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Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

March 30, 2020

Life Issues in the Time of the Coronavirus

The response to the Coronavirus worldwide opens up discussion on several life issues.

For example, while most states have prohibited all but essential work outside of the home and asked hospitals and surgery centers to postpone all elective medical surgeries a debate continues in may places about whether abortions should be prohibited during this time as an example of an elective procedure.

There is also some concern over the possibility that some locations may have to ration medical supplies for those suffering from the virus, perhaps choosing who is more worthy of treatment based on age or existing medical condition. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has released several statements on this topic. In Texas, Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Tyler Diocese has spoken out strongly against the rationing of medical equipment and the signing over to medical boards of the possible unrestricted power in choosing who might receive treatment.

Take some time to review Church teaching on euthanasia and assisted suicide with your students. Fr. Rob Galea provides a concise teaching on The Catholic View of Euthanasia in a video that is just under four minutes in length. 

March 27, 2020

Plenary Indulgences During the Time of the Coronavirus

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes an indulgence as “a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.” (No. 1471)

Through indulgences, the infinite merits of Christ, as well as the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, are applied to our purification in this life or the life to come (in purgatory).

A plenary indulgence removes all of the temporal punishment due to sins (“plenary” means full or complete). Other indulgences are known simply as partial indulgences.

Those obtaining a plenary or partial indulgence can choose to apply it either to themselves or to the souls of deceased persons. Listed here are some opportunities for plenary indulgences during the time of the corona virus.

 

March 23, 2020

Resources from OBD Films

A message from ODB Films:

Now is a great time to create your free account at odbfilms.com to watch dozens of our projects, including:

  • award-winning dramas,

  • entertaining theology and catechesis,

  • moving testimonies,

  • music videos,

  • comedy sketches,

  • animations,

  • and the beloved VCAT (Video Catechism) series.

The VCAT includes the gorgeous four-part Adán in the Desert series, along with hours of interesting and informative content that vividly brings Catholic teaching to life.

This is a great way to stay entertained and do some at-home faith formation while you’re at it—and it’s absolutely free.

March 19, 2020

Spiritual Fasting from Holy Communion

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois offers a unique perspective for those who are unable to participate in the celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist. 

Share his video reflection with your students. The quotation Bishop Paprocki references from Pope Benedict XVI is taken from his book Behold the Pierced One. There are several reflections taken from this book online.

St. John Paul II's encyclical Ecclesia De Eucharistia  (The Church from the Eucharist) discusses the centrality and importance of the Eucharist. You may have the students read the entire encyclical and report on references to "spiritual communion" and what is meant by spiritual communion.

 

 

 

 

 

Assignment

  • Have the students research prayers of saints who have made a spiritual communion and record one that is their favorite. Here is a prayer of spiritual communion of St. Alphonsus Ligouri 

Jesus, I believe that You are present in the blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire You in my soul. Since I cannot now receive Your sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As.though You were already there, I embrace You and unite myself wholly to You; permit not that I should never be separated from You. Amen.

 

 

 

 

March 4, 2020

What Doe a Paleographer Do in Biblical Studies?

  1. Ask your students to define the term paleographer.
  2. Ask them to speculate what a paleographer would have to do with translating and studying original copies of the Bible.
  3. Share the following text from Abba Isn’t Daddy and Other Biblical Surprises: What Catholics Really Need to Know about Scripture Study to further explain the importance of paleographers in studying and understanding the Bible.

 

Image result for biblical paleographer

Missing Vowels, Spacing, and Punctuation

Ancient Hebrew (like modern Israeli Hebrew) had no vowels! That’s right—no written vowels! Of course, Hebrew speakers pronounce vowels when they speak or read from the page, but the vowels are not written. So imagine what confronts the reader of an ancient page from a Hebrew Bible: long lines of uninterrupted consonants across the whole page. How in the world do readers make sense of what they’re looking at?

