Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

April 21, 2014

St. John Paul II: A Five-Day Mini Unit

As part of the celebration of the canonizations of Pope John Paul II (and Pope John XXIII), Ave Maria Press is offering St. John Paul II: A Five-Day Mini Unit, a supplementary resource designed to celebrate the life of Karol Wotyla, the beloved pope whose nearly twenty-seven year papacy that transitioned the world from the twentieth to twenty-first century. More information on ordering this timely resource can be found here.

The mini-unit includes five 50-minute lesson plans. The lessons include suggestions for the viewing of short films, readings, and discussions around the life of St. John Paul II. The 5-Day Mini Unit is most appropriate as a series of ancillary lessons that are part of any theology course in a Catholic high school setting. St. John Paul II: A Five-Day Mini Unit is also adaptable to parish youth ministry.

The basic lesson plan for each of the five days is organized around:

· An opening discussion

· An opportunity for a teacher-led presentation and/or class reading on the main topic

· Short video presentations that support the topic

· A handout synopsis of the material

St. John Paul II Mini Unit Overview

The scope and sequence of the St. John Paul II: A Five-Day Mini Unit is as follows:

Day 1: What Makes a Saint?

This lesson provides an introduction to the mini-unit and a synopsis of the Church’s canonization process. It focuses on the canonization of St. John Paul II, including two miracles credited to his intercession. It addresses the virtue of Christian holiness. Note: Time is reserved in the Day 1 lesson for the students to choose or be assigned one of three assignments that will be due on Day 5.

Day 2: The Early Life of St. John Paul II

This lessons explores some key events in the life of Karol Wotyla and, in reflection, examines the signs of holiness that mark the early years of his saintly life.

Day 3: The Papacy of St. John Paul II

The papacy of St. John Paul II was known for miles traveled, examples of prayer and forgiveness, taking a pivotal role in the fall communism, and special attention to the youth of the world. Several suggested videos help to support these main ideas.

Day 4: The Teachings of St. John Paul II

This lesson presents a sampling of some of the main teachings themes of St. John Paul II's papacy, including the centrality of Christ, the value and dignity of the human person, the Church as sacrament of salvation, and the universal call to holiness, the mark of sainthood. Students read and share samples of St. John Paul II’s writings as part of this lesson.

Day 5: Topic Review, Assessment, and Application

In the final lesson, there is opportunity for the students to share the results of their completed assignments, to review and recall information on the life, papacy, and teachings of St. John Paul II, and to name ways to apply the virtue of holiness to their own lives.

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