The Horizons Program
Imagine . . . a high school parish religion program so flexible you can tailor it to fit your needs perfectly!
The older teens in your parish want a youth ministry program that exposes them to relevant, real-world topics in an active, engaging way. Horizons is an innovative, comprehensive approach to religious education. Its foundation is in teacher-led, creative learning strategies that give students ample opportunities for discussion, reflection—and fun!
Designed for grades nine through twelve, Horizons utilizes a module system so that you can combine courses and topics to meet the specific needs of your parish. Seven core courses set the stage for discussing central and foundational themes. Then choose from a wide selection of age-appropriate minicourses to round out your curriculum and craft summer courses, retreats, and youth-group activities.
Our Youth Ministry Strategies component features more than 65 creative youth activities to complement the Horizons curriculum. And of course, Horizons also includes outstanding training resources.
You'll be able to create the most engaging and relevant senior high youth ministry program available anywhere.
To see all the books in the series, click on the Components tab above.
Six age-appropriate core courses form the foundation of the Horizons Program. Central religious themes are carefully integrated with prayer, examination of the Scriptures, and less religious topics. Each course consists of five two-hour sessions and includes an easy-to-use teacher's manual. No student texts are required!
Teens are thirsty for guidance and instruction on topics close to their hearts. Our minicourses complement the Horizons core courses with a wide array of age-appropriate and relevant topics. Each minicourse includes three two-hour sessions with reproducible handouts, and features active learning strategies, creative activities, dynamic prayer experiences, and opportunities for group interaction and individual reflection. Mix and match the minicourses to create a customized parish religion program for your teens!
Youth Ministry Strategies
Sixty-five field-tested, creative activities complement the core curriculum and minicourses. Ideas for community-building activities and games, prayer experiences and rituals, liturgical celebrations, and service projects center around six thematic sections. Engage your youth to make Christ's teachings relevant and fun!
As with all Saint Mary's Press programs, we offer detailed, step-by-step training videos and manuals to guide coordinators and volunteer teachers every step of the way.
Core course appropriate for grade nine. Growing in Wisdom, Age, and Grace is the foundational core course suggested for ninth-graders. In this course the young people explore two themes that hold great appeal and significance for adolescents: personal identity and relationships. The content and strategies in the course help establish the sense of trust and community upon which the entire program can be built.
Core course appropriate for grades nine and ten. Grounded in solid Scripture scholarship and contemporary Church teaching, Jesus: His Message and Mission offers young people a fresh understanding of Jesus and his message. The course includes the following central themes: the Gospels as a privileged source of information about Jesus; the significance of the Reign of God in Jesus' proclamation and ministry; Jesus' roles as teacher and healer; the meaning of his death and Resurrection; the Church as a Spirit-filled community of believers.
Minicourse appropriate for grades nine and ten. Adolescents yearn to discover what they hold in common with other young people, as well as what distinguishes them as unique persons. Such discovery helps them grow in both self-acceptance and compassion for others. Finding Your Personal Style invites the participants to explore and embrace their own personality characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses. The course then challenges them to strive for balance, integrity, and wholeness as persons and presents Jesus as the model of the fully mature person.
Minicourse appropriate for grades nine through twelve. Countless young people have embraced journal-keeping as a wonderful tool for self-discovery and for exploring the meaning of life experiences. In three highly creative and engaging sessions, Keeping a Journal introduces young people to the value of journal-keeping and exposes them to a wide variety of writing techniques and strategies. The course does not require or presume that the young people have prior experience with journals. The participants are invited not only to discover deeper dimensions of themselves but also to encounter their God in a powerfully personal way.
Minicourse appropriate for grades nine and ten. As adolescents grow toward independence, many changes occur in their relationship with their parents. New patterns of communication develop, inevitably creating tensions for both parents and young people. Parent-Teen Relationships is designed to help the young people explore the dynamics of family interaction and grow in their ability to communicate with their parents. In three highly active sessions, the participants not only learn about skills that can enhance the quality of all their relationships but also practice them.
Minicourse appropriate for grades nine and ten. Young people—like all of us—hunger for the holy. When they learn how to pray in more mature ways, they discover how to communicate more deeply with the One who is the source of all holiness. Praying All Ways helps young people grow in their understanding of the nature of prayer and then invites them to explore a variety of prayer forms and styles. They not only learn about prayer but grow in their ability to pray
Minicourse appropriate for grades nine and ten. Sacraments: Celebrating the Sacred focuses on the special graced moments in life and how those moments are celebrated within the Catholic Church's sacramental tradition. The course is grounded in the life experience of the young people themselves. It helps them to grow in their sacramental awareness, and it challenges them to be mindful of and responsive to God's presence. The course is rich in ritual prayer experiences and provides substantial information about Catholic sacramental theology and practice—all presented with engaging and active strategies.