Let’s try to visualize this experience, as best we can, in English. Look at the following English text written without vowels, without word breaks, and without punctuation:

 

drjhnwntmnwhknwswhtlvsllbtyrgnrskndthghtflpplwhrntlkydmttbngslssndnfrryhvrndmfrt

hrmnyrnfryhvnflngswhtsvrwhnwrprtcnbfrvrhppywllyltmbyrsglr

 

What in the world does this mean? And how can we derive meaning from—dare I say exegete—this scramble of consonants? The interpreter gets some help by at least inserting word breaks. With this help, the text looks like this:

 

dr jhn wnt mn wh knws wht lv s ll bt y r gnrs knd thghtfl ppl wh r nt lk y dmt t bng slss nd nfrr y hv rnd m fr thr mn yrn fr y hv n flngs whtsvr whn wr prt cn b frvr hppy wll y lt m b yrs glr

 

Is this much help? Perhaps, but let’s get some more help by now supplying vowels: 

 

dear john i want a man who knows what love is all about you are generous kind thoughtful people who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior you have ruined me for other men i yearn for you i have no feelings whatsoever when were apart i can be forever happy will you let me be yours gloria

 

Aha!  Now we’ve got it. It’s a love letter from Gloria to John! So now let’s just clean it up a bit simply by adding punctuation—some periods, commas, capital letters, and the like. And here’s what we get: 

 

Dear John,

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy. Will you let me be yours?

Gloria

 

Some of you might now recognize this text. It’s made its rounds on the internet for some time. If you’ve already seen it there, then you’ll know that this exact same text can be radically transformed by simply changing the punctuation. Note, nothing else in the previous text has been altered but the punctuation (the commas, periods, capital letters, etc.). Now look at this differently punctuated version:

 

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men I yearn. For you I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart, I can be forever happy.

 

Will you let me be!

Yours,

Gloria

 

Not only is the meaning of the text different, but the meaning and intent of the letter is really just the opposite of the previous text. The meaning has been completely changed simply by altering the punctuation.

I hope this exercise gives you a little sense of what confronts paleographers (“those who study ancient handwritingt”) and the other readers of ancient Hebrew biblical manuscripts. Now, lest we get upset that the biblical text could be subject to such widely disparate interpretations, depending on who edits the punctuation or adds the vowels, let’s remember that most of the texts of the Old Testament were already very well known and widely memorized by many ancient students of the Old Testament. So most ancient readers of the Bible already knew what the texts of the biblical books said. For many ancient readers, the letters on the parchment or papyrus were simply mnemonic devices, that is, aids to their memory. These readers had little difficulty correctly reading and understanding the ancient page. 

It’s also important to note that the very important word breaks of the biblical texts were not inserted, for the most part, until around the fifteenth century with the advent of the printing press. These first printed Bibles and all of the others up to this day all have their roots in the ancient Hebrew and Greek hand-copied texts.

 

February 26, 2020

What Is Lent?

We cannot celebrate Easter fully if we have not taken the time to prepare for the celebration. We cannot be restored if we have not taken the time to identify the ways in which we are broken. By the second century Christians were preparing for the Easter celebration with a two-day (forty-hour) fast. No one within the community was to take food or water during the hours that Christ was in the tomb. Also, during the same time, Lent developed as a forty-day period of preparation for those who were to be baptized at Easter. Catechumens were to fast with just one meal per day for forty days in imitation of the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness.

This fast was seen as having several purposes. First, people believed that fasting gave fervor to prayers, strengthened them to fight against evil and helped prepare them for the reception of the Holy Spirit. Second, fasting allowed one to give money to the poor that would otherwise be used for food. For many fasting was a response of love. The rest of the Church participated in the fast as a way of supporting the catechumens and as a way doing penance for their sins and recommitting themselves to their own baptism.

