Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

Posts for Social Justice

Reflections on Christian Patriotism

February 03, 2017

Ask students to say aloud words or phrases that come immediately to them when you say the word “patriotism.” List the words on the board.

Distribute a handout with the following quotations and questions.  Read the first quotation and have the students write their reflections on the questions that follow. Repeat the format for sections 2 and 3.

Finally, ask the students to answer in writing the two “Final Items.” To conclude, ask the students to share their reflections either in small groups or with the whole class.

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.

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.

Understanding Facets of “White Privilege”

July 08, 2016

Conduct a discussion as a way to allow white students in your class to be aware of some preferential treatments they experience because they are white. Likewise, allow students of color to discuss their perspectives of some of these experiences.

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.

Word of Mouth: An Outside da Box video

February 19, 2016

Outside da Box has produced a video that deals with issues of bullying, meanness, kindness, and proper Christian living as commonly presented around a Catholic high school.

Black History Month: Fr. Augustus Tolton

February 05, 2016

The child of slaves, Fr. Augustus Tolton (1854-1897) was the first African American priest ordained to serve the Church in the United States.

Recognizing Jesus

December 30, 2015

The Christmas season continues, even as you return to school. Have your students meditate on the humanity of Jesus and his mission. Share these words of Pope Benedict XVI. Have them complete the assignment that follows.

Encouraging an Actively Pro-Life Generation of High School Students

September 11, 2015

Below are various ways that teachers in Catholic high schools, particularly (but not exclusively) theology teachers, can encourage their students to become engaged in the pro-life movement, along with methods of leading students to better learn and understand the vital theological basis by which we celebrate human life in all its multi-faceted stages.

Praying for the Care of Creation

August 31, 2015

Pope Francis has invited all of us to join in the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on Tuesday, Septmber 1.

Unit on the Life of Blessed Óscar Romero

May 26, 2015

Ave Maria Press offers an excellent resource to help your students learn more about the life of Óscar Romero, the Archbishop of San Salvador, who was beatified on May 23.

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.

A Message on Immigration

October 28, 2013

Pro-Life Flash Mob

October 14, 2013

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.

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.

Teaching with the Kony 2012 Video in Schools

March 19, 2012

Odds are good that your high school students have already seen the Kony 2012 video. It went viral in the first week of March being viewed roughly 80 million times in only five days. In fact it is now considered to be the most viral video in history defeating the likes of Susan Boyle, Lada Gaga, Justin Bieber, and Miley Cyrus.

Respect Life Month Teaching Resources

September 27, 2011

The month of October is Respect Life Month. When we hear "respect life," most of us immediately think of the pro-life movement to end abortion. This is a key cause to support during October (and all year round!). But Respect Life Month is also meant to remind us of the issues of capital punishment, euthanasia, contraception, and respect for those with disabilities. September 28 begins the 40 Days for Life campaign that coincides with Respect Life month and ends on November 6.

Social Justice Lessons and the 7th Commandment

November 12, 2010

“Thou shall not steal” is an important commandment that has broad implications in both one’s personal life as well as society at large.

Thanksgiving Service Project

November 10, 2010

As a class or youth group service project, use the weeks before Thanksgiving to collect packaged food items that make up part of a Thanksgiving meal.

12 Ways to Become Friends with the Earth

June 03, 2010

The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a crisis that highlights the urgency of caring for the fragile relationship between humans and our needs and the earth.

Case Study: Illegal Immigration

May 23, 2010

The issue of immigration, especially due to the recent Arizona immigration law, is complex, as this case study reveals.

The Health Care Reform Law and Catholic Social Teaching

March 23, 2010

Below are some suggestions for teaching about the new Health Care Law in the context of Catholic Social Teaching.

Catholic Just War Theory Lesson Plan

February 25, 2010

Based on the writings of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, the Church has set forth the following criteria for a “just war.”

Youth March for Life - Live News Coverage

January 22, 2010

News coverage of the March for Life rally in Washington DC.

Responding to the Haitian Earthquake in Your Theology Class

January 13, 2010

Listed below are some opportunities for you and your students to get involved in the relief efforts in Haiti.

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.

Catechesis with Persons with Special Needs

June 18, 2009

Soeren Palumbo, now a junior at the University of Notre Dame, delivered a powerful testimony of love for his sister, Olivia, speaking out against the use of "retard" as a word that both teens and adults use disrespectfully toward people with disabilities.

Some Biblical Seeds of Peace

June 05, 2009

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

Case Studies on the Marks of the Church

February 13, 2009

Have your students discus ways in which each case study response underscores or ignores the four marks of the Church.

Attitudes Toward Work and Workers

February 05, 2009

This activity is designed to get students in touch with society's attitudes toward work and to challenge them to consider more carefully the service dimension of work and how to put this into practice in the present as well as the future.

Catholic Social Teaching and Monopoly

January 29, 2009

The attendees of Ave Maria Press's Teacher Enrichment Day share some favorite lesson plans.

Pray for the Unborn

January 22, 2009

Today, on the 36th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States, take some time to pray with your students for the rights of the unborn, a change of laws, and a change of heart.

A New Day

January 16, 2009

In small groups have the students role-play peaceful resolutions to situations that are often marked by racial tensions.

Living and Dying on Death Row

October 14, 2008

This lesson about the death penalty is for a Catholic Social Justice class.

Live More Simply, So Others Can Simply Live

September 09, 2008

Share with your students a lesson on consumerism from Activities for Catholic Social Teaching by James McGinnis.

Birthday Blessings for the Pope

April 03, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate his 81st birthday next week, on April 16, when he visits the United States.

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.

A Lesson on the Evangelical Counsels

March 04, 2008

Students will spend time learning the meaning of the evangelical counsels and the impact they can have on society if lived or not lived.

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.

Discussing Racism

January 18, 2008

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

Countering Consumerism

December 10, 2007

Some Practical Ways to Counter Consumerism.

Giving Thanks

November 19, 2007

In our Church, with the celebration of Eucharist (Greek for “thanksgiving”), every day is a day of thanks.

Praying for Peace

November 08, 2007

Litany on the Nonviolence of Jesus.

What Can We Do About the Teen Code of Silence?

October 19, 2007

Young people are terrified by the social ostracism that could come with being identified as a “snitch” or a “tattle tale.”

Random Acts of Kindness

December 05, 2006

Religious educators and catechists are always looking for good ideas on how their students might translate faith into action. Christmas is an especially good time to remind us of why and how to love

Social Justice: The Other Side

December 04, 2006

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