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Friendship and Forgiveness Prayer Space

An activity, including a discussion and a craft, on forgiving friends and family members, based on The Catholic Children’s Bible featured story “Jesus Teaches Us to Forgive”, Matthew 18:21–35.

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The Narrow Door: A Guided Meditation

This guided meditation communicates the Gospel message of simple living in a way that engages the imagination and inspires young people to actively simplify their lives. This activity is an excerpt from the book Justice and Service Ideas for Ministry …

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Practicing Prophecy

An activity where students are given the opportunity to imitate the prophetic model by observing the world around them and attempting to interpret injustices.

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Symbol Interviews

A series of interview questions that students can ask married couples about symbols and marriage.

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Sunday Mass: Why Go?

A worksheet that looks at the reasons why people attend Mass.

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Remembering My Confirmation

A worksheet where students are asked to interview several adults about their Confirmation experiences.

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Handout: The Answer Is

Questions about Jesus’ life and ministry.

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Questions about Elisha

An activity in the form of a talk show, Good Morning Israel, about the death of Elisha and interviewing people who came in contact with him.

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"The Fingerprints of God" Reflection Questions

A set of reflection questions on the song, “The Fingerprints of God” by Steven Curtis Chapman.

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Marriage in the New Testament

A discussion-oriented worksheet on marriage in the New Testament.

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Marriage in the Old Testament

An activity that takes a look at marriage in the Old Testament.

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Why Sacramental Marriage?

A series of short questions on Sacramental Marriage to discuss with a group, or personally respond to.

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Middle School Retreat to Learn about the Church as a Saving Community

An outline to help plan a middle school retreat focused on the Church as a saving community.

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Getting to Know Jesus

A partner activity on getting to know Jesus through Scriptural accounts of his miracles.

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The Word to the Page

A worksheet on the topic, facts, main point or theme, and moral or message of a chosen event.

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A Call to Love

A set of reflection questions, based on the four objects of love.

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Interview Questions for Family Members

Several interview questions for family members on family life and the Fourth Commandment.

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Three Scriptural Images of the Church

An activity where students are asked to respond to each of the items for each of the three scriptural images of the Church.

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The Acts of the Apostles

A group activity where students are asked to read assigned sections of Acts of the Apostles, and discuss the presented questions.

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Interview Questions for a Practicing Catholic

A list of interview questions to ask a practicing Catholic.

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Getting to Know Mary, from Section 3 Part 1 of "Jesus Christ: God's Love Made Visible"

A partner activity where Scripture passages are used to get to know Mary.

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The Pastoral and Catholic Epistles

A group assignment on the Pastoral and Catholic Epistles.

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The Body of Christ

A customizable assignment on different issues, locations, and groups of people around the world, in relation to the Church, the Body of Christ.

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Paul's Response to the Early Christian Communities

A group assignment on Paul’s response to the early Christian communities.

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The Apostles Peter and Paul

A series of questions on the Apostles Peter and Paul, to be answered in a small group.

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Cities of the Roman Empire

A group assignment on the cities of the Roman Empire.

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The Gospel of John and Anti-Semitism

A group activity on the Gospel of John and anti-Semitism.

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Analyzing Artistic Depictions of the Book of Glory

A group activity where students analyze the artistic depictions of the Book of Glory.

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Old Testament Themes and Images in John's Prologue

A worksheet on the Old Testament themes and images in the prologue of the Gospel of John.

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Exploring John's Christology

A worksheet where the critical questioning method is used to explore John’s Christology.

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Comparing and Contrasting the Passion and Resurrection Narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke

A group worksheet on comparing and contrasting the Passion and Resurrection narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

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Comparing and Contrasting Infancy Narratives

A group worksheet on comparing and contrasting infancy narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

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The Reign of God in the Gospel of Luke and Today

A group worksheet on how the Reign of God is presented in the Gospel of Luke and in today’s culture.