In some parts of the early Church Lent—the word means “springtime”—was the appropriate time for those guilty of serious sin to complete their process of reconciliation. At the beginning of Lent those who were called penitents would put on special garments. They would be sprinkled with ashes and then be solemnly expelled from the Church. They would not be able to participate in the prayers of the faithful or the Eucharist until they were solemnly reconciled with the Church on Holy Thursday.

The Lenten season originally began on the sixth Sunday before Easter and ended with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. Because there was no fasting on Sundays, the Church of the fifth century decided that six more days should be added to Lent in order to have forty fast days. To accomplish this, Good Friday and Holy Saturday were separated from the Easter Triduum and added to Lent and the four days preceding the sixth Sunday before Easter were also added. Thus Ash Wednesday was born as the first day of the season of penance. When the practice of expelling serious sinners at the beginning of Lent and restoring them to the Church at the end of Lent faded out of existence at the end of the first millennium, the practice of sprinkling ashes was retained for all the faithful.

Today, Lent is seen as a time of conversion with a threefold emphasis on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We seek a greater openness to the word of God, a more complete participation in the liturgy, and a stronger commitment to works of charity (almsgiving). Our practice of fasting (not eating) and abstinence (giving up certain foods or behaviors) is designed to turn our hearts to God and remind us of the plight of those who are hungry. During Lent we abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, on every Friday including Good Friday. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday we also fast between meals. Today’s Lenten season extends from Ash Wednesday to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. It is forty-four days long if Sundays are included and thirty-eight days if they are not.

 

Assignment

A common modern practice during Lent is for Catholics to substitute a meal of soup and bread or other simple items on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent. Then, the difference in cost between what is usually spent on meals for these days is donated to the poor. Describe other communal or individual penitential acts you are aware of for Lent.

February 10, 2020

Supporting National Marriage Week

February 1 to 14 is National Marriage Week.

Share with your students three graces of married life and what they think each grace means. (See pages 122-123 of Your Christian Vocation for more information.):

  1. Married couples are given the grace to love each other unselfishly.
  2. Married couples are given the grace to strengthen their unity and the indissoluble bond they have made with one another.
  3. Married couples are given the grace to lead each other to holiness.

Then take the students through the following activity:

Write each of the following questions, focused on the graces of the Sacrament of Matrimony, at the top of a sheet of butcher paper, leaving room for students to write responses under the question (if your class has more than twenty students, you may wish to make a duplicate set of questions on butcher paper, so that you can divide the class into six groups rather than three):

  • How can a married couple perfect their love?
  • How can a married couple strengthen their unity?
  • How can a married couple grow in holiness?

Hang the butcher paper on the walls around your classroom. Organize the class into three groups, giving each group a different colored marker. Send each group to one of the three stations, where they will stay for approximately three minutes, writing responses to the question on the paper. Encourage them to be concrete and specific. After three minutes, have the groups move to the next station. Repeat this process once more. Then allow an additional three to five minutes for the groups to revisit all the stations, writing comments and questions on their classmates’ responses. The different colored markers will enable you to track which responses, comments, and questions came from which group.

Reconvene the class back at their desks. Pose the following questions for discussion:

  • Which of these questions was easiest to answer?
  • Which was most challenging?
  • What is the most interesting response from another group that you saw on any of the papers?

Remind the students that the three stations correspond to the three graces of married life. In and through the sacrament of their marriage, God gives couples the grace to perfect their love, to strengthen their unity, and to grow in holiness. Explain that these three tasks overlap and are interwoven in the daily fabric of married life. Conclude by asking each student to write a prayer for married couples based on the day’s lesson.

February 3, 2020

What Does It Mean to be a Black Catholic?

At the beginning of Black History Month in the United States, spend some time focusing on the experience of black Catholics in the United States. Use information on African American Catholics provided by the United States Catholic Bishops to present an overview of the African American Church in America.

Also share information on Franciscan sister Thea Bowman (1937-1990), whose cause for canonization has been opened.