Minicourse appropriate for grade nine and ten. Adolescence is a time when the multiple dimensions of human sexuality—physiological, interpersonal, cultural, ethical, and spiritual—become the focus of intense curiosity and concern. In a culture that often presents confusing, misguided, and even dangerous notions about sexuality, young people need solid guidance offered within the context of Christian faith and values. In three informative and creative sessions, Sexuality: Challenges and Choices provides such direction. The course also includes an optional parent component.
Core course appropriate for grades nine and ten. The Church: Its Wisdom, Works, and Worship explores the beliefs and practices that are at the heart of Roman Catholicism. After identifying in broad strokes many of the characteristics of Catholicism, the young people focus on three major dimensions of the Church's life: (1) its wisdom, that is, its central dogmas and doctrines; (2) its works, that is, its vision of the moral life, and (3) its worship, that is, its sacramental life. The course closes with a discussion of the dynamics of the spiritual life and challenges young people to live out their Baptism as Catholics.
Minicourse appropriate for grades nine through twelve. The media—television, movies, music, magazines, and computer technologies—are pervasive and increasingly influential among all age groups in our culture. Young people in particular must learn to interact with these media in healthful ways. Christian parents and educators are rightly concerned that such "media literacy" be grounded in Gospel values. Believing in a Media Culture helps young people to critically assess the mixed messages of the media through the lens of Christian faith. The participants will develop skills that they will use for a lifetime.
Minicourse appropriate for grades nine through twelve. During adolescence many young people awaken to the richness of the spiritual life. They find themselves drawn to not only reflect on but actually experience a deeper relationship with their God. Christian Meditation for Beginners is designed for such young seekers. Participants in this course learn about the basic elements of meditation and practice the skills of meditation. Aided by a 48-page booklet included in the course material, the young people do simple daily exercises. Then, when they gather for the three group sessions, they expand their knowledge and explore together the fruits of their daily meditations.
Minicourse appropriate for grades nine and ten. Young people are understandably concerned about dating and all the issues related to it: self-esteem, the difference between infatuation and love, and more. However, dating also serves as a kind of laboratory for discovering one's self-identity, for exploring the wonders (and challenges) of human relationships, and for grappling with what kind of person one wants to be—and be with—in the future. Dating and Love helps young people—those who date as well as those who are only curious about dating—to deal with all these issues and to do so within the context of Christian faith.
Minicourse appropriate for grades nine and ten. Deciding as a Christian provides young people with an opportunity to practice moral decision-making skills in real-life situations. The course directly builds on the material presented in the core course Called to Live the Gospel. In this minicourse the participants explore a variety of moral dilemmas through case studies and simulations. Then, through presentations and discussions, the Catholic faith response is clearly applied to each situation.
Minicourse appropriate for grades nine through twelve. Exploring Catholicism is a unique, flexible, and remarkably creative component of the Horizons Program. This is not a course in the usual sense. Rather, here you will find 11 independent strategies related to various dimensions of Catholic life and practice: sacramentals, the liturgical year, the role of Mary, Church history, and more.
Minicourse appropriate for grades nine through twelve. Those who live or work with adolescents can confirm what research has revealed: Young people today experience very real stress, struggle to cope with it, and often suffer from their failure to do so in healthful ways. Taking Charge: Managing Life's Struggles provides young people with the understanding and the practical skills they need not only to survive but to thrive as persons.
Core course appropriate for grades eleven and twelve. One of the most frequently identified needs of young people is a solid grounding in the Catholic understanding and interpretation of the Bible. The Bible: Power and Promise is a highly creative and effective response to that need. The ultimate aim of this core course is to prepare the young people to make the Bible a vital part of their continuing spiritual journey.
Core course appropriate for grades eleven and twelve. The call to discipleship is fundamentally a call to conversion. Participants in The Challenge of Discipleship begin by reflecting on four recurring movements of the conversion process: spiritual hunger, search, awakening, and response. Through this course young people are challenged to follow Jesus and embrace discipleship as a way of responding to the deepest hungers of their heart.
Minicourse appropriate for grades eleven and twelve. Becoming a Peacemaker speaks of peace as a reality that must begin within each person and then expand to the world of personal and group relationships. The course challenges young people to make the Christian vision of shalom a reality in their own lives and beyond.
Minicourse appropriate for grades 11-12. Challenges to Christian Spirituality helps young people discern between healthy and unhealthy religious practices. It also offers them the support they need to pursue spiritual health in a complex and often confusing world.