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The Reign of God in the Gospel of Luke

A group worksheet on how the Reign of God is presented in the Gospel of Luke.

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Jesus, the Teacher

A group worksheet on Jesus, the teacher.

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Jesus and the Law of Moses

A group worksheet that compares different scriptural texts.

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Exegetical Methodology: Sociohistorical Criticism

A group assignment on exegetical methodology: sociohistorical criticism.

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Exegetical Methodology: Literary Criticism

A group activity on using exegetical methodology to analyze Scripture.

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Literary Analysis of Luke 10:25-37

A partner discussion of Luke 10:25-37.

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Contextual Reading of Scripture

An activity where students read selected Scripture quotes and generate a list of questions that they want to ask of the text to further understand why it was written.

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Preassessment Pair Activity

A preassessment activity where students work in pairs to match definitions and vocabulary words.

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Sunday Lectionary Readings: God’s Ongoing Story of Love for Humanity

A group assignment on several sets of Sunday Lectionary readings.

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Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum, 1965)

A worksheet that examines several chapters of "Dei Verbum" using group discussion.

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Socratic Seminar Symbol Codes

A list of symbol codes used to evaluate the Socratic Seminar method.

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The Socratic Seminar

A handout on the Socratic Seminar method, which is a class seminar that gives students the opportunity to test their analytical and discussion skills through oral debate.

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Socratic Seminar: Israel's Demand for a King

Instructions for an in-class debate on Israel’s demand for a King.

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Israel in Egypt

A worksheet where students are asked to work in groups to read Scripture passages that illustrate the development of the Israelite community and identity.

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Small Passage Midrash, from “The Catholic Youth Bible” Old Testament Teacher Guide

An activity where students read an assigned Scripture passage of the mythical genre and then work on interpreting what they have read, from “The Catholic Youth Bible” Old Testament Teacher Guide.

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Socratic Seminar Symbol Codes

Socratic seminar symbol codes to help quickly evaluate a seminar speaker.

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The Socratic Seminar

A reading on the process and expectations for the Socratic Seminar debate.

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A Preassessment of My Knowledge of the Sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony

The leader’s copy of several preassessment questions and answers used to gauge students’ knowledge of the Sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony.

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The Disciples on the Road to Emmaus Part II

Discussion questions based on The Disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).

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If I Ruled the World

A worksheet that asks students to think about how they would solve different social justice issues if they ruled the world.

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Introspect and Interview

A worksheet on introspect and knowledge gained from interviews on important life issues including abortion, in vitro fertilization, stem-cell research, euthanasia, the death penalty, and immigration.

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Justice Conversation Starters

A list of several conversation starters or self-reflection questions on the topic of justice.

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Life in the Holy Spirit

A number of real-world scenarios that deal with the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

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Dilemma Questions

A set of questions based on real-world situations and dilemmas that a person may be dealing with.

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Using a Mind Map

A reading on using a mind map, which is a creative way to introduce a concept.

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The Meaning of Redemption (II)

A set of discussion questions centered around the meaning of Redemption: a matter of unconditional love, from "The Sacraments: Encounters with Christ."

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Sacramental Symbols in Scripture

A listing of scripture passages and complementary discussion questions from “The Sacraments: Encounters with Christ.”

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Preassessment

The Leader’s Guide for a preassessment of students’ knowledge of the Sacraments.

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Story Critique

Guidelines for critiquing “What is My Story?” from “The Sacraments: Encounters with Christ.”

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What Is My Story?

An activity based on reflecting on moments in your life in which you faced a significant challenge, from “The Sacraments: Encounters with Christ.”

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Using the Card Deal Method

An instructional guide for using the card deal method, from "Christian Morality: Our Response to God's Love."

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Red Card Green Card Process

The red card, green card process enables you to take a quick agree-or-disagree opinion poll to initiate discussion on a particular unit topic.

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Scripture Readings for Celebrating the Rite of Marriage

A list of Scripture readings that can be included in celebrating the Rite of Marriage, from "Christian Morality: Our Response to God's Love."

