Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

Posts for New Testament

Thinking about the Beatitudes

September 19, 2016

For any lesson you are doing on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-11), you may wish to combine this discussion activity that helps students think about how the Beatitudes apply to their own lives.

Guided Meditation: Jesus Calms the Storm

November 16, 2015

As the weather turns from mild to severe, use this guided meditation to help your students reflect more deeply on Mark 4:35-31, in which Jesus calms a turbulent sea.

Faith Questions and the Letters of St. Paul

November 09, 2015

After St. Paul traveled the Roman empire as a missionary, converting many Gentiles to Christianity and establishing local churches, he would later be confronted by these new Christians with questions of faith and practice. Since he could not return to these areas right away, Paul would respond by letter. The letters addressed many of the issues of the early Church—for example, the second coming of Christ (Parousia), divisions in the Church, attitudes for worship—and others.

Working with Bible Study Aids

July 14, 2014

Your school may be embarking on Elective Course A, Sacred Scripture, of the USCCB Doctrinal Framework. Even if you are not, Scripture study plays prominently in each of your school's required and elective courses. Correspondingly, making sure students are familiar with Bible study aids (e.g., Bible dictionaries, one-volume Bible commentaries, and Bible concordances) is an essential prerequisite for this task. Use the following exercise to introduces students to these tools.

Guided Meditation on Our Baptisms

September 16, 2013

The purpose of this meditation is to help your students realize the effect that baptism has had within them. Our baptisms make no sense unless accompanied by the realization of the love that we unknowingly experienced as infants. Our parents and godparents love and care for us. They wanted what was best for us. More importantly, at Baptism we experienced for the first time a sacramental expression of God's infinite love for us as his children. Through Baptism we become God's adoptive sons and daughters. We become a part of the body of Christ, God's own Son.

Bible Basics for Teens

November 19, 2012

Earlier this year we had the honor of publishing an excellent introduction to the Bible by Franciscan University professor John Bergsma called Bible Basics for Catholics: A New Picture of Salvation History. Dr. Bergsma, who is a colleague of Dr. Scott Hahn, is known for his fun and creative drawings that illustrate the deep meaning behind the Old Testament biblical texts. He has a unique approach to teaching the Old Testament that all religion teachers can learn from and teens will surely enjoy.

Jesus Welcomes All People

February 28, 2011

Comparing Accounts of Jesus' Baptism

December 29, 2010

Assign the following comparison of the accounts of Jesus' Baptism from the four Gospels. Have the students note similarities and differences.

Back to School Scripture Verses

August 17, 2010

Consider using these passages from the Gospel for inspiration or mediation in your first days back to school.

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

June 23, 2010

John the Baptist is connected with the prophets of the Old Testament while at the same time he acts as a model for the new Kingdom of God.

Teaching about the Book of Revelation in Catholic Schools

April 16, 2010

Here are some tips and activities for teaching about the Book of Revelation and its symbols and meaning.

The Signs in the Gospel of John Activity

March 08, 2010

Unlike the other evangelists, John focused on seven of Jesus' miracles, which he calls "signs."

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.

Lesson Plan: Development of the New Testament Canon

January 29, 2010

This lesson plan is useful for anyone teaching a course on the Introduction to the New Testament.

Distinctive Gospel Passages

April 27, 2009

Have the students work either on their own or with a partner to read through the Gospels and identify the Gospel, chapter, and verse for each of these stories.

Getting to Know Jesus

April 19, 2009

The Easter Season is a time for students to deepen their relationship with Jesus.

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.

Quick Jesus Quiz

March 23, 2009

Assign the short fill-in-the blank quiz. See how many the students can complete in 15 minutes.

Scripture Team Charades

March 01, 2009

This engaging warm up activity from Time Out: Resources for Teen Retreats by Sr. Kieran Sawyer works well as a fun break in any Scripture course.

St. Paul's Letters: Commentary Paper

February 16, 2009

Continuing the Year of St. Paul, have the students write a 750-word commentary paper on a selected passage in one of Paul's letters.

St. Paul's Writing Style

January 13, 2009

Assign an exercise asking the students to explain a teaching about God, Jesus or the Church using the style of writing used by St. Paul in his Epistles.

Meeting and Knowing Jesus

January 08, 2009

Have your students write a essay or journal entry detailing what they would say to Jesus if they met him face to face.

Knowing the Boy Jesus

December 29, 2008

Though the Gospels do not provide complete biographical information about Jesus' life, they do offer several clues.

Project Idea: Investigating the Infancy Narratives

December 15, 2008

Have the students read the following passages from the infancy narratives and write their hypothesis to each question.

Getting to Know Jesus

December 03, 2008

I am pleased to announce the publication of Catholic Essentials: An Overview of the Faith a new handbook for Catholic teenagers written to provide a synthesis of Catholicism.

Transubstantiation Exercise

November 20, 2008

At Mass we eat the Body of Christ to become the Body of Christ; to be Christ's presence in the world today. Is this belief supported by Scripture?

St. Paul Pantomimes

November 18, 2008

To help mark the Year of St. Paul, help your students learn more about the life and ministry of St. Paul by performing pantomimes on key Scripture scenes

Marathon Bible Reading

October 06, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI began a "marathon of Bible reading" on live Italian television on Sunday, October 5, while encouraging people world-wide—Catholics, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and all others—to spend some time with this sacred book.

Three Scripture Activities

February 19, 2008

Listed below are three short New Testament Scripture activities that can enrich Scripture or faith synthesis courses.

Discussing Racism

January 18, 2008

Jesus understood the pain of racism. He preached and gathered to himself the outcasts of society.

Infancy Narratives

December 17, 2007

Only Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels tell anything about Jesus’ birth.

The Bible Lab

December 07, 2007

Here’s a sample of Dr. Smith Christopher’s favorite Bible Lab sample with a link to two more lessons.

Saint Mark

April 23, 2007

Some information and brief readings on St. Mark, the evangelist. Mark is the name associated with the shortest of the Gospels. Biblical scholarship tells us that Mark’s Gospel was the first written, probably around 65 to 70 A.D., after the death of St. Peter.

Easter (Continued)

April 11, 2007

Easter is not a one-day holiday. In fact it last for fifty days, beginning with the Easter Vigil and lasting until the feast of Pentecost.

History of the Chosen People in 90 Seconds

January 03, 2007

Tired of needing days and weeks to teach the history of God's chosen people? Of course you are. Unfortunately, you'll probably need to keep doing that, but here is an extremely helpful aid when doing that.

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