Ideas for Helping Students Celebrate All Saints' Day
by Sister Lou Ella Hickman, IWBS
You can get more out of your All Saints' Day lesson with any of the following suggestions. Most of them can be modified for use with students across a wide age range.
You can get more out of your All Saints’ Day lesson with any of the following suggestions. Most of them can be modified for use with students across a wide age range.
Ideas for Discussion
* Saints as special friends: Discuss what and who a saint is. Emphasize that a saint is a friend of God. Talk about what attitudes and behaviors make a person a friend of God. Discuss how we can make any saint a special friend by learning about that person and modeling our life after that person.
* Saints as patrons: See how many ways the class can answer the question: “What is a patron saint?” Talk about the special needs in the world and what situations and conditions need a patron saint. Invite students to think about what they would like to be patron of.
* Saint quotes: Use the Internet to find quotes by saints and share this wisdom with your students. Be sure that the content of the quotes can be comprehended by your students. Talk about the meaning of each quote. For example, St. Theresa of Avila said, “Oh, Lord, deliver me from sorry (sad) saints.” Ask students what they think this means.
Ideas for Activities
* Saint cities in the States: A number of cities in the United States are named after saints. As a class, study a map of the United States and see how many of these cities you can find. Open and/or close this exercise with a prayer for an increase of vocations in these areas. As an option, pick patron saints for other cities or states.
* Conversations with the saints: Role-play conversations with the saints. If your parish is named for a saint, research that saint and have a conversation with him or her.
* Letters from saints: Have students imagine themselves as saints in heaven. Have each “saint” (student) write a letter to someone on earth. These letters could be organized into a small book, perhaps titled Pennies from Heaven: Letters from God’s Friends.
* Catholic Church family tree: On index cards, write the names of saints and their birth and death dates. Hang the cards on a large tree branch and talk about how the saints are part of our family tree of faith. Reuse the branch during Advent for the Jesse Tree and make the connection to All Saints’ Day.
Ideas for Prayer
* The Litany of the Saints: As a class, pray the Litany of the Saints. Talk about saints who have been recently canonized and who could be added to the list. Ask students to think about people who lived saintly lives but who have not been formally canonized. Encourage students to think of people from their own lives.
* Saint diary: Some saints kept diaries and journals. Have students keep a prayer diary for several weeks. Encourage them to write their prayers, like the saints, and to ask the saints for guidance.
* Vine and branch icon: Show students various images of icons so they can see that the art is symbolic and not literal. Explain that icons are created as an act of prayer. On a piece of poster board, create an icon using the phrase “I am the vine and you are the branches” (John 15:5). Illustrate the image further by writing the names of saints on the branches.
* Biography and prayer: Have students research a favorite or patron saint and write short biographies and prayers honoring the saints they researched.
Sister Lou Ella has a master’s degree in theology from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX. She has taught at all levels for over seventeen years and has served as a part-time librarian.
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