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Archive

The Servant Leader

December 15, 2014

Paper Snowflakes

A few years ago I was a teacher’s aide in a fourth-grade classroom. The teacher had brought out Christmas decorations, divided the class into small groups, and allowed them to decorate the classroom during the last hour of the day on a Friday before Christmas. I asked one small group, … Read more...

December 1, 2014

Construction-Paper Stockings

Overview: This may seem like an activity for younger children, but I once made these for a Christmas party for a team of college-age peer ministers at Columbia University in New York City. When he saw them at each place, one of the peer ministers (and a star athlete) exclaimed … Read more...

November 17, 2014

Give Thanks for Special People: A Communication Activity for Thanksgiving

OverviewThis communication activity invites young people to complete a sentence-starter as a quick and nonthreatening way to thank special people in their life. It is an ideal activity for Thanksgiving time because the participants are already focusing on giving thanks. Suggested TimeAbout 10 minutes. Group SizeThis strategy can be done … Read more...

November 3, 2014

Research Your Local Church

Give your students the opportunity to research your local church—its history, its bishop, its cathedral, its work of supporting parishes and its charitable outreach. You might make a list of the tabs on your local diocesan Web site and use those as your categories of research. Some examples taken from … Read more...

October 20, 2014

Broken Pots: A Lesson in Piecing Together a History

OverviewThe young people will piece together a broken pot to simulate their faith story. Each piece represents a particular aspect of their history: family, parish, prayer, youth camp, and so forth. This is a good activity for sacramental preparation classes, retreats, or sessions on religious heritage and tradition. Suggested TimeAbout … Read more...

October 6, 2014

The Narrow Door: A Guided Meditation

In their mind’s eye, young teens investigate the closets of their own bedroom, gather their possessions, and carry those belongings through a series of narrow doors. This guided meditation communicates the Gospel message of simple living in a way that engages the imagination and inspires the young people to actively … Read more...

September 22, 2014

The Gifts of God in Autumn

Materials NeededIndex cards, markers or crayons (optional) OverviewHelp the students appreciate the season of autumn by taking a short nature walk. Before the walk begins, ask the students to be prepared to notice "the gifts of God in autumn" outdoors. Among the gifts they notice, ask them to remember one … Read more...

September 8, 2014

Peacebreak: A Calendar of Peace and Justice

This activity helps young teens gain a faith-based perspective on human history by creating a calendar that highlights momentous occasions in which peace or justice has "broken out," and celebrating the lives of people who have worked for a just world. Suggested TimeThis strategy should be done over a period … Read more...

August 18, 2014

Everyday Icons

Two Sundays ago (August 10, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time) we heard the account of Elijah’s encounter with God in the cave. This scriptural account is featured in this activity, because it is centered around the ways ordinary things can help us center on the presence of God in … Read more...

July 14, 2014

On the Road Again Games

Overview The family is the first teacher, and that includes the teaching of community—how to be in a group, how to get along with others. The cooperation required in games, and the graciousness required in both winning and losing, can teach these values better than many a lecture. These are … Read more...

June 16, 2014

Growing Beans

Overview The growth of plants, seen from a spiritual point of view, is a sign of God’s love for us and a sign of our growth in the Holy Spirit. This is true both of plants that we simply enjoy (flowers) and plants that we use for food. At any … Read more...

May 19, 2014

A Monthly Baptismal Renewal Ceremony

Overview Baptismal anniversary dates for the month should be posted in a prominent place. At an appropriate time during the month, this short ceremony could be held, perhaps as the opening prayer of the class. This ceremony will remind everyone of their dignity as children of God, and will be … Read more...

May 5, 2014

Pilgrimage Prayer Day

Overview This extended activity takes prayer and the young people into the streets. Using the theme of pilgrimage, the young people embark on a journey that leads them to stop and pray outside specific locations in a town, such as a hospital, a church, a jail, and a social-service agency. … Read more...

April 21, 2014

Resurrection Relay: A Bible Learning Activity for Easter

Overview The point of this relay race is to quickly find passages on Easter themes in the four Gospels. The activity is intended to increase the young teens’ skill in using the Bible and to help them become familiar with Gospel passages that recount the Resurrection of Jesus. Suggested TimeAbout … Read more...

April 7, 2014

By His Cross and Resurrection: A Retreat on Triduum Themes

Overview This retreat covers the entire Triduum, but you may find sections of it that will be helpful in the remaining weeks of Lent. It is designed as a one-day experience, but it can also be used as an overnight event. The retreat plan includes creative, active, and reflective activities … Read more...

March 24, 2014

The Light of Christ

Overview This activity celebrates the role of light in our life. The light in our Catholic faith is Jesus, the light of the world. The young teens have an opportunity to make a prayer candleholder as a symbol of the light of Jesus shining in their lives, and as a … Read more...

March 10, 2014

Unbound!

Overview Praying for forgiveness sets us free. In this prayer the young people experience this message through a ritual of reconciliation. This strategy, which is ideal for a retreat or as a conclusion to a session on forgiveness, allows the participants to dramatically ritualize both the paralysis of sinfulness and … Read more...

February 24, 2014

Prayer Box: Creating a Portable Sacred Space

Overview This activity helps the young people understand that they can create their own sacred space for prayer wherever they are. It also helps them understand how symbols can help us focus our prayer. Suggested TimeThis activity can take 60 minutes over two sessions or be done over several weeks. … Read more...

February 10, 2014

Valentine Visit: An Outreach Event for Valentine’s Day

Overview This strategy brings a festive slant to a standard outreach project—a visit to a nursing home for older people. Such a visit allows the young people to connect with elderly people and also gives them an opportunity to discuss how older people are cared for in the community. You … Read more...

January 27, 2014

Soup-or-Bowl: A Game and Service Project for Super Bowl Sunday

Overview This combination game and service project is played in relay style by teams of young people with cans of soup that they bring as donations for the local food pantry. Suggested Time About 10 minutes, or as long as the group wants to play. Group Size Six to eight … Read more...

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