Resources to enhance the Advent journey
SR. CAROLINE CERVENY
Prepare for the Nativity of Jesus using resources from the digital world that surrounds us. Enhance the Advent journey by using your computer, smartphone, or tablet as a “digital disciple” and share these activities with your school or parish children.
PRO TIP: Remember to invite families to participate with you by creating an Advent page on your parish website. Or, on the named days of the calendar, ask your parish admin to post one of the ideas below on your parish Facebook page. You could also add an insert to the bulletin.
■ View a two-minute video about Advent here: CATmag.us/2LQgNWl.
■ Junior High-High School Student Advent Prayer: Lectio Divina provides an opportunity
to meditate, contemplate, and pray as a spiritual preparation during Advent. The USCCB
provides weekly Lectio Divina Prayer experiences in both English and Spanish at
■ On December 3, Feast of St. Francis Xavier, pray for missionaries on the feast of one of the Church’s greatest Jesuit missionaries. Learn more about missionaries by watching a short video about how the Family Missions Company preaches the Gospel and serves the poor. Go to CATmag.us/2AuxG4m.
■ A family activity: December 6 is the feast of St. Nicholas, a bishop in 4th-century Greece.
He was known to offer small gifts to others by leaving a gift in their shoes. Parents are encouraged to work with their child/children in creating a unique card for a member of your family (grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, cousin, mom, or dad) in which you share a special message with them. Your gift will be your specially made card. Use online programs to create cards:
Adobe Spark CATmag.us/2LP1InN
■ December 8 is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Learn
more about this feast with a short article and podcast at CATmag.us/2LPpaBr.
■ December 9 is the feast day of St. Juan Diego. In 1531, while on his way for Mass, he met Our Lady. Listen to the short podcast and read a short story about him at CATmag.us/2Ar0fzw.
■ On December 12, we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of Mexico and the Americas. Listen to the podcast and read more about Our Lady at CATmag.us/2v4HAEz.
■ Class activity for grades 5-8: Visit your church the week before Christmas. Bring a digital camera. Find the Nativity scene in your church. Before Christmas, the manger usually does not contain the Baby Jesus. Take a photo of the Nativity scene without the Baby Jesus. Then go back to your classroom and write a reflection in 140 characters or less, responding to this question: How will you welcome Jesus as a friend when he comes? Teachers can gather photos and reflections, and then work with Facebook administrator or the parish webmaster to post one of the photos from the class or create a webpage with a collage of the photos and reflections.
■ Blessing for your home Nativity or manger: see CATmag.us/2O0Sen4.
■ Don’t forget to share the Christmas story. Read “The Birth of Jesus” in Luke 2:1-20. After hearing or reading the story, ask questions to spark conversations:
◗ What would it have been like to be Mary?
◗ What would it have been like to be Joseph?
◗ What would it have been like to see an angel?
■ Finally, invite high-school students to be “digital storytellers.” After obtaining proper permission, invite them into classrooms to photograph younger groups participating in these or other activities. Ask families participating at home to send a photo or two of their family preparing during Advent to share with your community. Then ask your high-school students to prepare a short video sharing the story of your parish preparations during Advent for Christmas.
Sr. Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF, D. Min., is a faith-based educational technology specialist, founder and president of Digital Disciple Network, and co-founder of Digital Discipleship Boot Camp at DDBCformation.org.
PHOTOS (T-B): CSTAR55/ISTOCK, LAWRENCE OP/CC