Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

September 1, 2010

Teaching with the Early Church Fathers

The early Church Fathers, also known as the Patristic writers, are foundational to the Church’s Tradition. Their writings were integral to the development of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and continue to inspire teachers and theologians in their work.

Living during times when the Church was still defining itself, the Church Fathers were guides to the one true faith. Many of them wrote apologetic pieces in response to heresies that developed in the first few centuries of the Church. St. Irenaeus, St. Jerome, and St. Athanasius are prime examples of the apologetic fervor of the Church Fathers.

Many teachers like to use Patristic “sound bytes” in lectures and lessons. Try using these websites as resources:

Church Fathers Quotes organized by person:
EWTN: www.ewtn.com/library/SCRIPTUR/TRAD.TXT

Topical Organization of Church Fathers Quotes:
Stay Catholic.com: www.staycatholic.com/early_church_fathers.htm
Catholic Answers: www.catholic.com/library/faith_tracts.asp
Catholic Bible 101: www.catholicbible101.com/quotesfromthesaints.htm (some quotes are from non-Patristic saints)

Or, if you have some time, try reading some of the great works of the early Church Fathers. It is likely to be well-worth your time and some great inspiration for the lessons you are preparing.

Website Collections of the Church Fathers Writings:
New Advent: www.newadvent.org/fathers/
Christian Classics Eternal Library: www.ccel.org/fathers.html
Early Christian Writings: www.earlychristianwritings.com
Monachos.net: www.monachos.net/content/patristics/patristictexts
Catholic Culture: www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/fathers/ 

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