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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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Who Does the Movie Say Killed Jesus?

Much of the controversy about The Passion of the Christ centers around one question: Who killed Jesus? The Anti-Defamation League feels the movie lays the blame at the feet of the Jews. Mel Gibson, the movie's director, producer and cowriter, …

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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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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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Frequently Asked Questions About the Pope

What is the pope? The pope is the bishop of the Church of Rome, Italy. Because of the importance of Rome, Tradition recognizes the pope as the supreme pastor of all Christians. Why is the Church of Rome so important? …

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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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Wrestling with Diversity

How do we welcome non-Christians into our schools and our religion classrooms, and at the same time give witness to our own Christ-centered faith? How do we invite students to learn from and respect other faith traditions without sending the …

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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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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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Six Ways to be Truly Catholic

I always thought that I would have made a great archbishop in Salzburg during the time of Mozart. But instead I'm the archbishop of Milwaukee in the time of rock 'n' roll. That's the way life turns out. We live …

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Using Literature in Theology Classes

Editor's note: The author of our feature article, Kathleen Hodapp, was one of the participants in last summer's workshop "The Catholic High School As Faith Community," held here in Winona, Minnesota, as well as on the East Coast and the …

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Service and Justice

We are standing on the brink, and our bishops are urging us to jump. Many of us don't know where we'll end up, and we aren't sure whether we'll land in one piece. Yet the sense of urgency is building, …

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The Power of Parables

We all know that a good story will almost always act as an excellent springboard for reflection. Jesus' most effective teaching tool was the parable. He would gather his disciples and tell them a story with a message that moved …

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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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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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Once Upon A Time: Using Student-Generated Stories in Religion Classes

Religion classes should be interesting, if not compelling, and they can be if what is interesting is determined by the students. This, of course, is not a new approach. Learner-centered educational theories have been popular for decades. Using story as …

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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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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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