Minicourse appropriate for grades eleven and twelve. Death, Grief, and Christian Hope explores the meaning of the Paschal Mystery while dealing with issues such as death-denial, the acceptance of loss, the Christian concept of afterlife, and basic skills for grieving. Through it all, young people are led to encounter Jesus as someone who faced death and profoundly changed it—through his love.
Minicourse appropriate for grades eleven and twelve. Encounters with Jesus in the Gospels invites young people to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ by exploring key Gospel stories about him. Three stories that can reach the heart of a young person's experience are explored: the man born blind, the woman at the well, and the rich man.
Minicourse appropriate for grades eleven and twelve. Justice: Building God's Reign invites young people to envision a just world, helps them articulate a definition of justice, presents Catholic teaching on various social issues, and then gives them the tools to begin changing their world. The course does not focus on a single justice issue but is designed instead to help young people develop the attitudes, skills, and habits that can lead to a lifelong commitment to building the Reign of God.
Minicourse appropriate for grades eleven and twelve. Saint Paul's influence on the development of the early Church was profound. Paul: The Man and the Message is designed to help young people appreciate the life and writings of the person that some have called the "second founder" of Christianity. Ultimately, the course invites young people to a deeper appreciation of God's love and saving power in their life.
Core course appropriate for grade twelve. Moving On: Embracing the Future is the last of the seven core courses in Horizons. Designed for use with seniors, the course focuses on the major challenges facing young people as they move from adolescence into young adulthood.
Minicourse appropriate for grades eleven and twelve. For Christian believers, personal relationships are a primary manifestation of God's love and grace and the arena for our growth as disciples. However, many young people have a narrow understanding of relationships limited to dating and sex. Life-giving Relationships helps young people expand their definition to include all connections with family, friends, and acquaintances. They learn that true intimacy is more about mutual trust, openness, and growth than about "having sex." The course gives them skills for identifying unhealthy relationships and encourages them to make choices that will enable them to build healthy relationships in the future.
Minicourse appropriate for grade twelve. For most adolescents, the final year of high school is filled with a mixture of excitement, anticipation, fear, and joy. Senior Year: Last Things and Lasting Things explores the emotions and tasks that come with achieving the milestone of high school graduation. The young people focus on the various nests that have nurtured and supported them during their childhood: their family, friends, and parish community. They are invited to celebrate final events and occasions, that is, the "last things" that happen as part of senior year. They are also called to name, embrace, and ritualize the "lasting things"—the memories, learnings, and love they will take with them as they continue life's journey.
Minicourse appropriate for grades eleven and twelve. A major task of young adulthood is the discernment of one's vocation; that is, the lifework and lifestyle that enable a person to fulfill the universal call to holiness. Stewardship: Creating the Future invites older adolescents to reflect on the gifts of time, talent, and treasure entrusted to them by God. Participants hear about traditional lifestyle choices, search the Scriptures for guidance in addressing cultural values, and consider what it means to be both steward and servant in God's Reign. Throughout the course, they grapple with the fundamentals of holiness: remaining open to the movement of the Spirit and to the surprise of God's grace.
Minicourse appropriate for grades eleven and twelve. Among the many challenges they face, older adolescents must assume increased ownership of their faith journey and greater responsibility for their personal spiritual growth. As they begin the process of moving away from the supports of family and parish, they need to develop skills for nurturing their ongoing faith formation. Young Adult Faith is designed to promote such skills. The participants consider their preferred images of God, identify personally satisfying approaches to prayer, and explore concrete ways to seek spiritual nourishment. This minicourse can help empower young people to continue their journey of faith with hope and confidence.
This manual for the coordinator of the Horizons program is designed as a companion piece for the video training resource Horizons: A Video Orientation for the Program Coordinator. The manual is divided into two parts. In addition, this manual includes an annotated bibliography of useful resources for program coordinators, as well as two helpful appendices: a series of charts indicating connections between Horizons courses and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and a complete listing of the goals of all the Horizons courses.
This guide for teachers of Horizons courses is designed as a companion piece for the training video titled Horizons: A Video Workshop for Teachers. Teachers can consult their program coordinator for further information. This guide is divided into two parts. Teachers will want to use this material again and again for practical guidance in their work with young people.
Sixty-five field-tested, creative activities complement the Horizons core curriculum and minicourses. Ideas for community-building activities and games, prayer experiences and rituals, liturgical celebrations, and service projects center around six thematic sections. Engage your youth to make Christ's teachings relevant and fun!
His Message and Mission
Celebrating the Sacred
Challenges and Choices
Its Wisdom, Works, and Worship
Managing Life's Struggles
Power and Promise
Building God's Reign
The Man and the Message
Embracing the Future
Last Things and Lasting Things
Creating the Future
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Creative Activities to Complement the Horizons Curriculum