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Jigsaw Analysis of Primary Source Readings

A group activity dealing with the concept of human sexuality, from "Christian Morality: Our Response to God's Love."

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Unit 6 Preassessment Questions

A preassessment for Unit 6 of "Christian Morality: Our Response to God's Love."

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Martyrs in the Twentieth Century

A group discussion sheet on martyrs in the twentieth century, from "Christian Morality: Our Response to God's Love."

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Public Life and Faithful Citizenship

Group discussion questions, based on a reading assignment, on public life and faithful citizenship, from "Christian Morality: Our Response to God's Love."

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Fiddler on the Roof

Questions for discussion for "Fiddler on the Roof" from "Christian Morality: Our Response to God's Love."

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What is a Sin against the First and Second Commandment

A small group activity on sins against the first and second commandment, from "Christian Morality: Our Response to God's Love."

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Psalms of Praise

An activity dealing with the Psalms of Praise, from "Christian Morality: Our Response to God's Love."

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Determing the Elements of Human Acts

A worksheet on determining the elements of human acts from "Christian Morality: Our Response to God's Love."

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Gospel Reflection on Sin and Salvation

A Gospel reflection on sin and salvation from "Christian Morality: Our Response to God's Love."

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Survey Summary Life in Christ

A survey summary for "Christian Morality: Our Response to God's Love."

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Finding Salt and Light for the World

This worksheet is part of the Living in Christ Series. It helps students reflect on various gifts, skills and virtues they might posesses in order to discern specific ministries they might be good at.

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An Examination of Conscience

This resource is part of the Living in Christ Series. It offers great reflection questions for going through an examination of conscience, dividing the questions into those referring to love of God, and those referring to love of neighbor. This …

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Sharing in the Ministry of Jesus: Priest, Prophet, and King

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Groups of students can answer questions about Jesus as Priest, Prophet or King and reflect on models and characteristics of these distinct but related ministries.

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Reflection Questions: The Call to Holiness

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students can reflect on what it means to be holy and how to grow in holiness through these series of questions.

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The Prodigal Son A Story of Conversion

This worksheet is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students can reflect on and answer questions about the conversion of the Prodigal Son.

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Heroes of Prayer

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students are asked to research and answer questions about a "Hero of Prayer", including doubt they experienced and prayers they used.

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Music and Liturgy

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students can reflect on various songs and pieces of music in the liturgy to come to a greater understanding.

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Reflections on Suffering

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students can reflect on their experiences of and response to suffering through this series of though-provoking questions.

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Redemptive Suffering in the Ministry of Jesus

This worksheet is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students must look up various scripture passages referring to Jesus' suffering and answer questions about the scenario and the significance of redemptive suffering.

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Common Beliefs about Suffering

This activity allows students to reflect on a series of questions about human suffering and God's participation in it. They can agree or disagree with various statements of commonly held beliefs about suffering.

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Why We Go to Mass Reflection and Discussion Questions

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students are asked to reflect on and discuss the significance of the Mass through these questions.

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Visual Meditation on the Ascension

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students may reflect on images of Jesus' Ascension and answer these questions.

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Redemptive Love in The Spitfire Grill

This worksheet is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students can answer questions about the themes and characters in the movie, "The Spitfire Grill".

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The Miracles of Jesus

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students can work in groups to look up passages of some of Jesus' miracles and reflect on them together.

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Reading the Parables

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students must look up some of Jesus' parables and answer questions about the analogy and imagery used and the message being given about the Kingdom of God.

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Symbols of Baptism

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. It invites students to reflect on the significance of key symbols used in baptism.

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The Baptism of Jesus

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students can read the account of Jesus' baptism and answer questions about it.

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Interview Questions about Your Baptism

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students ask the provided to questions to adults who can tell them about the details of that student's baptism. A reflection on the significance of the sacrament is done at …

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The Parable of Juan and the Fishbowl Reflection

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students can answer basic, advanced, and highly reflective questions about the story.