Play the 35 minute video of Sr. Thea’s address to the US Catholic bishops from 1989. At the conclusion of the video have the students write a short four to five page essay that answers the question “What Does It Mean to be a Black Catholic.”  

January 27, 2020

Kobe Bryant and the Importance of Going to Mass

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant (1978—2019) and eight other people, including his thirteen-year-old daughter Gianna, were killed on Sunday, January 26, in a helicopter crash in Southern California. They were on their way to a youth basketball game. Kobe was the coach, his daughter was a player.

The Bryant family members are practicing Catholics. Kobe attended 7 AM Mass at Our Lady Queen of Angels in Newport Beach prior to boarding the plane. Attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion was one of the last things he did in his life.

Take some time to reiterate the necessity of attending Sunday Mass. Remind the students of some of these reasons and have them suggest others:

  • Going to Mass helps to fulfill the Third Commandment.
  • As a member of the Church, it’s important to obey its laws.
  • It is sinful to deliberately miss Sunday Mass.
  • There is no greater grace than to receive Jesus in Holy Communion.
  • Mass is a foretaste of heaven.
  • The Church misses my presence when I am absent from Mass.
  • Jesus asked us to go to Mass to remember him.
  • Going to Mass is a good example to my peers and younger siblings.
  • Mass participation helps me to fulfill my baptismal promises.

Also discuss some excuses students may give for missing Mass:

  • My family doesn’t go to Mass.
  • Sunday is my only day to sleep in.
  • I have to work on Sunday.
  • I catch up on homework on Sunday.
  • I don’t have a ride to Mass.
  • There are very few my own age at Mass.
  • I have a basketball (or other sport) game on Sunday.

Conclude bymaking copies of an article about Kobe Bryant and his Catholic faith and assign it for reading.

Requiescat in pace

Kobe Bryant

Gianna Bryant

John Altobelli

Keri Altobelli

Alyssa Altobelli

Christina Mauser

Sarah Chester

Payton Chester

Ara Zobayan

 

  

January 20, 2020

Personal Pro-Life Actions

In support of this year’s March for Life, have the students explore the website and look for ways they can participate in this effort throughout the year from wherever they are.

Also, have the students consider some of these pro-life actions they can incorporate into their own lives. Write examples like these on the board. Have the students suggest more to add to the list:

  • Respect your own life. Eat the right foods. Get proper rest. Exercise. Avoid harmful substances.
  • Respect the dignity of others. Treat all people fairly.
  • Remove prejudicial feelings from your life.
  • Share your resources with the book.
  • Drive carefully. Do not text while driving.
  • Learn pro-life responses to pro-abortion arguments.
  • Support the unborn by writing letters to legislators, government officials, and the media, or by participating in pro-life rallies.
  • Support health care initiatives for poor women and children.
  • Show extra care for the disabled and those with special needs.
  • Speak out against euthanasia. Help those who are sick and elderly to offer their suffering to Jesus.
  • Visit the sick and elderly. Help to care even more for their spiritual and physical needs.
  • Pray.

 

January 9, 2020

New Vocations Text from Ave Maria Press

Just released this week, Your Christian Vocation is a new textbook from Ave Maria Press that supports a high-school course on all Christian vocations and states of life, including marriage, holy orders, consecrated life, and committed single life.

Please contact Bob Wieneke to receive a complimentary sample copy of Your Christian Vocations for your Catholic high school.

One of the hallmark's of Ave Maria Press textbooks in the Encountering Jesus series is a variety of teacher support materials. Included here are three approaches for coverage of the issue of homosexuality as it appears in Chapter 5 on marriage. Care is taken in presenting authentic Church teaching in a pastoral way geared especially for teenagers.

Teaching Approach 1

Explore material from Life Teen that presents Church teaching on homosexuality in a youth-friendly manner. Organize your class into three groups, and assign each group one of the following articles from the Life Teen website:

Note: All Life Teen materials support the teachings of the Catholic Church.

