Greetings from Pflaum Publishing Group!
This October is special. It marks the beginning of the Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI. The celebration begins on October 11, and children will be pleased to know that they can be part of the Church’s celebration by learning more about their faith and by sharing their faith with others.
Invite your students to begin the yearlong celebration with We All Belong. Activities in this special newsletter feature help kids at each level of the Pflaum Gospel Weeklies to look at what it means to belong to the Church and at how they can share their faith.
This is also the month in which Pope Benedict XVI will canonize seven new saints. Look for the stories of two of the new saints in Saints of the Month.
To send future issues of this newsletter to an associate or to download a printable version, click on the links in the blue bar above.
This issue of the newsletter is available online at pflaum.com/pgwnewsletter. Look for the November issue in your inbox on October 17.
Previewing the October Pflaum Gospel Weeklies Newsletter
This issue of the newsletter features ideas for October 7, 2012, the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, through October 28, 2012, the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
- October 7—One of the messages found in the Gospel for this Sunday is that children are special to Jesus. He tells his disciples that his kingdom belongs to children and to those who come to the kingdom with the openness of children. (Mark 10:2-16)
- October 14—When a rich young man asks what he must do to enter the kingdom of God, Jesus tells him to sell what he owns and give the money to the poor. (Mark 10:17-30)
- October 21—Jesus teaches his disciples that whoever wishes to become great must serve others. (Mark 10:35-45)
- October 28—Because of Bartimaeus’ faith, Jesus heals his blindness. (Mark 10:46-52)
This Month’s Features
- Saints of the Month—Introduce your students to two new saints—St. Marianne Cope and St. Kateri Tekakwitha. The colorful life stories of these saints show how the great serve others.
- We All Belong—Make belonging to the Church and sharing faith your themes for this first month of the Year of Faith. Choose from the age-appropriate activities in this special feature to help children begin their celebration of the Church.
- Student Activities—Seeds children learn how important and special children are from a story in which a small child saves the day for her family. Promise children role-play the story of blind Bartimaeus and use special sunglasses to look for signs of God’s goodness. In their study of the Commandments, Good News children focus on the Commandments to keep the Sabbath holy, to honor their parents, and to respect life in all people. Venture students explore the Gospel for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time to learn about true greatness. Visions students reflect on the Gospel to ask and answer, “Jesus, what do you want me to do for you?”
- PGW Online—Download and print activities and resources to reinforce your lessons, to focus your students’ attention, and to share with parents for use at home. Children can share with their parents what they have learned about the Year of Faith by taking home the introduction featured online this fall. Look for “The Year of Faith” in the Catholic Culture resources.
Also look for engaging activities to bring a brand new saint—St. Kateri Tekakwitha—to life as a role model for Catholic children. Activities for Promise, Good News, Venture, and Visions focus on the first Native American woman to be proclaimed a saint.
New this fall, activities for Seeds and Promise children are now available in Spanish as well as English.
Go to pflaumweeklies.com/PGWOnline and choose pages to print to use in class or to send home with students. Or, send notes home to suggest pages for parents to download and print.
- Catechist to Catechist—Students in Beth Vos’ fourth grade class prepare for All Saints’ Day with an activity that has them learning about the saints and practicing many other important skills at the same time.
Saints of the Month
Saint Marianne Cope (1838-1918)
Maria Anna Barbara Cope was born in Germany in 1838. Just two years later her family moved to the United States and settled in Utica, New York. Maria grew up in an American working-class family. One of eight children, she left school after the eighth grade to help support her family. She worked for nine years in a factory before she joined the Sisters of Saint Francis in Syracuse, New York, and took the name Sister Marianne.
Sister Marianne took her vows in 1863, and eventually became the Mother Superior of a convent. But in 1883, when King Kalàkaua of Hawaii asked for help in caring for the lepers of his kingdom, Mother Marianne’s life took an unexpected turn. She and six other Franciscan sisters answered the king’s call.
When the sisters began their work at the Kakaako Receiving Station for people suspected of having leprosy, they found terrible conditions. Their first task was to improve this facility, and they went on to build a hospital and a school for girls as well.
Then Mother Marianne received a request from another missionary—Father Damien. He had contracted leprosy from those he cared for and knew he was dying. He asked Mother Marianne to care for those in the leper colony on Molokai.
In 1888, Mother Marianne moved to the leper colony on Kalaupapa Peninsula to continue Father Damien’s work, and she never left. She became known as Mother Marianne of Molokai. She and her sisters provided the best of care for Father Damien’s people. The fact that neither Mother Marianne nor any of her sisters contracted the disease is considered a miracle. She died in 1918, after suffering a heart attack.
