January 14, 2019
Check resources for Pro-Life activities from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
January 14, 2019
Check resources for Pro-Life activities from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
January 4, 2019
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.
December 28, 2018
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).
Several study questions are available online.
December 3, 2018
Listed below are several Christmas quotations (gathered from Catholic Online). You might have your students do one or more of the following:
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.
The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart.
There is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, and that is, keeping Christmas.
"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air."
Do give books - religious or otherwise - for Christmas. They're never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.
May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope; the spirit of Christmas which is peace; the heart of Christmas which is love.
We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
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.
November 15, 2018
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
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.
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:
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:
October 31, 2018
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)
October 15, 2018
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.
October 5, 2018
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.
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
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.
September 12, 2018
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
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.
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.
Have the students answer these questions in writing:
August 15, 2018
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
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.
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:
July 16, 2018
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
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.
June 25, 2018
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
"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.
May 22, 2018
Ask your students: What factors help them to feel at home in a parish community? Put the students into small groups in order to help them identify more specifically what helps them feel at home or would help them feel at home in a parish. Write these prompts on the board for them to think about. (Not every group needs to address every question.)
After students have spent time in small groups, ask them to identify welcoming attributes for a parish, and see how much the groups have in common. Challenge the students to bring some of these ideas to a staff member at their parish and to report back in writing on what happened in response.
May 11, 2018
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.
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:
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
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.
© 2019 Ave Maria Press