2013) 

- Taylor Swift’s “Mean” (2010) 

- T.I.'s "Live Your Life" (2008) 

                                                                     Submitted by Thomas Malewitz, Ph.D.

                                                                     St. Xavier High School Louisville, KY

 

January 28, 2019

Word Clues

Make a copy of the clues and key below.

 

Directions:Write a one word answer for each item. The letters below appear just once. The numbers in parenthesis indicate the number of letters in each answer.

  1. Latin translation of the Bible (7)                                        ________________________
  2. Missionary to the Gentiles (4)                                           ________________________
  3. Someone preparing for Baptism (9)                                  ________________________
  4. What you hear after the Gospel (6)                                   ________________________
  5. Betrayer of Jesus (5)                                                         ________________________
  6. Month of St. Francis of Assisi’s feat day (7)                        ________________________
  7. Place where Jesus died (7)                                                 ________________________

 

VU

HO

EN

CA

TE

TEC

JUD

OC

LY

PA

CA

UL

TOB

ARY

AS

ER

LV

MI

HUM

LGA

 

 

Answers: 1) Vulgate; 2) Paul; 3) catechumen 4) homily 5) Judas 6) October; 7) Calvary

January 14, 2019

Nine Days for Life

Check resources for Pro-Life activities from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

January 4, 2019

Patrick J. McGeary Requiescat in Pace

Patrick J. McGeary, former marketing director at Ave Maria Press, passed away on January 1 at his home in Venice, Florida, after a two-month illness.   Pat was able to enjoy the Christmas holidays with his wife Marion, three daughters, and four grandchildren. As per his goal, he was able to watch Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl (albeit with undesired results) and the Chicago Bears in their last regular season game.

Pat was an unforgettable person. I met him for the first time at the NCCL conference in Covington, Kentucky in 1994. After I set up the booth, Pat came in and rearranged some of the books. I was taken aback, but after talking with him for a few minutes he warmed me over with an array of stories about publishing, growing up in New York City, basketball, and much more. We went out for a steak dinner that night and chatted way later than we should have.

The next night Pat invited me to go with him to the NCCL publisher’s dinner. I wasn’t that interested but Pat wanted me to meet one of his old friends. When we got there the host requested everyone in attendance stand up and “tell something unique about themselves” or something to that effect. Pat looked and me and I looked at him and we both bolted for the door along with the young and flustered Sister who had ridden in the car with us.

Pat came to work at Ave Maria Press shortly after and we enjoyed several more years of good conversations along with our regular tasks of producing, marketing, and selling our books.

In your hands, O Lord,
we humbly entrust our brother Pat.
In this life you embraced him with your tender love;
deliver him now from every evil
and bid him eternal rest.

The old order has passed away:
welcome him into paradise,
where there will be no sorrow, no weeping or pain,
but fullness of peace and joy
with your Son and the Holy Spirit
forever and ever.
R/. Amen.

                                                                                                                                --Mike Amodei

 

Obituary and Memorial information for Patrick J. McGeary.

 

 

December 28, 2018

Justification, Atonement, Scapegoating

These related terms—justification, atonement, and scapegoat—are connected in a Christian sense in the living, holy victim, Jesus Christ, “whose blood has become the instrument and atonement” (CCC, 1992) for our sins. Justification is given to Christians in Baptism, the sacrament of faith.

The term scapegoat is an Old Testament term (see Leviticus 16) connected with a goat sent out into the wilderness after the Jewish priest had symbolically laid the sins of the people upon it. Covenant renewal and restoration of the people were connected to the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).

Explore the idea of scapegoating with a lesson on The Lottery, a short story originally published in 1948 in the New Yorker. The story is also depicted in a 17 minute film, available on YouTube.

Several study questions are available online.

December 3, 2018

Christmas Quotations

Listed below are several Christmas quotations (gathered from Catholic Online). You might have your students do one or more of the following:

  • Design a Christmas card using one of the sayings along with their own message.
  • Research other Christmas quotations and share a favorite and why that it is so.
  • Compose their own Christmas quotations.
  • Use one of the Christmas quotations as the basis of a one-page essay on the meaning of Christmas.
  • Research and report on teachings or reflections of the saints on the meaning of Christmas. See, for example, "The Saints Teach Us about Christmas."

