Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

Posts for Lent

Guided Meditation: Temptation in the Desert

February 17, 2017

Lead this guided meditation with your students at the beginning of Lent. It is based on the temptation of Jesus in the desert from Matthew 4:1-11 from Time with Jesus by Thomas F. Catucci. Quiet the students. Choose some instrumental background music as needed. Begin the reading. Pause briefly at every ellipse. Pause a bit longer at each line break. Pause a bit longer than that at each paragraph break.

The Poor Box: Prayer for the Poor

March 07, 2016

A sweet and simple way to encourage your students to think of the poor of the world.

Guided Meditation: The Prayer in the Garden

March 30, 2015

We struggle to remain “awake” and alert at the time of Jesus’ agony. In that agony we discover our ability, because of God’s gift, to minister to the disciples and to Jesus. We then become empowered to minister to others in our lives

Witness of Christian Martrys

March 24, 2015

As Holy Week approaches for 2015, the Passion of Christ is more present in our midst than ever. Around the world, Christians have been martyred in recent months, weeks, and days. Share several articles that detail news coverage of the events, prayers offered on the martyrs' behalf, and prayers for all persecuted Christians.

Teacher-led Discussions on Two March Saints: St. Patrick (March 17) and St. Joseph (March 19)

March 05, 2015

The liturgical calendar for March features the feast days of two inspirational heroes: St. Patrick (March 17) and St. Joseph (March 19). These two holy men essentially lived for Christ and, pursuant to their respective spiritual gifts, had an especially heroic devotion to the Lord. There are various opportunities to bring knowledge of these saints into your classroom, particularly in terms of using what we know about their lives as a means of facilitating student discussions on their commitment to Christ.

Four Ways for Your Students to Survive and Thrive in Lent

February 25, 2015

The academic third quarter, for both students and teachers alike, tends to have the notorious distinction of being one of the most challenging, both mentally and academically, of the four quarters of the school year. With half of the school year behind us, both mental energy and physical energy can be at a minimum. It is an interesting situation that, in Catholic high schools, the mental trial that comprises the third academic quarter and the spiritual desert that comprises the Lenten season have some semblance of overlap.

Giving Up Indifference for Lent

February 12, 2015

This Lent, Pope Francis invites people to stop being indifferent. A dictionary defines difference as “showing a lack of interest or concern.” Ask your students how that definition resonates in their own experiences, especially among peers.

Prayer Reflection: The Seven Last Words of Christ

April 14, 2014

Seven Gospel passages of Jesus' words on the Cross are known as the "seven last words of Christ." You may wish to use these passages for prayer and reflection during Holy Week. Have the students write both the passage and a response to the question that follows in their journals.

Recalling the Events of Jesus' Passion

April 07, 2014

This exercise for students will help encourage discussion and rememberance surrounding the Passion events of Christ's death.

Prayer Experience: Royal Treatment

March 21, 2014

The first reading of the Fourth Sunday of Lent shares the anointing of King David, Israel's greatest king, by the prophet Samuel. In that spirit, share the following prayer experience with your students to remind them of their own royal qualities.

Scripture Reading: Jesus Is Tempted

March 06, 2014

There were no eyewitness to Jesus' temptation in the desert. The Gospel of Mark simply records that Satan tempted Jesus. Luke and Matthew report on the nature of Jesus' three tests, though they disagree on the order. These readings will encourage discussion about Jesus' temptation, as well as the temptations we face in our own lives.

40 Things to Give Up for Lent

February 24, 2014

Your students likely know that Lent is a time of fasting and doing penance, but do they know why? The forty days of fasting and penance are in imitation of the forty days Jesus spent in the desert prior to the beginning of his ministry. Here, we suggest 40 things that your students may choose to give up for Lent.

Guided Meditation: The Woman Caught in Adultery

March 11, 2013

"Who are you to throw the first stone?" The Gospel for the Fifth Sunday of Lent asks us this gripping question. This guided meditation will prepare your students to hear God's word and consider the moral dilemma Jesus faces in the reading.

Teaching with Pope Benedict XVI's Message for Lent 2013

February 19, 2013

Before announcing his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI released his message for Lent 2013: "Believing in charity calls forth charity." Each year, the Holy Father shares some thoughts to focus the Church on certain virtues and practices during Lent. This year, in honor of the Year of Faith, the he invites us all to meditate on the relationship between faith and charity. 

