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Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

Posts for Saints

Marian Assignments

December 06, 2019

Seven New Saints

October 15, 2018

Your Patron Saint

April 21, 2017

Two Great Teachers of the Faith: St. Nicholas of Myra (December 6) and St. Ambrose (December 7)

December 05, 2016

As Christmas approaches, remember to tell your students not only that Santa Claus is “real,” but that the saintly figure behind the legend is even more of an inspiration than the jolly perennial visitor of mythical renown! On December 6, the Catholic Church celebrates the Memorial of St. Nicholas of Myra (ca. AD 270 – 343), and on December 7, the Memorial of St. Ambrose (ca. 340 – 397).

All Saints’ Day Lesson

October 21, 2016

Here’s a refresher on the role of saints in the Church, in lieu of the coming of All Saints’ Day on November 1.

Catholic Social Teaching and the Saints

October 03, 2016

There are many quotations from the saints and blessed on issues that speak to current justice issues. Make a copy of the following quotations for each student. Tell them 1) read the quotation; 2) write what they think it means; and 3) write about what they think it calls them to do.

Two Letters of St. Thérèse of Lisieux to Abbe Belliere

September 26, 2016

The feast day of St. Thérèse of Lisieux is October 1. The following is an excerpt from The Catholic Spirit: An Anthology for Discovering Faith Through Literature, Art, Film, and Music of two letters wrote to a missionary priest near the end of her life.

Canonization of Mother Teresa

August 26, 2016

Mother Teresa of Calcutta is to be canonized a saint in the Catholic Church on Monday, September 4, 2016, in Rome.

St. Mary Magdalene

June 24, 2016

Pope Francis has raised the liturgical memorial of St. Mary Magdalene, the woman from the Gospels who, according to the pope, "so loved Christ and was so greatly loved by Christ, to a feast day.

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.

All Souls’ Day and Why Catholics Pray for the Dead: A November Exercise

November 02, 2015

November 1 and November 2 are two very special days in the liturgical life of the Church. On the one hand, we prayerfully ask the saints to intercede to God for us in a special way on All Saints’ Day (November 1), while on the other hand, we commemorate and pray for the souls of all of our faithful departed on All Souls’ Day (November 2).

The theology teacher has the ability to rely on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day as key opportunities to explain to students why (and how) the Catholic Church advocates for both asking for the intercession of the saints and praying for the dead (whose souls could be in Purgatory)

Ten Assignments for All Saints' Week

October 25, 2015

Whereas All Saints Day, celebrated on November 1, is a feast established by the Church to honor all the saints in heaven who do not have a special day on one of the other 364 days of the year, this is also a good season to emphasize Church teachings on canonized sainthood as well. This post lists 10 easy assignments that allow your students to reflect on sainthood and any saints that may be special to them.

Canonization of Sts. Louis and Marie-Azelie Guerin Martin

October 19, 2015

On Sunday, October 18, Pope Francis canonized Louis Martin and Marie-Azelie Guerin Martin, the parents of St. Thèrése of Lisieux. Here is information about St. Louis Martin and St. Marie-Azelie Guerin Martin, reprinted from Ten Christians by Bonface Hanley, OFM.

Canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra

September 02, 2015

This post contains resources about Blessed Junipero Serra, the Spanish Franciscan missionary who evangelized Indians and established twenty-one missions in California. Serra will be canonized by Pope Francis on his trip to the United States later this month. 

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.

Pope Francis to Canonize Bl. Junipero Serra

January 15, 2015

Pope Francis announced today that he will canonize Bl. Junipero Serra (1713-1784), the Franciscan priest who carried on extensive missionary work in California in the eighteenth century. This post contains some methods to help your student learn about the life and work of thie soon-to-be saint.

Words from St. Thèrése of Lisieux at the Time of Her Death

October 01, 2014

In July 1897, Thèrése was brought to the convent infirmary. She was hemorrhaging continually. At the end of the month she was anointed and in the middle of August received Holy Communion for the last time. Her last agony was frightening. Even in her pain, her words reflected her love of God and unending faith.

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

April 21, 2014

Interested in teaching your students about Pope John Paul II? As part of the celebration of the canonizations of the pope, 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.

Feast of Mary, Mother of God 2014

December 30, 2013

Reflect on the word of Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Evangelli Gaudium. Share and pray Pope Francis' words asking for the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God.