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Using the Lectionary to Understand How God’s Ancient Promises Are Fulfilled in Jesus

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students can use this handout to explore some Old Testament prophecies that find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

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Redemptive Love: Simon Birch

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students watching the movie "Simon Birch" can use this handout to follow along and reflect on major themes in the film.

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Where Have Jesus, Mary, the Apostles, Disciples, and Others Modeled the Ways to Discipleship?

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students are asked to reflect on the discipleship modeled by Jesus, Mary, the Apostles, and others.

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Definitions and Application of Theological Terms

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students can use this chart to fill in the definiton of various terms, then find a practical application for their life.

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Cross the Line

This article is part of the Living in Christ Series. It introduces a method of classroom discussion that is interactive and a part of the bodily-kinesthetic learning method. Students move to indicate their responses to various questions.

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Compare and Contrast: Abraham and Moses

In this exercise the students compare and contrast the covenant experiences of Abraham and Moses to gain a deeper understanding of the role of covenant in the history of the Jewish people.

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Senses of Scripture and the Annunciation

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students can analyze the story of the Annunciation through the literal, moral, spiritual, anagogical, and allegorical sense of interpretation.

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Learning About Learning

This worksheet is part of the Living in Christ Series. It asks students to reflect on their responses, likes, and dislikes to new learning methods.

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Pentecost

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students can read the account of Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles and answer questions about it.

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The Ascension of Jesus

This worksheet is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students can read the account of Jesus' Ascension and answer questions about it.

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Leadership Statements

This worksheet is part of the Living in Christ Series. It includes several statesments about leadership in the Bible, including who's called, what skills are necessary, and what it takes to be a good leader.

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What Kind of Leader Is Moses?

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students are asked to look up verses and make assessments about Moses' leadership in the Old Testament.

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Sprint Through Salvation History Scriptural Passages

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students are asked to explore the Bible for key events in the Old and New Testaments in Salvation History.

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Etymology and Understanding

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students define, associate, and find similaries among various words that a teacher or catechist assigns, in order to see the root and relationship between them.

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Interview Questions: Personal Relationship with Jesus

This activity is part of the Living in Christ Series. Students are to interview an adult in their life whom they know that has a personal relationship with Jesus.

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Pass the Bag: A Biblical Affirmation Exercise

Class activity that familiarizes them with scriptural values, increases vocab, and ups self-esteem

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Let Your Light Shine: An Overnight Retreat on Self-Esteem

This overnight retreat on self-esteem invites the young people to explore their own personal gifts and encourages them to share those abilities with others. The retreat emphasizes the light of Christ in our Life, the special people who bring us …

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Four of a Kind

In class activity to help students share with each other

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Fears: A Discussion Exercise for Halloween

Exercise to do in class, for catechist

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Paul: A Unique Person

Background for the Teacher Saint Paul has fascinated Christians throughout history. The combination of his Jewish upbringing, his exposure to Greek culture, his fiery personality, and his openness to God's grace uniquely prepared him to spread the Gospel. This session …

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Paul: A Profound Conversion

[Saul] heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Acts of the Apostles 9:4) It was on his way to Damascus that Paul was struck down by God and blinded. A brilliant light from heaven …

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Paul: Persecutor of Christians

Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women . . . To prison. (Acts of the Apostles 8:3) Convinced that following the teachings of Jesus was wrong, Paul pursued the early Christians …

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Paul: Religious Zeal

I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. (Galatians 1:14) A tent maker by trade, Paul's Jewish name was Saul. But because Paul …

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Leader's Guide for The Master's Companion: A Christian Midrash

Table of Contents Beyond Scripture Helpful Hints for Using and Creating Midrash with Young People Classroom Activities Chapter 1: The Small Black Dog with the White Foot (John 4:1-30)--compassion for animals Chapter 2: A Night in the Garden (John 4:39-45)--significance …