Quotations

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.- Agnes M. Pharo

The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart.- Helen Keller

There is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, and that is, keeping Christmas.- Henry Van Dyke

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air."- W.T.Ellis

Do give books - religious or otherwise - for Christmas. They're never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.- Lenore Hershey

May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope; the spirit of Christmas which is peace; the heart of Christmas which is love.- Ada V. Hendricks

We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.- Winston Churchill

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.- Charles Dickens

Christmas is not just a time for festivity and merry making. It is more than that. It is a time for the contemplation of eternal things. The Christmas spirit is a spirit of giving and forgiving.- J. C. Penney ("Christmas Thoughts")

November 15, 2018

Taking the Risk of Faith

Jesus summoned a crowd with his disciples and said to them,

Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this faithless and sinless generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels

                                                                                                --Mark 8:34-38

 

To follow Jesus means to take a risk.

Help your students determine their “risk quotient” before they take up the questions of the risk of faith. Make a worksheet with the following items and have the students circle their responses.

 

  1. If I lost my way I would
  1. Stop and ask directions
  2. Check the GPS
  3. Keep driving and follow my hunches
  1. On the menu, I look for:
  1. Something familiar I know and like
  2. Something special, a little different
  3. Something I never have tried before.
  1. In playing Monopoly, I usually
  1. Play it safe and hide money under the table
  2. Hang loose, but save a little back
  3. Go for broke and gamble everything
  1. I would prefer to get
  1. An “A” in an easy course
  2. A “B” in a so-so course
  3. A “C” in a tough demanding course
  1. In choosing a job,  I would prefer
  1. A boring job with security and benefits
  2. An interesting job with some security
  3. A job with endless possibilities but no security
  1. At the amusement park I
  1. Stick to the bumper cars
  2. Get jittery on the double Ferris wheel
  3. Ride no-hands on the fastest, highest revolution roller coaster
  1. At a party, I usually
  1. Talk only to the friends I came with
  2. Get to know a few new people
  3. Try to meet most everyone who is there
  1. When I have a problem with a teacher
  1. I complain, but not to the teacher
  2. I ask a parent to talk to the teacher
  3. I talk to the teacher myself
  1. I would break off a two-year relationship
  1. Online
  2. By phone
  3. In person
  1. As a parent I would probably be
  1. Very protective
  2. Firm but fun
  3. Very permissive

 

RQ SCALE

Low Risker                                                           Medium Risker                                                  High Risker

10           12           14           16           18           20           24           26           28           30

 

When they are finished tell the value of the letters: each A=1 point, each B=2 points and each C=3 points. Have them add their point to figure their RQ scores and circle it on the scale. Tell them to share their scores with a partner.

Then divide the room by putting the high riskers in one group, the medium riskers in a second group, and the low riskers in a third group.

Have each group discuss and come to a consensus on the following questions:

  • Would you leave your parents and family to be a Christian missionary?
  • What would you give up to follow Jesus?
  • What would cause you to lose your faith in Christ?
  • What motivates you to follow Christ?

After the discussion, compare the group’s answers. Note similarities and differences between the way the different kinds of “riskers” answered the questions.

Have the students all answer in writing the following question:

  • What does it mean to risk your life in faith for Jesus?

October 31, 2018

History of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick

During Jesus' life and after his Ascension to heaven, his disciples anointed and laid hands on those were sick in order to heal them. Share this brief timeline of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick from the third century forward.

ca. 215: The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus described how at Mass, a bishop blessed the oil of the sick (olive or another plant oil), praying that the oil would bring strength to all anointed with it. Christians regarded their blessed oil as an especially effective remedy and a sign of God’s presence.

ca. 416: Pope Innocent I described in a letter how blessed oil was used for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

428: St. Cyril of Alexandria warned Christians not to turn to pagan magicians and sorcerers when they were sick. Instead, they were to turn to God’s healing through the bishop and presbyters of the Church.

1551: The Council of Trent affirmed that “only priests (bishops and presbyters) are ministers of the Anointing of the Sick” (CCC, 1516).

1965: The Second Vatican Council wrote that “‘Extreme Unction,’ which may also and more fittingly be called ‘Anointing of the Sick,’ is not a sacrament intended only for those who are at the point of death. . . . [A]s soon as any of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, this is already a suitable time for them to receive this sacrament.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 73)

Assignments

  • Define oil of the sick and Extreme Unction.
  • Research and write a two-page report on one or more religious communities whose primary apostolate is to care for the sick and suffering.
  • Interview a doctor, nurse, or someone in the medical field. Ask his or her opinion on the role of the the Spirit and prayer in the healing process. Write a one-page report detailing the results of the interview.