First, give students about ten minutes to read their assigned articles quietly and individually. Taking notes is advisable. Then have the students meet with those who read the same article (if the three groups are too large to be productive, they may subdivide into two smaller groups). They are to compare notes, discuss, and compose questions to bring to the large group.

Reconvening the class together, have student volunteers summarize the contents of each article. Then invite students to pose questions about the articles. You may wish to begin with basic, factual questions that give you the opportunity to clarify Church teaching as needed. Then move to deeper, more philosophical, and/or discussion-oriented questions. If time does not permit you to address every question, keep a list (perhaps on your board) of questions to address in a subsequent class session. For homework, direct students to write a one-paragraph reflection sharing their thoughts, feelings, and reactions regarding the content of today’s lesson.

Teaching Approach 2

View and discuss the film Desire of the Everlasting Hills. Produced by Courage International, this 2014 documentary examines the lives of two men and one woman who acted on their homosexual attractions in the past and are now living the Church’s message of chastity. The film is available to stream online at https://everlastinghills.org/movie; a DVD is also available for purchase.

Taking into account the film’s length (1:03:05), determine how best to show it to your students while also allowing adequate time for discussion. With a long-block schedule, you could view and discuss the film in one class session. With a traditional schedule, you will need two class periods to watch the whole film and discuss it. If your class time is very limited, you could preview the film and select excerpts that you wish to show your students.

An extensive study guide for the film is available at https://everlastinghills.org/study-guide. You may wish to select questions from this guide that seem compelling for discussion with your students; perhaps select an additional question to which students respond in writing for homework.

Teaching Approach 3

Engage your students in an honest, open, respectful conversation about homosexuality. Homosexuality, including the Church’s teaching regarding it, is a controversial and sensitive topic. Your students would likely greatly appreciate the opportunity to discuss this topic in an open manner. Hopefully, in your course for several months, they have developed a degree of trust in one another, so that such a conversation can occur in an atmosphere that respects both Church teaching and the dignity of every student. In order for this discussion not to devolve into a debate or, worse, an argument, careful preparation is essential.

First, direct students to review this section of the Student Text and to write two lists:

  • points that they understand and that make sense to them
  • points that they are struggling to understand, find confusing, or find troubling

Then have the students exchange their lists with a partner and engage in a brief discussion, noting similarities and differences in their lists.

Drawing the class back together, facilitate a large-group discussion, beginning with the points that the students understand (be sure to acknowledge and affirm these) and moving on to the points with which they struggle. Allow students to share their honest perspectives and questions, but be sure to moderate the discussion well, lest it become a free-for-all.

One discussion in one class session is unlikely to answer every student’s questions or to bring every student complete clarity. However, all students—especially those whose views regarding homosexuality are evolving and/or who struggle to understand the Church’s perspective—can benefit from the opportunity to voice their concerns and pose their questions freely and without fear. They may ultimately be more open to the Church’s teaching if they can approach it critically and thoughtfully, rather than feeling that it is being “forced” upon them.

 

December 31, 2019

Prayer for the Second Semester

Welcome back to school! Consider using this prayer (from the Diocese of Orange) as a prayer to recite each day or once a week in class.

 

We pray that we will come to know and love Jesus Christ in a personal way.

 

We pray that we will grow in maturity as missionary disciples of Christ.

 

We pray that we will become actively engaged in the mission of the Church, joyfully using our gifts to share the Good News, building up the Kingdom of God.

 

Amen.

December 17, 2019

New Text: Your Christian Vocation! New Chapter Assignments!

Chapter Assignments in the Encountering Jesus series are a popular feature! Students are given the choice of three assignments at the beginning of the study of a chapter with the expectation they will be able to complete the assignment within eight to ten days, prior to the time of the chapter assessment. Projects vary by type and learning styles. Each comes with a grading rubric.Listed below are three assignments from Chapter 5, "Challenges to Marriage and Family Life" in a new textbook Your Christian Vocation available now at the Ave Maria Press website.Also, don't forget to signup and use all of the classroom resources for this new text.

