from Lenia M., Mesa, AZ
Here’s what I do to help my fourth-graders prepare for All Saints and All Souls—as fourth-graders AND as fifth-graders.
At the end of a class on All Saints and All Souls, I have each of my fourth-graders write a thank-you note (I buy the notes at a dollar store) to a saint or a friend or loved one who has died. The note thanks the person for something SPECIFIC he or she did that helped the student’s faith grow stronger. The key is “specific.” Each student has to mention something the person said or a specific act that inspired the student to grow in faith. Then I collect the notes.
A YEAR LATER, I mail the notes to the students—now fifth-graders. I tell them that I continue to think about them and pray for them. And I remind them of the person who inspired their faith by sending them the thank-you note they wrote in fourth grade. This helps the students even further in understanding the Communion of Saints.
from Lenia M., Mesa, AZ
On October 21 this year, Kateri Tekakwitha, a Native American woman from New York, will be canonized a saint. Kateri trusted in God at all times, even when people were against her. She is an example of faith for our lives today. Here is her story plus learning activities to share with your students.
Learns about Jesus
It was a time when Native American people lived in what is now upstate New York. In 1656, a little girl was born; her mother was an Algonquin and her father was a Mohawk. The little girl was named Tekakwitha. When Tekakwitha was 4 years old, a smallpox epidemic killed her parents and left her partially blind. She went to live with her uncle.
When Tekakwitha was 18 years old, Jesuit missionaries came to the village. Tekakwitha listened as they told stories about Jesus that touched her heart. When Tekakwitha was 19, she asked to be baptized a Catholic. She was baptized on Easter Sunday in 1676 and given the name Kateri.
Lives Her Faith
Kateri often went into the woods to pray. There she saw the beauty of God’s creation. She would make twig crosses as reminders to pray. The people of Kateri’s village made life very difficult for her, though, because of her Catholic faith. Even so, she continued to follow Jesus each day.
When she was 20 years old, Kateri left her village with the help of others. She traveled by canoe and on foot to the Mission of St. Francis Xavier in Canada. The people welcomed her, and she received her First Communion in 1677.
Kateri was a person of great faith in God. She prayed often in the chapel. She was a caring person who helped the sick and the elderly in her new village. She shared stories about Jesus with the children. These were the same stories she had learned from the missionaries.
Continue reading "Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Native American Saint" »
Feast Day: October 15
by Patricia Mathson
Teresa lived in Ávila, Spain, and enjoyed being with her friends. She also played with her little brother who was closest to her age. When Teresa was 12 years old, her mother died. Her father then sent her to live with a group of nuns in a nearby convent.
Continue reading "Celebrating Saint Teresa of Ávila" »
Each year, our students participate in a stewardship drive to identify ways they can commit their time, treasures, and talents to the parish and broader community. We added a new element of faith to this topic by incorporating the saints.
I present one lesson on the lives of saints who are often paired together, such as Joachim and Anne, Perpetua and Felicity, and Peter and Paul. I offer basic information about each saint and explain the virtues that each one demonstrated in his or her life of service and faithful living. If time permits, I have students spend a few weeks
researching these saints.
Continue reading "Saintly Stewardship" »
God promises to be with us, carrying us through difficult times. Jesus and the saints knew this and so we can trust they are always present, helping us to practice the golden key: to think of God when things are difficult. Help students understand that God doesn’t want us to go through difficulties alone with this Golden Key Mobile activity.
Sitting in the dentist's chair waiting to have
a tooth pulled, I used my time to do some
meditating from a favorite daily prayer guide.
The title of that day's mediation was "The
Golden Key." It said that when things get
difficult, don't think of the difficulty.
Think of God.
Continue reading "Think of God — Like the Saints" »
On March 19 the Church honors St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Because the catechetical theme for this year is “Matrimony: Sacrament of Enduring Love,” it’s a great time to honor Joseph and celebrate fatherhood and familyhood. This puppet craft activity will help you do just that.
The feast of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary honors Joseph as the foster father of Jesus and protector of the Holy Family. Joseph was a good worker. He used his hands and the tools of his carpentry trade to provide for his family. In doing so, he also met the needs of the community in which he lived.
Continue reading "Saint Joseph and Familyhood Craft" »
If you ask your students to draw pictures of saints, what will they draw? People wearing serious expressions and medieval robes? Men and women being martyred or ministering to the poor? While such images are representative of saintly living, they fall short of portraying visions of sainthood that can motivate young people toward more Christ-like living today. You can help your learners bring sainthood into the realm of the present and the possible with these activities. Continue reading "What Saints Look Like" »