 

October 15, 2018

Seven New Saints

Pope Francis canonized seven new saints on Sunday, October 14, at St. Peter's Square in Rome. Here are short videos and other information on each new saint.

St. Paul VI

St. Oscar Romero

See also the award-winning full length feature Monsenor:The Last Journey of Oscar Romero with accompanying free study guide.

St. Francesco Spinelli

St. Nunzio Sulprizio

St. Nazaria Ignacia March Mesa

St. Katharina Kasper

 

October 5, 2018

Help for Children Refugees

The following important message comes from the desk of Catholic Relief Services. It asks for immediate help for children refugees, especially help in securing for them the right to go to school. Read the message and explo0re the links which include several ways your students can actively learn about and support this mission. See also the separate Share the Journey.

Seventeen years.

Not only are more people than ever displaced today, but they are displaced, on average, for 17 years. That’s close to a generation. In a strange place. With few connections. Often with little knowledge of local language and customs, and often with rights denied that most of us take for granted. A period that is supposed to be devoted to play, growth and education is too often spent worrying about their daily existence.

During war and crisis, education may seem like something minor, but it is critical to keeping children safe and building hope for the future.

That’s why agencies that serve refugees work to provide access to education for refugee children.

Have You Shared the Journey?

Eyeing the enormity of the refugee crisis, Pope Francis declared, "To give a child a seat at school is the finest gift you can give.”  Right now, a great number of refugee children, especially girls, are not able to attend. We invite you and your communities to call on your Senators to pass an important bill moving in the Senate that would help provide access to education for vulnerable children, like refugees.

So much in the present is a struggle for refugee families, but we work and pray for a chance at a meaningful future.

A Seat at School

Policies and answers are something we debate.  But solidarity is something we do.  It is how we live. That is why we continue to encourage you to Share the Journey by taking a Pilgrimage Walk.  As persons, as families, and as communities, we are putting one foot in front of the other, walking in public in solidarity with those whose lives have become a difficult journey; moving in a deeper, more meaningful way, spiritually and physically.  And then, as we go forward, we will be going forward together.

The response so far has been exciting.  Together, we have entered into the journey, and have walked more than twice around the world.  Can we do five times around?  That is our new goal.

And if we can do that, then surely we can help provide a seat in a school and the opportunity to be educated.  To all of our children.

September 19, 2018

A Catholic Hero

Share this article on hall of fame baseball player and exemplary Catholic Roberto Clemente. You may wish to have the students write their answers to the comprehension questions that follow. An additional reflection  assignment is also provided.

Comprehension

  1. What was early evidence of Roberto's practice of his faith?
  2. How were the people of Puerto Rico divided when Roberto grew up?
  3. What major league team originally signed Roberto?
  4. What issues did Roberto originally have with the sportswriters? his teammates?
  5. When did Roberto meet his wife?
  6. How did Roberto practice his Catholic faith while living in Pittsburgh?
  7. How did Roberto die?

Reflection

  • Could Roberto Clemente become a saint? Read this article and then write your opinion in a three paragraph response.

 

September 12, 2018

NEW! Meeting Jesus in the Sacraments (Second Edition)

We welcome publication of Meeting Jesus in the Sacraments (Second Edition), a high school textbook written in an easy-to-follow spiral approach with each chapter providing detailed information around the Scriptural roots, history, matter, rites, graces, and effects of the sacraments..

Meeting Jesus in the Sacraments helps students to recognize the living presence of God’s Incarnate Son in the Seven Sacraments, especially in the Eucharist. Organized around three dimensions of the sacraments—Understanding, Celebrating, and Grace—the text unpacks the origins, rites, and effects of the Seven Sacraments in a spiral design that follows a common structure from chapter to chapter.

Accompanying the Student Text are a Teacher's Wraparound Edition and a full complement of online teacher and student resources.

If you are a high school theology teacher contact Bob Wieneke for more information on receiving review copy of Meeting Jesus in the Sacraments (Second Edition).

August 27, 2018

The Importance of Self-Concept at the Start of a School Year

Many teens start a new school year with apprehension. Some of this feeling stems the attitude—or self-concept—they have for themselves.

Self-concept refers to what you think about yourself. It is concerned with what you believe to be the truth about who you are and the gifts and talents you have. Your self-concept determines whether or not you like what you see when you look in the mirror. When you like who you are, you have self-esteem.