In Expectation of the Canonization of Blessed Peter Faber

December 16, 2013

Some time within the next week, Pope Francis is expected to announce the canonization of one of his favorite Jesuits, Blessed Peter Faber. In anticipation of the event, share some information on the life of Peter Faber. Have your students monitor the news stories from the Vatican on what might take place around this issue.

Canonizations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II

September 30, 2013

The Vatican has announced the canonization dates for Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II: Sunday April, 27, 2014, the Sunday after Easter. This date is also the worldwide celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast instituted by Pope John Paul II. This post contains brief biographies of these two extraordinary men.

Mary: Queen of Heaven

August 16, 2013

Pope Pius closed a year-long Marian year in October of 1954 with the encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam recognizing the Queenship of Mary. The encyclical was unique too because it was the first time a pope had spoken on Mary's role in sharing in the work of Redemption. This post offers some ways to encourage your students to reflect on Mary's life and her faith.

St. Ignatius and the Jesuits

July 29, 2013

Wednesday, July 31, is the Feast Day of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The day is more significant this year because of Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope in the history of the Church. Encourage your students to learn more about St. Ignatius and other important Jesuits using the assignments in this post.

St. Michael the Archangel Pray for the Church

July 08, 2013

In coming together last week to dedicate a beautiful new statue to honor St. Michael the Archangel. Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI remind the Church of the importance of angels as those who aid our journey to God's Kingdom. Have your students reflect on St. Michael, the defender of the Church, with these prayers and readings.

Celebrate Creation! "St. Francis and the Animals"

June 17, 2013

The following is an excerpt from The Catholic Spirit: An Anthology for Discovering Faith Through Literature, Art, Film, and Music entitled "St. Francis and the Animals" from the writings of Thomas of Celano. It has been adapted by John Feister.

The Shepherd in Combat Boots: Father Emil J. Kapaun

April 15, 2013

It is not every day that a man who is a candidate for sainthood in the Catholic Church also receives the nation’s highest military award for valor, the Medal of Honor. Fr. Kapaun received this medal posthumously on April 11 for his service to soldiers in the Korean War. You can use Father Kapaun's story to help your students to consider how to serve their faith during times of war or conflict.

Seven Saints for October

October 17, 2012

Some resources and questions to encourage your students to research the seven saints that will be canonized this month, including Saint Kateri Tekakwitha and Saint Marianne Cope.

The Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

July 09, 2012

The Vatican recently declared as venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheet (1895-1979), meaning he is on the path to canonization. He would be the first American-born male saint.

Three Different Feasts

October 31, 2011

Halloween, All Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day are often linked together as would make sense since they fall on consecutive days.

3 New Classroom Icebreakers

January 07, 2011

Three New Classroom Icebreakers. Icebreaker for Lesson on Discipleship, Icebreaker for Lesson on the Trinity, Icebreaker for Lesson on Communion of Saints

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.

Blessed John Henry Newman Lesson Plan

September 20, 2010

On Sunday September 19, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman, Catholic convert and exceptional apologist.

Teaching with the Early Church Fathers

September 01, 2010

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

Catholic Saints Research Projects

July 07, 2010

One of the most popular projects assigned in religious education programs is a research project on the saints. Consider the following resources to provide students with their research.

Brother André Bessette: First Holy Cross Saint!

February 22, 2010

We celebrate the impending canonization of Brother André Bessette, the first saint of the Congregation of Holy Cross!

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes Lesson Plan Ideas

February 04, 2010

February 11 is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes who appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in on February 11, 1858 in Lourdes, France.

Catholic Schools Week 2010: Celebrating Innovative Leadership

February 01, 2010

The Church celebrates the lives of two founders of religious communities who have been dedicated to educating boys and girls in Catholic high schools that flourish to this day.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Prayers and Lessons

December 09, 2009

In remembrance of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12, note the following resources to apply for lessons and prayers on the feast and on the Blessed Virgin Mary in general.

How Does the Church Decide Who Becomes a Saint?

October 29, 2009

In anticipation of All Saints' Day on November 1, share the following question and answer with your students.

Catholics and Conscience

September 22, 2009

Read the moral dilemma to the students and ask them to rate how strongly they would respond based on either end of the spectrum.

