Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

March 28, 2008

Student Panel Discussion on the Sacraments

Here's a way to deepen your students' understanding of the Sacraments of Healing and Sacraments at the Service of Communion. Hold a panel discussion with your students to look into ways in which they have experienced or been touched by these sacraments, particularly as they related to dealing with the suffering or experiencing the witness of those who are married or ordained.

Choose four or five students to form the first panel. Ask for volunteers who have had a memorable experience of the Sacrament of Penance. Use the questions below for Penance to get the discussion started. Ask the rest of the class in the "audience" to ask respectful follow-up questions or to initiate new lines of questioning. After a few minutes, ask each panel member to choose someone from the audience who has been present for the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, either as a receipient or as a witness, to replace himself or herself on the panel. Continue with more questions from below. Change panels in the same way and move on to questions about Marriage and Holy Orders. For these panesl you need students who have personal relationships with those living out the sacraments—i.e., parents who are living out the marriage commitment or friendship with a priest as part of being in a parish.

Panel Discussion Questions

ß Do you receive this sacrament regularly? If so, how often? And, why?
ß Have you ever attended a communal reconciliation service before making an individual confession? Is this usually the way you receive the sacrament?
ß What are your feelings, usually, before you receive this sacrament?
ß What do you do to prepare yourself to receive this sacrament?
ß Can you think of a particularly good experience of this sacrament that you have had? What made it especially good?
ß How do you usually feel after receiving this sacrament?
ß What was the most unusual/memorable penance you were ever given? What did you learn from doing it?

Anointing of the Sick
ß Have you received this sacrament yourself? When and why?
ß Were you ever present when another person received the sacrament? Who and why?
ß What do you particularly remember about the sacrament? What made an impression on you?
ß Was the person who received the sacrament comforted by it? In what way?
ß Were the family and friends comforted?
ß Do you think that the person who received the sacrament was healed or helped in any way? Why do you feel this way?
ß If you were ever seriously ill, would you like to receive this sacrament? Why?

ß Do you know a couple whose marriage you would describe as sacramental—that is, blessed by God and a sign to others of God’s love?
ß What is special about their relationship?
ß Share some ways this couple shows their love for each other. How do they show love to those around them?
ß How do they serve others? Does their marriage help them to be of service to others in ways that you can see?
ß What have you learned from the example of their marriage?
ß What qualities in their marriage would you like to be present in your own marriage if you ever marry?

Holy Orders
ß Do you know any priests on a personal level—a family member? A family friend? Someone you have worked with or for?
ß Have you ever spoken with them about their call to the priesthood?
ß What do they enjoy most about being a priest?
ß What have they taught you about priests and the life of a priest?
ß Has their life or work been a sign for you (or for others you know) of God’s presence in the world? How?
ß If you were ever to be a priest, what qualities that you see in them would you hope to have?
ß Have you ever attended an ordination? What do you remember about it?

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