Self-esteem is vital for success in any endeavor, including an academic school semester. . If a student feels good about himself or herself, life is big adventure. New experiences are challenging and stimulating. Meeting new people is enjoyable. Oppositely, if a person has a poor self-image, every day can seem filled with dangers and never-ending plagued with many pitfalls and chances to fail.

Activity

Ask the students to imagine themselves at a shopping mall at three different times: 1) by themselves; 2) with a best friend; and 3) with a parent.

Ask volunteers to describe how they would feel in each of those situations. You may want to have students role play each of these situations to show how their behavior is shaped by whom they are with.

Follow-up

Have the students answer these questions in writing:

  1. Why do their peers act as they do in different situations?
  2. In what situations to you exhibit the real you?

August 15, 2018

Introducing Christ in the Classroom: Lesson Planning for Heart and Mind

Just in time for the start of school, Christ in the Classroom: Lesson Planning for Heart and Mind is now available!

This book by Jared Dees, creator of The Religion Teacher website, applies the four steps of lectio divina—reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation—to the ministry of catechesis. He offers a practical framework for preparing lessons that shift the primary focus of teaching from intellectual learning to encountering Christ in prayer and action. Using this method, both you and your students together come to know intimately the person of Christ at the same time that they are learning the tenets and traditions of the Church.  

Stories of success and failure from the author’s own teaching experience ground the practical wisdom of this book. Dees offers dozens of field-tested strategies, tactics, and teaching methods to effectively integrate the four steps of lectio divina into the classroom or other catechetical setting. Outfitted with these tools, both experienced and brand new religious educators will feel confident in their ability to teach effectively and also lead their students to life-changing encounters with Christ Jesus.

 

 

 

July 30, 2018

Helping Teens with Career Planning

Your students may not be fully in aware of the resources available at your school for career planning. Help them develop a plan and some sample questions to use in an interview with their guidance counselor. Share the format below.

State your aims.

Explain your dreams. In the best way that you can, tell your counselor the outcome that you want from your career. Reach for the sky. Share your vision.

Explore alternatives.

Ask your counselor to suggest more than one way to go about achieving your aims. What have other people done who have the same career goals? Where can you find additional information? What is the most practical alternative for you to pursue?

Identify your resources.

What do you have to do to work with as far as time, finances, and talent? Are there ways around any limitations you might have? (For example: scholarships, grants, or loans may be available to help you meet some or all of your financial obligations.)

Review the alternatives and make a decision.

Which alternative will most likely assist you in reaching your goal? Which alternative is most compatible with your resources? Combining the answers to these two questions will help you in reaching a decision.

Take the first step of your plan.

Ask your counselor to direct you to the first step of the plan. This may mean helping you to arrange an interview with a college recruiter or employer, or simply helping you with a college or job application.

Here are some other questions you may wish to ask your counselor:

  • How often am I able to see you?
  • Must I make an appointment or will one be scheduled for me?
  • Does the school have any special programs that might fit my aptitudes?
  • Can you refer me to any community organization that could help me with my post-high school plans?

 

July 16, 2018

Preparing to Teach a Course in Faith and Science

Religion is not opposed to science!

This message is being strongly addressed in several sources designed to help Catholic high school teachers of theology and science—as well as any and all connected subjects—strongly emphasize this points.

Word on Fire, with Bishop Robert Barron, has prepared several resources, including free display posters of Catholic scientists.

The subject of the Catholic Answers National Conference, September 27-30, 2018, is Faith and Science. Registration is now open.

Finally, Ave Maria Press, with author Stacy Trasancos, is preparing a Student Edition of her popular Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science. This edition will have a curriculum guide for use for a full and partial semester in Catholic high schools. Look for is release in 2019.

July 6, 2018

An Extra Catholic Quiz

Here's a Catholic quiz courtesy of the National Catholic Register. With 32 total questions, you might wish to divide the questions into groups of four or eight and use them to as seat work, extra credit, or as a class icebreaker. The answers to the questions and the complete quiz and credit can be found at this link.