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Leader's Guide for Coyote Meets Jesus

Stories are not just for young children. Everyone loves a good story and good storytelling is a useful tool for teaching. Using folktales as a teaching tool in a catechetical setting or a religion class can help teens understand the …

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The First Address from Pope Benedict XVI

"Grace and peace in abundance to all of you! In my soul there are two contrasting sentiments in these hours. On the one hand, a sense of inadequacy and human turmoil for the responsibility entrusted to me yesterday as the …

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National Bible Week: Daily Reading - A Gift to Me

A Gift to Me He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34) Throughout this Gospel, Mark shows …

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Peace Creed

Writing a Peace Creed (15 minutes) 1. Tell the young people that as much as we might want peace to become a reality in our world, being a peacemaker takes a lot of hard work. The first steps are to …

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Prayer: How Will You Know?

Reader 1: When do you decide how you will live? What goes into the thoughts that shape your dreams? Reader 2: For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, Reader 1: Do you know, at …

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Family Relationships

Scripture Passage Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"-- this is the first commandment with a promise: "so that it may be well with you and you may live long on …

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Word-Association Exercise: Afterlife

(30 minutes) Prior to this exercise, have the all participants (including the facilitator) bring to the session a personal symbol. This symbol should be an object from among the participant's personal belongings that acts as a reminder of a much …

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The Final Beginning: Ascension and Pentecost

Overview After Jesus' death, his followers were fearful, angry, grief-stricken, confused, and shattered. About fifty days later, at Pentecost, they were confident, joyful, determined, committed, and passionate. This topic of this session covers the time from the Resurrection until the …

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Reflection Exercise: My Least Answerable Questions

(5 minutes) 1. Introduce this exercise by reiterating the idea that death is mystery and that since the beginning of time, people of all ages, cultures, and races have asked tough questions about death. Jesus himself struggled with such questions. …

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The Power of Song

(25-35 minutes) Preparation Bring in a recording of an African American sacred song, or invite a local gospel choir or your school or parish choir to come in and perform such a song. A good resource for music is Lead …

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January 22: Saying Yes to Life

Preparation Bring in pictures of fetal development. 1. Present a scenario in which a girl like those in your group experiences a crisis pregnancy. Then list on the board a number of options, such as these: She can keep the …

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Advent: Saint Joseph and Jesus

1. Gather the group in a circle for a moment of silence. Light the candle and read these passages about Joseph in the Gospel of Matthew (1:18-21 and 2:13-15). Ask the group to sit quietly for a moment and ponder …

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A New Rock: Adaptations for Home Use

These activities are easily adapted for family members at home. When gathered for a meal, or for the specific purpose of these activities, family members can do one activity, a couple, or all of them, depending on the amount of time …

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Be At Peace Among Yourselves

"Be at peace among yourselves." (1 Thessalonians 5:13) "None of us is alone in this world; each of us is a vital piece of the great mosaic of humanity as a whole." (Pope John Paul II, Israel-Palestine) Think About That …

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A Listening Session for Teens on the Mishandling of Sexual Abuse by Clergy

Materials Needed * a 3-by-5-inch index card for each young person * a pencil for each young person * prayer materials (Select one of the "Options for Ritual Actions" below.) * 3 readers for the closing prayer                                                                                                                 * handouts …

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Moral Decision Making and Real-Life Applications

If you have used the Saint Mary's Press textbook Growing in Christian Morality, then you're familiar with the LISTEN process for making moral decisions. The process is introduced in the textbook and is used throughout the companion student casebook. LISTEN …

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On the Frontier of Justice in Ghana

"Africa has been the land of hope, salvation, and redemption. Abraham had come to Africa, Joseph from slave to savior. It was the land of refuge for Jesus and helped to carry his cross. Will we continue to dismiss Africa …

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The Meal Ministry of Jesus

Ask the students to recall their favorite meal celebration. What made it so special? What was the occasion? Where were they? Who was present? What did they eat? What else happened there? Invite them to share with the class the …