1. Research and Report

  • Choose one of the following topics, and research relevant information to supporting its position:
  • Married couples who follow the teachings of Humanae Vitae have happier and more satisfying marriages.
  • The benefits and blessings of a large family strongly outweigh its challenges.
  • Because of Christ and the founding of the Church, women are given more esteem and value in married life than ever before.
  • Divorced Catholics have served the Church well in ministry.

Write a five-hundred-word position paper supporting one of these positions. Cite specific evidence and examples to support your claims.

2. Novena for Married Couples

  • Create a novena for of married couples. Novena comes from the Latin word for “nine”; it is a prayer that takes place over nine days. Use the following sample day as your template for designing the remaining eight days of your “Novena for Married Couples”:

Day 1

  • Copy a Scripture reflection on marriage.

Home and possessions are an inheritance from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord (Prv 19:14).

  • Write a two-sentence reflection on the passage.

Common sense, wisdom, and prudence are marks of family life. Domestic happiness depends on these gifts that spouses share with one another much more than on any material possessions that they might acquire.

  • Choose and name a married saint. Write a prayer to this saint on behalf of healthy marriages.

St. Monica (332–387)

St. Monica, you suffered through the debilitating effects of emotional abuse in your marriage, only to witness the conversions of your husband and your son, St. Augustine. Pray for married couples to persevere in faith that they too might be unified in seeking the Lord. We ask this in Christ’s name. Amen.

3. Finding Solutions to the Challenges of Married Life

  • Interview seven to ten married people (individually, not as couples). Ask each person to name four of the greatest challenges married couples face in today’s culture. Create a chart or graphic organizer to list each of the challenges they name. In an accompanying column or space, offer your own comments (at least two paragraphs per comment) on the challenges mentioned and on possible solutions in light of the Church’s teaching on marriage you learned in Chapters 3, 4, and 5.

December 6, 2019

Marian Assignments

In celebration of two December Marian feasts (the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe), listed below are seven assignment ideas.

 1.  Create a visual presentation on how the Blessed Mother has been portrayed in art through the ages. Include at least twenty pictures in your presentation.

2.  Research and report on one of the famous apparitions of Mary. Examples include Guadalupe, Lourdes, or Fatima..

3.  Write your own Litany to the Blessed Mother. For inspiration, refer to several popular litanies.

  • Litany of Loreto:
  • Litany of Mary of Nazareth
  • Litany of Our Lady of Lourdes:

4.  Research and report on Mary as the first disciple. See, for example, "Mary, the First Disciple."

5.  Create a booklet with pictures to illustrate any ten mysteries of the Rosary.

6.   Research and report on five feast days of the Blessed Mother.

7.  Read paragraphs 40–42, the Conclusion of Pope Benedict XVI’s Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love). Report on five interesting things he says about the Blessed Mother. Locate articles about the encyclical by conducting an Internet search of the English or Latin title.

 

November 22, 2019

Traditional Prayer Forms in Scripture

Directions: There are six traditional forms of prayer that can be prayed spontaneously or formally. Each type of prayer has examples in Scripture. Review the definition of each prayer form. Then use the information to see you can identify the prayer form in each Scripture passage. Some of the passages may include more than one form. In honor of Thanksgiving, one passage is listed in full below:

 

We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen.

                                                                                     —1 Thessalonians 1:2-4

 

  1. Blessing is the basic movement of Christian prayer. You bless God for having blessed you.

 

  1. Psalm 107:1
  1. Prayer of adoration is a basic response to God, your acknowledgment that God is Creator.

 

  1. Psalm 144:1–5
  1. Prayers of petition are prayers of asking: for forgiveness and for all the things you need.

 

  1. 1 Timothy 2:1–4
  1. Intercessions are prayers of petition in which you ask for things on behalf of others.