Five Opportunities for Evangelization During Lent

February 08, 2013

During the season of Lent, Catholics visibly practice their faith in unique ways that can catch the attention of non-Catholics. These practices then become opportunities for evangelization. Students should be ready to explain why they do what they do during Lent for their own sakes and for the sakes of those who want to learn about Catholicism.

What Are We Giving Up This Lent? What about Distractions?

February 24, 2012

With their busy lives, teens have no shortage of distractions. You know the list: Twitter, Facebook, texting, not to mention drama with classmates, parents, and employers, along with stress from tests, sports, and work. There is no way teens can give up all of those distractions during Lent, but even trying to limit a few would be helpful. Ask questions like the ones below to help your students to consider ways to to that.

Activities to Help Students Prepare for Lent

February 01, 2012

The season of Lent always come so fast! Before we can really get the Christmas season out of our minds, it's time to begin our Lenten fasts.

We're probably all a little guilty of waiting to the last minute to declare our Lenten commitments for the year. Prepare your students for Ash Wednesday by getting them to think about their Lenten commitments ahead of time.

Stations of the Cross PowerPoint Prayer Reflection

April 15, 2011

PowerPoint can be a powerful tool for creating prayer reflections. Below you will find a sample Stations of the Cross PowerPoint prayer reflection and template that you can use to create your own Stations of the Cross PowerPoint. This could be something you create as a teacher or something you have your students use to create their own prayer services.

Guided Meditation: Peter Denies Jesus

April 12, 2011

Use this reflection to bring your students near to the fire—figuratively and literally—listening to accusations and denials. Allow them to enter into the dialogue. Pause longer on the italic lines. Say:_

Ash Wednesday Prayer Service for High School

March 03, 2011

The following Ash Wednesday prayer service is suitable for teachers to use in their classrooms, as an all-school assembly, or in a youth group setting.

Guided Meditation: Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet

March 29, 2010

Witness and participate in Jesus' ultimate example of service for his deciples with your students by sharing this guided meditation.

Guided Meditation: The Parable of the Prodigal Son

March 01, 2010

This meditation places your students in the scene of Jesus' famous Prodigal Son parable (Luke 15:11–32), the Gospel reading for the fourth Sunday of Lent.

Ash Wednesday Journal Reflection

February 11, 2010

For Ash Wednesday, share the following journal reflection on the Temptation of Jesus from Luke 4:1–13.

Scriptural Way of the Cross for Teens

March 30, 2009

Have the students work in pairs to pray this Scriptural Way of the Cross.

Guided Meditation: Anointing at Bethany

March 25, 2009

Share this guided meditation from Mark 14:3-9 of Jesus' anointing by a woman at Bethany (from Encountering Jesus ) by Patty McCulloch.

Guided Meditation: The Transfiguration

March 06, 2009

Share this guided meditation on the Transfiguration from Touching Jesus by Patty McCulloch.

Exploring God's Grandeur

February 25, 2009

In the beginning of the Lenten springtime encourage your students to reflect on the classic poem of Jesuit Father Gerard Manley Hopkins, "God's Grandeur."

Background Information on Lent

February 19, 2009

As Ash Wednesday approaches, share some information on the origins and practices of Lent.

Why Do They Call it Good Friday?

March 19, 2008

This day that is outwardly dark and dismal actually commemorates Christ's greatest gift to us.

Stations of the Cross: Student Meditations

March 17, 2008

Although the Stations of the Cross has diminished as a devotion in recent decades, it remains a Lenten practice that many people still find very meaningful and powerful.

On-Line Almsgiving?

March 13, 2008

Check this out and consider recommending a brand new website where your students can donate free rice to the hungry while playing an interesting and educational vocabulary game.

Our Ancestors of Faith

March 11, 2008

Consider this activity to help the students recall their own Baptism and their own faith ancestors.

Laetare Sunday

February 25, 2008

The Church can hardly contain its joy on Laetare Sunday.

Jesus' Plea for Peace

February 22, 2008

The following prayer activity on the theme of justice and peace is taken from Activities for Catholic Social Teachingby James McGinnis.

Ash Wednesday “Kicks off” Lent

February 04, 2008

Just three days after “Super Bowl Sunday,” on February 6, the Christian world tunes in for another kind of “kick-off.” Ash Wednesday “kicks off” Lent.

Stations of the Cross

March 28, 2007

Certainly, it would be good to pray the stations with your students, perhaps in the school chapel or even outside, weather permittingAs a class project, students can compose the reflections, perhaps following the lead from some the websites listed here:

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