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Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

Posts for Scripture

A Lesson on the Flesh and the Spirit

August 21, 2019


Using Bible Study Aids

September 04, 2014

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.

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. 

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.

The Bible in 50 Words

November 12, 2012

Prophets Lesson Plan

October 25, 2011

A very large portion of the Old Testament focuses on the lives and messages of the prophets. The prophets played a very important and influential role in the history of Israel and the development of the Jewish people. They voiced a constant reminder from Yahweh that his people must worship the one, true God and treat others with dignity and respect.

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.

Introducing a Course with a Plot Structure Diagram

August 29, 2011

During an introduction of the topic of Salvation History, review the plot structure diagram with students. Connect this story diagram with salvation history. Invite students to fill in as much as they know of the story of salvation history.

Jesus Charades

February 18, 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.

Thanksgiving Guided Meditation

November 17, 2010

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

Teaching Theology Using Literature and Art Webinar

October 21, 2010

On Tuesday, Br. Michel Bettigole, editor of the book The Catholic Spirit: An Anthology for Discovering Faith Through Literature, Art, Film, and Music, presented a sample lesson on the Eucharist drawing from classic works of art and literature.

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.

Introducing the Miracles of Jesus

June 17, 2010

The miracles of Jesus were meant to bring about reaction. Play this fun mental math game with your students to solicit the same kinds of responses that Jesus often received whenever he performed a miracle.

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.

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.

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.

Jesus Christ: God's Revelation to the World!

December 18, 2009

We are pleased to announce the publication of Jesus Christ: God's Revelation to the World, an introduction to understanding Divine Revelation, especially through Sacred Scripture.

Clues to Jesus' Personality

November 30, 2009

Ask the students to look up clues into Jesus' personality in Scripture references.

What the Bible Says about Friends

October 23, 2009

Assign the following activity on friendship.

Fall Religious Ed Newsletter Online!

October 15, 2009

The Fall Issue of the Ave Maria Press Religious Education newsletter, Engaging Hands, Hearts, and Minds for Faith is now available online.

How Do You Respond to Jesus?

October 07, 2009

Call on students, one at a time, to be "on the spot" and come before the class to hear a scenario about Jesus and to respond to the challenge that he presents.

Old Testament Themes

September 25, 2009

Dr. Daniel Smith-Christopher, the keynote speaker at the fifth annual Teacher Enrichment Day on October 10 at the University of Notre Dame, offers advice on reading the Old Testament.

The Kingdom of God Is like . . .

August 31, 2009

Have the students look up the following passages and match them to the truths about the Kingdom which they reveal.

Some Biblical Seeds of Peace

June 05, 2009

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

Scriptural Understanding of the Holy Spirit

May 01, 2009

Learn some more about the Holy Spirit from Scripture.

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.

Quick Jesus Quiz

March 23, 2009

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

Guided Meditation: The Transfiguration

March 06, 2009

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

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.

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.

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.

Link to Excellent Teacher Website

June 17, 2008

I've designed a theology site called (independent of Ave Maria Press) that I'd like to make available to anyone who teaches the faith and visits the Ave Maria Press web site.

Cell Phones vs. The Bible

June 10, 2008

I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cellphone?

Three Scripture Activities

February 19, 2008

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

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.

The Prophets and the Advent Liturgy

December 05, 2007

Remind your students that the Book of Isaiah actually contains the work of more than one writer, from more than one time.

Choosing Your "Birthday Scripture Verse"

November 29, 2007

To help celebrate the start of Advent and the birth of a new Church Year, have the students search the Bible for a specific Scripture verse they can make their own.

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