  1. What Pope declared himself a prisoner of the Vatican?
  2. What two symbolic pieces of heraldic regalia are found in all basilicas?
  3. Who was the first non-martyr to be named a saint (pace Mary, St. John the Evangelist and of course, St. Joseph)?
  4. In Italy, which saint is so famous she is simply known as “THE Saint”?
  5. What were (are) the four “minor orders”?
  6. What was the name of the cave David took shelter in?
  7. During the singing of the Exultet at the Easter Vigil, what insect is extolled?
  8. During his papal installation, Pope Benedict wore what garment in an Eastern Catholic tradition?
  9. What two 20th-century British authors, both of whom were converts to Catholicism, soured on the liturgical changes of the Second Vatican Council?
  10. A crosier with two horizontal bars on it is called what kind of cross?
  11. Leon Bloy wrote a famous work on which Marian apparition?
  12. What cardinal died suddenly and immediately before the conclave of 1958?
  13. An atheist does not believe in God. An agnostic is unsure. But what is the technical term for someone who actively hates God?
  14. Which 20th-century saint wrote an autobiography entitled Journal of a Soul?
  15. What Doctor of the Church is literally named “Golden-Word”?
  16. What Renaissance artist practiced the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola?
  17. What epic English poet not only served in World War I, but went on to decorate many churches with his engravings and paintings?
  18. In a church what are bobaches used for?
  19. Who is the patron saint of editors?
  20. In the West, what are the tradition names given to the Magi (the “three kings”)?
  21. A priest with “O.A.R.” for a suffix belongs to which religious order?
  22. The “Miraculous Medal” was manifested to which saint?
  23. During the Sacrament of Baptism, the priest asks the godparent or the catechumen “What do you ask of The Church of God?” What is the answer?
  24. Who is “The Second Apostle to Germany” (the first being St. Boniface)?
  25. There are two arch-abbeys in the United States: what are their names and where are they located?
  26. Although he is always depicted in art as being shot through with many arrows, St. Sebastian did not die from arrow wounds: how was he finally martyred?
  27. What famous Lebanese-American actor had a public and strong devotion to St. Jude?
  28. Most tourists think that the Cathedral of Venice has always been the famed St. Mark’s Basilica—but from 1450 to 1805 the Cathedral of Venice was which other church?
  29. What are four different names for the Sunday following Easter?
  30. What Catholic writer and painter also invented—according to his own history—color and underwater photography (though he died broken and penniless in Venice)?
  31. What famous philosopher wrote books taking titles from the New Testament such as The Sickness Unto Death and Fear and Trembling?
  32. On the Feast of Saint Agnes, lambs are blest then shorn to fashion what ecclesiastical garment?

June 25, 2018

Mini-Units on Contemporary Issues

Ave Maria Press offers free  5-day mini-units that fit within several different theology courses schedules. They are also perfect for a short catechetical lesson in a parish youth ministry setting.

Four of the mini-units are particularly applicable and related to contemporary issue occurring how.

1. Migration and the Church shows ways for Catholics to help with immigration reform. It also points out to the many ways immigrants help in their new communities. It accompanies a video on the migration issue, Dying to Live, which is also available from Ave Maria Press.

2. Adoption: A Choice Worth Making provides a synopsis of the adoption process, including perspectives from adoptive children and parents.

3. Religious Liberty and Catholicism in the United States  shares the proper relationship Catholics should have with civil authorities. It also traces the historical development of the Church's relationship with the government in the United States.

 4. Monseñor: The Last Journey of Óscar Romero Study Guide (English and Spanish) reviews the last days and martyrdom of Blessed Óscar Romero whose canonization is anticipated for October 2018. This mini-unit is accompanied by the award-winning documentary of the same name.

Check out the Ave Maria Press mini-unit section for these and other free 5-day mini units!

 

 

 

June 12, 2018

Avoid Gossip

"Gossip is not a work of the Holy Spirit, it is not a work of the unity of the church. Gossip destroys the work of God. Please stop gossiping," Pope Francis said recently in a talk on the Sacrament of Confirmation.The pope emphasized that the gift of peace a person receives at Confirmation can be lost if the person starts saying mean things to others once he or she leaves Church.

Remind teens that the commandment "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" means more than lying. It also means that we are not to talk about people behind their backs or to spread untrue rumors about them. To gossip means to reveal private or sensational facts about others. What you say may be entirely true, but it's really none of your business and it's not the business of those who you are telling. In many, many times it's better to not say anything.This dramatic short film titled Word of Mouth about two high-school girls on different ends of the social spectrum illustrates the point well. More practical advice about how to stop gossip can be gleaned from It's Time to Silence Gossip, an article by a teenage boy.

Writing Prompt

  • Tell about a time you have been hurt or hurt another by gossip. Explain the lesson you learned from this occasion.

 

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