Help your students form a practice of family prayer this year by providing a take-home prayer bag. In a small, sturdy, solid-color gift bag, place a small statue of Jesus and or Out Blessed Mother, a child's rosary, a child's book of prayers with illustrations, a small cloth or doily, a flameless candle, and a checklist of those materials.
Allow each student to take the prayer bag home for one month throughout the school year (depending on how many children you have in your class and how long your school year runs). Each time the prayer bag is sent home with a student, explain again to the entire class that they are to pray with the members in their household.
Be sure to demonstrate what the students are to do with the materials, and remind them of the importance of returning everything that is in the bag so that they next student who takes the prayer bag home has everything he or she needs.
Suzanne Vitanza has taught children with special needs in kindergarten through fifth grade at St. Mary's in Berea, OH, for four years. She earned a master of art degree in education, majoring in special needs K-12, from Baldwin Wallace College.
Copyright 2013, Peter Li, Inc. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in
any form without permission, except for use with your classes or families.
from M.V., Philadelphia, PA
When I review prayers with my fourth-graders in my November classes, it seems they know the basic prayers, but few of them have committed to memory or pray often the Act of Faith, the Act of Hope, the Act of Love, and the Act of Contrition. So we spend time studying the wording of each of these prayers.
However, in my eight years as a catechist, I’ve never had a student who knew the Act of Thanksgiving—or had even heard of it. So I teach it during the last class before Thanksgiving. Maybe other catechists would like to introduce this prayer to their students during November. The words are from a page that long ago fell from an old prayer book. The prayer is:
Dear Lord,Continue reading "The Act of Thanksgiving" »
I thank you from the depths of my heart for your infinite kindness in coming to me. How good you are to me. With your most holy Mother and all the angels, I praise your mercy and generosity toward me, a poor sinner.
I thank you for nourishing my soul with your Sacred Body and Precious Blood.
I will try to show my gratitude to you in the Sacrament of Your Love by obedience to your holy commandments, by fidelity to my duties, by kindness to my neighbor, and by an earnest endeavor to become more like you in my daily conduct.
No part of any curriculum is more important than prayer. If I teach my students everything there is to know about the Catholic faith but have not taught them to be aware of God, to go to God, to talk to God, and to listen to God, I have failed as a catechist.
Continue reading "Start with Prayer!" »
My own enthusiasm for the Rosary was rekindled when Family Rosary’s Albany Mission Director asked me to write about its founder, Fr. Patrick Peyton—known as the “rosary priest.” Father Patrick was the man who inspired and made popular the slogans “The family that prays together stays together” and (during World War II and still relevant today) “A world at prayer is a world at peace.”
Many people know Fr. Patrick Peyton for inspiring Hollywood stars and celebrities to donate their talent and time to write and act in Family Theater radio shows (stories with Christian values), TV specials, and Rosary Crusades that reach millions. But I wrote about his humble beginnings in County Mayo, Ireland. Every night his father gathered the family of 11 around the peat fire in the hearth to pray the Rosary. “It’s not just counting beads,” John Peyton, the father, said. “Meditate on the mysteries, the meaning of Our Lord’s life, on what he and Our Lady did for us.”
Continue reading "Fr. Patrick Peyton, the Rosary Priest" »
Long ago, people living in the desert or in monasteries used pebbles, sticks, or lines drawn in the sand to count their prayers. Herein lies the early roots of the Catholic Rosary. People progressed to counting knots on a cord, then to the beads we know today.
At one time, monks prayed the Our Father 72 times, keeping count with 72 beads. Because the Hebrew practice of praying 150 psalms in the temple continued in Christian monasteries, the practice of praying 150 beads gradually evolved. Educated priests and monks could read and pray the psalms from books. The large majority of people who could not read, however, were able to count their prayers and devotions with beads.
Continue reading "Allowing the Rosary to Carry You" »
By now, many of you are settling into some well-deserved time off, a chance to pray and read and increase your abilities and skills in sharing faith with children, teens, and adults. As your responsibilities come to an end for a while, take time to reflect on your gratitude and to thank God for the many gifts that have been given to you.
Continue reading "Things to Pray about This Summer" »
Do you remember being taught how to make the Sign of the Cross? You’ve probably been doing it so long that it’s become second nature. It is important to teach our children the proper way to make the Sign of the Cross. Here's how catechist Amy Swager uses the teaching of the movements as an opportunity to impart some of the deeper truths of our faith.
Continue reading "Teaching the Sign of the Cross" »