Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

Posts for Prayer

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.

Direct Service for Teens

July 22, 2016

The USCCB’s Renewing the Vision : A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry document addresses the essential nature of justice and a service component that should accompany any programming for teens, including teens enrolled in a Catholic high school.

Stand Against Violence: A Prayer

July 15, 2016

Prayer against Crime and Violence

Lord God, crime is on the increase within our city and our country.

From the depths of our hearts we pray that you will comfort, heal, and bless all victims of crime.

Prayers for the Future

June 10, 2016

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.

Christmas Week Meditation and Assignments

December 14, 2015

This Christmas meditation encourages quiet contemplation of the manger scene and the ways God reaches out to us during the Christmas season. 

Student Prayers for the End of the Semester

December 01, 2015

As the semester winds down, share these prayers for student life with your own students. All are taken from Day by Day: The Notre Dame Prayerbook for Students (Ave Maria Press).

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.

Your Call to Holiness

August 26, 2015

Christians are called to be saints. A simple definition of a saint is one who has a mind through which Christ things, a voice through which Christ speaks, a heart through which Christ loves, and a hand through which Christ helps. This reflection will help students consider their own call to holiness.

Various Retreat Models for Catholic High Schools

June 23, 2015

As you probably know from your own personal retreat experiences, there are many different ways to “retreat” with teens who are participating in a Confirmation, youth ministry, or campus ministry retreat. However, depending on the group and circumstances, some models definitely work better than others do. This article provides a brief overview of the pros and cons of the various retreat models.

Rest, Renewal, and Revitalization for the Catholic School Educator

June 01, 2015

During the upcoming break in the academic year, plan to use part of the time to refresh yourself in the life-giving words and teachings of Christ!

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.

Guided Meditation: The Announcement of the Birth of Jesus

November 21, 2014

"Hail Mary, full of grace." These words were spoken by the angel Gabriel to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus. This meditation will place your students in the role of Mary: listening to the angel, responding and trying to understand.

One-Line Prayers

August 26, 2014

No one ever said prayers have to be long. One line prayers can be used on many occasion. This piece lists a few brief prayers that can be used to keep a prayerful attitude during our daily tasks.

Prayer for Pope Francis’ Trip to the Middle East

May 14, 2014

From May 24 – 26, Pope Francis will be visiting Jordan, Palestine, and Israel. Father Rifat Bader who is organizing the trip, wrote this prayer in honor of the visit. Pray for the Holy Father's safety, the people of the Holy Land, and the success of his trip.

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.

Learning about "Object" Meditation

February 17, 2014

A good way to begin to learn about meditation is to practice a very simple form of meditation using a common object from nature. This reflection on a small piece of God's creation encourages us to reflect on the gifts that God has given us.

Don't Let Go of Christmas Just Yet!

January 14, 2014

As you settle back into a new semester, don't let Christmas go without sharing and reflecting on the Christmas message of Pope Francis.

Prayer for the Vocation to Married Life

November 21, 2013

This prayer session encourages students to reflect on what they've learned about the vocation to marriage and also encourages them to contemplate their own call to the married life.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy: First Catholic President

November 15, 2013

November 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the first and only Roman Catholic President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. This might be a good time to remind your students of the prejudice faced by Kennedy when he ran for President in 1960. Kennedy had to directly confront anti-Catholic sentiment during the campaign.

Jesus Teaches about Prayer

November 04, 2013

Jesus taught several things about prayer and how to pray. Have the students read each of the following examples. Have them write a summary for each example and explain the teaching on prayer. 

Air Strikes on Syria and the Just War Doctrine

September 06, 2013

The unfortunate civil war in Syria provides an opportunity for students, as Catholics, to research and evaluate the arguments they hear about the United States making air strikes against the country. Their thoughtful reflection may lead them to contact their senators or representatives in the US Congress.

Prayer After the Boston Marathon 2013

April 16, 2013

Even in the wake of a terrible tragedy and in the face of panic, we did not crumble. Rather, people stood up and helped their neighbors selflessly, offering their time, prayers, and treasures to help rebuild. This prayer reflects on what it means to truly act as Jesus would, even in the grip of fear.

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.

Prayers for Students to Start the Year

July 25, 2012

School is coming soon. When it does, share some of these prayers with your students. Have them create other prayers to help them and their classmates through the school year. These prayers are all included in Day by Day: The Notre Dame Prayerbook for Students.

Prayer for Seniors in High School

June 04, 2012

Share the following prayer service from Marriage and Holy Orders: Your Call to Love and Serve with your students. It is especially appropriate for juniors preparing to be seniors and seniors at the time of graduation.

Jesus and Prayer

April 19, 2012

This exercise encourages students to contemplate the instances where Jesus Himself prayed in the Bible. 

Picture Meditation

November 09, 2011

A person can meditate about anything: how many points she'll score in the next game, who he will take to the prom, what kind of career he will have, or who she will marry. As a prayer form, meditation involves using your thoughts, imaginations, emotions, and desires to turn to God. One goal of meditation is to see how God is revealed in everyday life, from the biggest events and experiences right down to the smallest details. Such revelations lead you to discover that God is love.

A Book of Reflections for Teachers

September 13, 2011

We are excited about a new book of reflections for teachers called 5 Minutes with Christ: Spiritual Nourishment for Busy Teachers. The book is a collection of reflections on the Gospels by teachers, principals, and associates of the Alliance for Catholic Education program of the University of Notre Dame.