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Hunchback of Notre Dame: A Movie Activity

Disney's 1996 movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame can serve as a great starting point for discussions on the following topics: Moral Development. One can find examples of Quasi relying on childlike, adolescent and adult morality--which makes sense for an …

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The Elephant Man

I use a "carousel" activity with the movie The Elephant Man (1980, Paramount Video, 125 minutes) when teaching my lifestyles course. It works like this. After viewing the movie, I ask the students to call out the names of all …

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What Every Teen Should Know

I often joke with my students that they help me parent my children! When my daughter Ellie was turning thirteen, all of a sudden I was struck with this idea that turned out to be an awesome activity for my …

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Patch Adams - Movie Reflection

Patch Adams is a great movie to use with students! It is the fact-based story of Hunter "Patch" Adams, the founder of the Gesundheit Clinic. Robin Williams plays the lead character with grace and skill. Synopsis: After spending some time …

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Processing Service Experiences

I have been involved with our school's service-learning program for over ten years as a classroom teacher. Because the program is integrated fully in the religion, English, and social studies curriculum, we have made a commitment to processing the material …

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Intergenerational Service Project

Objectives to provide layette and nursery supplies for families in need to bring together girls and women to serve, build community, and pray to stimulate intergenerational dialogue among girls and women to reflect on the physical and emotional needs of …

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The Color Purple

A CAUTIONARY NOTE: One of the criticisms of The Color Purple is that it depicts the men in the story as primarily abusive. Also, this movie is PG-13, mostly because of the violence and strong language. We recommend the movie …

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Names and Images of God

Fill in the three columns ("Names for God," "Images of God," "Feelings Evoked by Names and Images") for each of the age categories in which you have lived to date. In the "Names for God" box, list all the names …

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Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Step 1: Look at the situation What exactly is happening? Why is it happening? Who is involved? What are their motives? How is it happening, that is, by what means or method? When and where is it happening? Step 2: …

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Building Faith Community in the High School

In a workshop entitled "The Catholic High School as Faith Community," religion teachers, campus ministers, and school administrators discussed, among many things, the obstacles they face in trying to build faith community in their school. One obstacle they addressed was …

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Questions for God

In a course on faith that he teaches at De La Salle Academy in New York City, David Detje, FSC, uses the film Oh, God! to shake up the students' notions of what God is like. He has gotten some …

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Taking Off on the Ten Commandments

This classroom strategy is based on a method used by Fr. Steve Brice while teaching religion at Aquinas High School, La Crosse, Wisconsin. Young people love humor and satire. One way to alleviate pressures students feel from the culture around …

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Community Service Courses:

This past semester, at the end of a year-long service program at a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed youth, two students from my community service course wrote a poem to express the significance of their experiences. These are the …

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Using Imaginative Retellings in Teaching the Bible

Biblical stories have been imaginatively retold over and over again for centuries. A particular type of retelling, in which students assume the role of a biblical character then retell the story using a first-person point of view, has proven effective …

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Kinds of Relationships

Margaret Kueberth, a religion teacher at the Catholic High School of Baltimore, passed on two of her exercises that can be used in a sexuality or lifestyles course. The first exercise, which can be made into a handout, serves as …

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The Mirror Has Two Faces

We live in a culture obsessed with sex, and our students soak up that message in music, television, and film. I am astounded at how explicit the sexual dynamics, innuendo, and situations in typical teen dramas (witness "Dawson’s Creek," "Felicity," …

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Praying the Psalms

Remember the television show from the late 80's called "Doogie Howser, M.D.?" At the end of every show, Doogie would sit down at his computer and write a 2 or 3 sentence "blurb" that perfectly summed up his day and …

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Catholic Identity

For a couple of years, Saint Mary's Press sponsored a listserv discussion group online. Discussions on a variety of topics were pursued via e-mail. In this article I hope to summarize some of the highlights from postings on the timely …

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