Father Damien Joseph de Veuster of Molokai was proclaimed a saint on October 11, 2009, becoming the first saint of Hawaii. This year, Hawaii will have another saint—St. Marianne Cope, whose feast day is January 23. The Church honors St. Damien on May 10.
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680)
Kateri Tekakwitha was born about forty miles west of what is now Albany, NY. She was the daughter of an Algonquin Catholic woman who was captured and given in marriage to a Mohawk chief who was not Catholic. During a smallpox epidemic that struck when Kateri was just a toddler, she not only lost her parents and a younger brother, but also contracted the disease and was disfigured and partially blinded by it.
Kateri was adopted by her uncle and cared for by his family and the women of her community. Even as a young girl, she was impressed by the faith of the Jesuits who lived among her people, but she did not seek religious instruction because she feared her uncle’s angry reaction. When she was 18, she finally summoned up the courage to ask to receive instruction and was baptized a year later, on Easter Sunday. At her Baptism, she was given the name Catherine in honor of St. Catherine of Sienna. Catherine was pronounced Kateri in the language of her people.
After her Baptism, Kateri was always in danger. Her conversion and her holy life put her at odds with her uncle and brought her harsh treatment. On the advice of one of the Jesuits, she fled, walking nearly 200 miles to reach a Catholic Indian village at Sault St. Louis, near Montreal, Canada. There she received spiritual direction from a priest and an older Iroquois woman and continued to grow in holiness. She devoted herself to long hours of prayer and to helping others, and practiced extreme fasting dedicated to bringing about the conversion of her people. At 23, contrary to her culture in which a woman was considered to need the protection of a husband, she took a vow of virginity.
Kateri died just a year later, at 24. Witnesses reported that, at her death, the marks left by small pox and the emaciation caused by fasting disappeared, and she looked like a healthy, smiling child.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha will be the first Native American woman to be declared a saint. Her feast day is July 14.
- Share with Seeds and Promise children some beautiful pictures of Hawaii that include brightly colored flowers and flourishing palm trees. After sharing the story of St. Marianne Cope, point out that the part of Hawaii where the lepers lived was not beautiful. It was a bare, rocky place where strong winds blew all the time.
Tell them that Mother Marianne was sad when she saw where the sick people lived. She and the other sisters got busy. They cleaned and fixed up the health center; they planted flowers and vegetables; they talked to the sick people; they were kind and patient; they smiled and laughed. The work and love of Mother Marianne and the other sisters made the place beautiful, and they made life better for the people.
Continue this discussion with one of the following activities, which include age-appropriate art projects. One activity is designed especially for Seeds children and the other for Promise children.
Ask Seeds children to share stories, without naming names, about people they know who are sick or lonely or who need to be cheered up. Begin by offering your own example. Ask the children if they would like to give some beautiful flowers to these people. Give each child a coloring picture of large flowers. It would be good if the picture was of tropical flowers, but any large, easy-to-color flowers will be fine.
Encourage the children to color the flowers with love and to work as carefully as they can. As they finish coloring, help each child write a short message on the coloring page. For example, “Nana, get better soon.” Remind the children to give their beautiful pictures to the persons for whom they made them. You may want to send home a note to parents, asking them to help their children to deliver the pictures and messages.
Ask Promise children to name attitudes and actions that they consider ugly. Lead the children to identify attitudes such as being mean and actions such as making fun of someone, pushing and shoving, and excluding others. Ask the children to think of and mention ways to “clean up” and change these actions and attitudes.
Tell the children that they are going to make palm trees to remind them to make life a little more beautiful in their homes, classroom, and playground. Give each child a pencil, scissors, and two squares of green paper, each large enough on which to trace a handprint. Ask children to trace their left hands on one sheet of paper and their right hands on the other, both without the thumbs. Then have children cut out the handprints.
Have palm tree trunks ready on a sheet of poster board or on a bulletin board. You can create the tree trunks by crushing and shaping brown tissue paper or by enlarging and cutting out clip art or photos of palm trees. Ask the children to write on each of their handprints one thing they will do to improve an ugly attitude or action in their lives. Encourage all who wish to share what they have written, but assure children that no one will be forced to share. Then invite children to come forward one by one, and help them to staple or paste their handprints onto the tree trunks to resemble palm fronds.
At the beginning of the next meeting, ask children how they are doing with their beautification projects.
- Ask Good News children to think of some of the chores they do at home and at school. Explain that, as a child, St. Kateri Tekakwitha worked inside most of the time because she couldn’t see well. She became skilled at cooking and repairing household items and even canoes. Sometimes she was also needed to work in the fields and harvest the crops. When she had a chance, she liked to go alone into the forest near the village to pray. She made small crosses and left them at places where she liked to stop and pray.