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:_

Lights of Life: Torn Tissue Art Banner

March 29, 2011

Jesus’ healing of the blind man (Jn 9:1–41), the Gospel reading for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, reminds us that Jesus brings light to our world. This Lights of Life: Torn Tissue Art Banner (originally published in Time Out by Sr. Kieran Sawyer, SSND) can support this message and serve as the backdrop for a prayer reflection that might culminate in the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

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.

Examination of Conscience for Teens

February 15, 2011

Preparing for the Sacrament of Reconciliation is essential at the high school level. It is an excellent opportunity to catechize young people through an examination of conscience for teens.

Catholic Schools Week Prayer Service

January 31, 2011

Catholic Schools Week is a time of celebration of the bright light that Catholic schools are to the children and communities they serve. This Catholic Schools Week prayer service has a special focus on light and in a particular way the light that shines forth from the students in Catholic schools everywhere.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Prayers for Teachers and Students

January 03, 2011

In honor of the feast day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton on January 4, consider sharing these prayers with your students and fellow teachers.

Christmas Prayer Service for Peace

December 13, 2010

Write a note to someone containing three or four constructive ideas for making peace in your relationships. These notes won't be delivered, but will be read anonymously to help us continue our prayer.

Christmas Break Homework Assignments

December 08, 2010

Most teachers are nice enough not to give any real homework of the Christmas holidays, but there is nothing wrong with giving some inspirational homework assignments to discuss when they return in January. Consider giving these Christmas Break homework assignments a try.

Advent Prayers for Teens

November 29, 2010

Here are some prayer suggestions you might consider using with your teens during the Advent season.

Thanksgiving Guided Meditation

November 17, 2010

Use this meditation with your students to help them to reflect on what gratitude means to them.

Teaching the Rosary to High School Students

October 07, 2010

As the Month of the Rosary, October is an excellent month to catechize teenagers with the Rosary.

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.

Beginning of the School Year Prayer Service

July 22, 2010

As we return to our studies, we hope God inspires us to take on a new interest in new classes and new topics.

Understanding the Lord’s Prayer

June 10, 2010

The following lesson is an adaptation of an activity that appears in Our Catholic Faith, a textbook for Introduction to Catholicism courses.

In Praise and Prayer for Mary

May 05, 2010

Share this reading of praise and prayer of the Blessed Mother with your students. Use the questions that follow to facilitate understanding and discussion.

Feast of St. Catherine of Siena Prayers and Activity

April 23, 2010

April 29th is the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church.

Centering Meditation: Do Not Worry About Your Life

April 20, 2010

Present a centering meditation to your students based on the following prayer script.

Dying and Rising

April 13, 2010

Here's a short exercise that can help teenagers better understand the practical and joyful experience of the Resurrection that is the result of the work of Christian discipleship.

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.

World Day of Prayer and Action for Children

November 19, 2009

Along with Pope Benedict XVI, commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the first World Day of Prayer and Action for Children with your class by praying with your class on behalf of suffering children worldwide.

Prayer Bingo

October 21, 2009

Play a game of bingo to begin a lesson on the importance of prayer.

Teens Pray, Remind Them How

September 17, 2009

Teens do pray. A task for teachers and catechists is to help teens name what they already are doing as prayer.

Pray the Creed—Live the Creed

August 26, 2009

The beginning of the school year is a good chance to pray and reflect on the statements of the Catholic creeds.

Guided Meditation: Readying Your Body for Prayer

August 20, 2009

Prior to classroom prayer—especially guided meditative prayer—it is wise to help your students unwind and relax. Several relaxation techniques can help.

Prayer Experience: Away with Sin

July 21, 2009

Read each of the following cues, pausing between each to allow for writing.

Prayer Service: Becoming A Better Me

July 06, 2009

The following prayer service is intended to encourage teens to avoid alcohol and drugs and to treat their bodies in healthy ways.

Relaxation Techniques for Prayer

June 15, 2009

Encourage your students to learn these relaxation techniques for prayer.

Some Biblical Seeds of Peace

June 05, 2009

Encourage your students to read, reflect, and pray for peace.

Hail Mary Reflection

May 14, 2009

Ask the students to reflect on the words of the "Hail Mary" as if they are hearing them for the first time.

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."

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.

New Trends in Religious Vocations

March 06, 2008

The excellent website Vocation Match, a service that seeks to pair those discerning Catholic religious vocations with various religious communities and other opportunities recently completed a survey on current vocational trends.

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.

Praying for Peace

November 08, 2007

Litany on the Nonviolence of Jesus.

A Week for Angels

September 25, 2007

Angels are part of God’s unseen creation whose vocation is to serve God’s will.

Leaving Home

May 30, 2007

As the time of graduation is upon us, adapt and pray this prayer with your students to both calm their hearts of any worries they may have, but also to remind them to celebrate in this joyous time of celebration.

Teen (and Teacher) Motivation

November 28, 2006

Former Notre Dame Fighting Irish coach Lou Holtz speaks to Beliefnet about how his "dream job" at Notre Dame made him a better Catholic, the role of prayer in pre-game rituals, and the four things everyone needs in life.

Ready to Retreat?

November 15, 2006

There's no shortage of retreats for students, but how often have you heard of a retreat for teachers? This article discusses options for teacher-friendly retreats that can offer a "rehab for the soul."

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