 

  1. 1 John 5:14–15
  1. Prayers of thanksgiving are expressions of gratitude to God for every good thing.
  1. 1 Peter 1:3–5
  1. Praise is the form of prayer that gives glory to God for his own sake.

 

  1. Luke 18:1–5

 

  1. Ephesians 1:3–14

 

  1. 1 Corinthians 8:6

 

  1. 1 Thessalonians 1:2–4

 

  1. Colossians 1:9–12

 

November 12, 2019

40 Day Fast for Catholic Education

Please consider this important initiative from Justin McClain, Catholic author and Theology teacher at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Maryland.

November 4, 2019

Can Your Students Solve This Puzzle?

One of our authors recently submitted a puzzle to go in the appendix of a new edition of The Old Testament: Our Call to Faith and Justice, due for release in the summer of 2020. However, we are having trouble solving the puzzle.

Maybe you and your students can give it a crack. The first winner to email me all of the correct steps  (mamodei@nd.edu) will win a $25 gift certificate from Ave Maria Press.

Puzzle

See home many steps it takes you to change from M-O-S-E-S to J-E-S-U-S by changing only one letter at a time. The catch is that you must create a new word each time you change a letter (e.g., MOSES to ROSES).

Remember, you must send ALL the correct steps!

Hope you have better luck than we have had here!

 

The puzzle was solve by several students and teachers! The winner is Here’s a solution from Andy C, a 10th grader at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, MN via his teacher Melissa Bauer. Thanks to all!

 

October 31, 2019

Tour of Sacred Places

Lead your students on a guided tour of several places in and around a church, chapel, and/or school that have sacred importance to the prayer life of your community.

Examples

The altar (and altar relic). Explain that the altar of a church should be located in a central space where it attracts the focus of prayer. Explain the traditional association between martyrs and saints and Catholic altars. For many years it was required that the relics of a saint or martyr be placed in the altar stone. If the altar at your church or chapel has a relic tell something about it and show where it is placed.

A grotto or statue of the Blessed Mother. Tell its history and note its dedication plaque. Also, explain that older churches have side altars since more than one Mass were often celebrated at the same time.

The statue of the church or school’s patron. Prepare a short biography of the person to share when the group has gathered near the statue.

The bell tower. Recall the traditional ringing of the bells three times a day to announce the Angelus. Explain and share the Angelus prayer. If your school or church does have a bell tower, consider having the students climb into the loft.

A news rack in the foyer of the church or school. Point out the various types of spiritual readings included and any other prayer cards. Also, show announcements for forming prayer groups like Scripture students and the like.

The Blessed Sacrament. Pause and kneel with the group before the Blessed Sacrament. Point out the sanctuary lights, indicating Christ’s presence. Explain something of the history and practice of Benediction, a short ceremony from the fifteenth century in which the Eucharist, in the form of a large consecrated host, is venerated.

October 17, 2019

Pray the Rosary with Baseball Legend Vin Scully

With the World Series being played this month, take a bit of class time to share something of the life of Vin Scully, the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodger announcer for 67 years, from 1950 to 2016. Vin is noted for several great calls in World Series history, including:

Vin is also a devout Catholic. After sharing something of Vin’s life, pray a decade of the Rosary led by Vin Scully who has recorded his recitation of the Rosary in connection with Immaculate Heart Radio.October is the month of the Rosary.

October 1, 2019

Emoji Good News

 

 

 

 

Provide copies of the following material for each student.

Directions: Pretend you are transmitting the Good News of Jesus’ Resurrection to a friend via electronic or social media. Use emojis to express emotions described by the people in the following passage. Then write two more sentences adding your personal message to your friend about Jesus’ resurrection. Use emojis in these new sentences too.

 

But at daybreak on the first day of the week they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.        They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.        While they were puzzling over this, behold two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.        They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.        They said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?        He is not here, but he has been raised.        Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day.        And they remembered his words.        Then they returned from the tomb and announced all these things to the eleven and to all the others.

                                                                                             −Luke 24:1-0

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