St. Maria Goretti and Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha

July 28, 2009

In a society and culture obsessed with outward bodily appearance and sex outside of marriage, Maria Goretti and Kateri Tekawitha represent the importance of inner beauty and moral decision-making.

The Parish Priest in the Year of the Priest

June 24, 2009

The life of a parish priest is not an easy one. But it is rewarding, with most of the tangible benefits coming from their proximity to the Eucharist and other sacraments, the emphasis on personal prayer, and their special connection with the parishioners.

Preparing for St. Patrick's Day

March 10, 2009

But while enjoying St. Patrick's Day festivities, we can also take some time to reflect on the remarkable life of this patron saint of Ireland.

Blessed Damien to be Canonized

February 23, 2009

The Vatican announced this weekend that Blessed Damien De Veuster, a priest of the Fathers of the Sacred Heart, who had ministered with lepers in Hawaii in the nineteenth century and later died of the disease, would be canonized a saint on October 11, 2009.

Feast Day of St. Thomas Aquinas

January 27, 2009

January 28 is the Feast Day of St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the Church's great theologians and history's true geniuses.

American Saints and Blesseds

January 05, 2009

In honor of St. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, the first American born saint whose feast day was Sunday, January 4, share with your students the complete list of American saints and blesseds.

Choosing A Patron Saint

November 14, 2008

In the spirit of the month of All Saints, help your students to increase their devotion to the saints by developing a relationship with a particular saint—a patron saint.

All Saints Day: Holy Humor!

October 28, 2008

You might consider offering a mini-lesson on the humor-and-holiness connection for November 1, the Solemnity of All Saints Day.

Parents of St. Thérèse One Step Closer to Sainthood

October 17, 2008

Mission Sunday, October 19, is the date of the beatification of the mother and father of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, one of the most popular saints of modern times.

St. Paul's Missionary Journeys

September 05, 2008

In the spirit of the Year of St. Paul, here is another lesson to help students read and summarize the three main missionary journey's of Paul.

Monica and Augustine: Mother and Son Saints

August 21, 2008

On August 27 and August 28, the feast days of two Catholic saints—mother and son—are celebrated back to back.

Share Lesson Plans on the Year of St. Paul!

August 06, 2008

As you begin a new semester, the Church is celebrating a special jubilee year dedicated to St. Paul.

St. Ignatius Loyola and Making Good Decisions

July 29, 2008

There are several discernment processes you can share with your students for when they are about to make an important decision. All of these should involve prayer.

Peter and Paul: United by A Common Feast

June 25, 2008

Community can be formed and people can come together even in death. This happened to two of the greatest saints in the Church—Peter and Paul—who share a feast day on June 29.

St. Valentine and the Meaning of the Day

February 13, 2008

February 14 is a greeting card holiday of "love" associated with a Christian saint, St. Valentine. How this connection was ever made is the subject of many questionable tales and lore.

Prayer for the Holy Innocents

December 26, 2007

The week of Christmas is an appropriate time to remember the efforts of Catholic high school students on behalf of the unborn.

St. Luke's Masterpiece

October 15, 2007

The life work or masterpiece for Luke came in the area of writing.

St. Francis and the Environment

October 04, 2007

The area of ecology or the environment of which St. Francis of Assisi is a patron is one that is not limited to any one time.

St. Francis: A Change of Plans

October 03, 2007

Most teens know of several friends or acquaintances who deviated from the plans their parents had for them. This describes the troubles Peter Bernardone had with his son, Francis.

A Saint of Darkness?

September 07, 2007

Mother Theresa's spiritual struggles may raise some difficult but worthwhile questions to discuss with your students.

Remembering Mother Teresa

September 06, 2007

No one, not even in the secular media, can ever doubt Mother Teresa’s service to the “least brothers and sisters” of this world. She spent a majority of her life caring for the “poorest of the poor.” She spoke many times of the importance of love and family, of accepting the gift of life, and of learning many lessons from the poor.

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.

St. Joseph

March 20, 2007

The annual feast of St. Joseph on March 19 brings to mind some interesting things we know and don’t know about the foster father of Jesus.

Patrick: The Terrified Teen Who Learned to Trust

March 14, 2007

A well documented portrait of a strong and courageous saint whose story should connect well with teens.

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