Invite each Good News child to make a small cross as a reminder to take time out to pray. Provide a variety of materials such as twigs, corn cobs, dried corn husks, dried beans, beads, pebbles, and leather laces. Encourage children to think of places where they will be sure to see their crosses every day and be reminded to pray.
- Tell Venture children that Tekakwitha was the name St. Kateri Tekakwitha’s people gave her after her vision was impaired by smallpox. In the language of the saint’s people, Tekakwitha means “moving all things before her” or “she who feels her way.”
Briefly discuss what stood in St. Kateri Tekakwitha’s way in living as a Christian. What obstacles did she have to overcome? After all who wish have contributed to the discussion, invite Venture children to experience the daily difficulties the saint experienced because of her impaired vision.
You will need several scarves or lengths of gauze that, when used as blindfolds, will limit children’s vision and make objects appear indistinct. Arrange an obstacle course in a large carpeted area where the students can move around easily. For obstacles, use soft objects such as bean bag chairs, piles of cushions, stuffed animals, and so on, so that no one will be hurt.
Blindfold the children, ask them to hold hands, and lead them into the space where you have set up the obstacle course. Have children stand on one side of the room while you go to the opposite side. Instruct them to follow the sound of your voice to get to the other side of the room. Remind them to put their hands out in front of them so they don’t crash into other children and to test their paths with one of their feet so they don’t trip over any obstacles. A good safeguard might be to use the word Freeze! to signal to children that they need to stop in order to avoid collisions or obstacles.
When all the children have found their way to the opposite side of the room, have them sit in a circle, still blindfolded. In silence, pass around a small crucifix, a rosary, and a Bible, one at a time. When a child identifies an object, he or she passes it on to the person on his or her right without saying out loud what the object is. After all three objects have been passed and all the children have had a chance to identify them, allow the children to remove their blindfolds. Ask children how each of these objects can help them to reach the goal they share with St. Kateri Tekakwitha—to grow closer to Jesus.
- Visions students will be impressed by the desire, determination, courage, and commitment that St. Kateri Tekakwitha showed in her journey to live out her faith.
Have students form three study groups (or six, if you have a large class). Assign one of the following topics to each group. Provide resource materials and, if possible, Internet access. If Internet access is not available, groups may need to arrange to work together outside the regular meeting time.
- Make a map showing a possible route of the 200-mile journey Kateri made. Show present-day towns, cities, and landmarks, such as Albany, New York, Sault St. Louis, the border between New York and Canada, and so on.
- Prepare a visual presentation and brief report on places students could visit to learn more about and honor St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Offer as examples St. Francis Xavier Mission Church in Kahnawake, Quebec (near Montreal) where Kateri is buried, the National Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine in Fonda, New York, and the North American Martyrs’ Shrine in Auriesville, New York.
- Make a timeline of St. Kateri Tekakwitha’s spiritual journey. Highlights can include: learning about God from her Christian mother and other Christians; receiving instruction from Jesuit missionaries; her Baptism on Easter Sunday; receiving First Communion the following Christmas; her life of prayer; her journey to Canada; her participation in daily Mass; her sacrifice for and service to others.
We All Belong
Choose from activities in this special feature to help children begin to understand what it means to be a member of the Church community and how they can share their faith.
- Children need to feel that they belong—to a family, to a class, to a community, to the Church. Older students may wish to design a logo to display on T-shirts or create a special greeting to say when they gather with their groups to hear the Gospel lessons. Or, they may wish to create and wear friendship bracelets that identify their group. Check out your local craft store for inexpensive fabric pens and colored foam sheets for these projects.
Younger children can string beads on yarn and add foam shapes to create nametags to be worn when they meet for the Gospel lessons.
- Young children will enjoy looking at photos of their group that are taken throughout the year. Keep a digital camera handy and ask a helper—a parent or older student—to take photos of the children at work and at prayer. Display these on a bulletin board and change the photos often. Or use a three-ring binder and clear plastic page protectors to create a photo album. Store the album in a backpack, along with a Bible storybook. If you like, designate a stuffed animal the group’s mascot and add the animal to the backpack. Allow children to take turns carrying the bag home and sharing its contents with their families.
It may also be possible to share photos of your group on your parish’s website. Check this possibility with the director of Christian formation, school principal, or pastor.
- Children can help to create a birthday bulletin board decorated with paper cupcakes and with pictures of themselves. Create a template for cupcake shapes that children can trace and cut out from pink construction paper. Allow children to sponge paint white tempera “frosting” on the top of their cupcakes. Label each cupcake with the date of a child’s birthday. Cover the bulletin board with dark blue paper to create a background. Staple the cupcakes on the board. Mount the children’s photos, one on each cupcake, and add the title “We Are Growing Up with Christ” to the board. Cut out a supply of birthday candles from pastel paper. When a child celebrates a birthday, allow the child to add a paper candle to his or her cupcake. This activity will help young children to learn classmates’ names and to celebrate one another’s special days.
- Children bond when they join with others as a group to support a cause such as ending hunger. The mission of Heifer International is to end hunger and to care for the Earth. Children can collect their pennies, dimes, and quarters and, through Heifer International, purchase a goat, a cow, or other livestock to help a needy family raise its standard of living. Go to www.heifer.org for more information. Did you know that $20.00 will buy chicks that, as hens, can lay 200 eggs each year?
- Older students can work with their groups to earn money to donate to a good cause. Help students to come up with a practical way to raise money and to select a local charity to support. Or, students may choose other ways to provide help for those who need it. See the examples described in “Kids in Service” on page 8 of Visions for October 14, 2012.
- To encourage inclusion and tolerance of differences, plan for your group of older students to help at a soup kitchen or food bank. Check for opportunities for your students to work with parish organizations already serving at a soup kitchen or food bank.
- If you work with middle school students, remember that forming cliques is normal behavior for this age. Provide opportunities for children to work in pairs or teams to share their talents to complete service projects. These opportunities can build team spirit and help younger adolescents bond with one another.
“Hooray for Jamie!” October 7, 2012
Children this age should be able to:
- recognize that they belong to a family
- express their feelings about being part of a family
- recognize that they are each unique
- role-play the experience of taking a road trip
- follow a simple recipe to make trail mix
Materials: Colored construction paper and Velcro dots; a picnic basket and cooler; keys, road map, and suitcase; a spray bottle with bleach solution, paper towels, several pairs of plastic gloves; a large mixing bowl, a ½ cup measuring cup, the ingredients below, a copy of the trail mix recipe copied on chart paper; a copy of the teaching guide for Seeds, October 7, 2012;
Trail Mix Recipe
and, for each child, a zippered plastic sandwich bag, and a copy of Seeds for October 7, 2012
• 4 cups small pretzels
• 2 cups raisins
• 4 cups bite-size cereal
• 1 large bag of M&M’s
Preparation: Copy and cut out shapes of a van, boat, and cabin from the story “Hooray for Jamie!” Attach Velcro dots to make these shapes into flannel board pieces. Prepare tables for food preparation by cleaning with bleach solution and paper towels. Put the trail mix ingredients in easy-to-handle plastic bags or containers. Arrange chairs and props in an open area to resemble the inside of a large van.
- The Gospel for this Sunday teaches that Jesus loves children and welcomes them. Invite Seeds children to welcome one another with a song that will also help them to learn one another’s names. Repeat the song for each child.
Good morning to you. Good morning to you.
We’re all in our places with bright, happy faces.
Good morning to _____(child’s name) .
Good morning to you.
- Use a flannel board and the shapes of a van, boat, and cabin to tell the story “Hooray for Jamie!” from the Seeds teaching guide for October 7, 2012. Then ask: Where was the family going? (They were going to the cabin.) Ask: How did Mother feel when she forgot the keys to the cabin? How was Jamie able help her family? (She climbed through the window.) Ask: How do you think that made Jamie feel? How did everyone in Jamie’s family help get ready for the trip? Emphasize the fact that everyone in the family can help. Ask: What jobs do you do to help at home?
- Show the road map. Ask: When do you need a road map? Where have you traveled on vacation? Tell children that they will pretend to go on the trip in a big van. Ask: Where would you like to go in our make-believe van? What should we pack for the trip? (Small children can identify the suitcase, picnic basket, cooler, keys, and road maps.)
- Tell children that they are going to make a special snack called trail mix to share on a make-believe road trip. Read the recipe from the chart paper. Ask children to wash their hands and then put on the gloves. Help children to add and mix each ingredient in order. Encourage them to take turns with these tasks.
- Give each child a small zippered plastic bag and help each to fill his or her bag with ½ cup of the trail mix.
- Have children take seats in the make-believe van. Sing “The Wheels on the Bus” and enjoy the snack on the “road trip.” Ask: How does the trail mix taste? What tastes salty? What tastes sweet? What is crunchy?
- Invite children to act out the story of “Hooray for Jamie!”
Grades K-1 (Promise)
“Jesus Makes a Blind Man See,” October 28, 2012
Promise children will:
- recognize they belong to a Church family that listens to a Gospel story each Sunday
- role-play the Gospel story of the blind man called Bartimaeus
- recognize the story of Bartimaeus when they hear the Gospel read on Sunday
- appreciate their sense of sight and see God’s goodness in the world
Materials: A pair of novelty sunglasses for each child, a piece of fabric or an old tablecloth to use as the blind man’s cloak, a copy of the Promise teaching guide for October 28, 2012, and copies of Promise for October 28, 2012, one for each child
- Tell children that Jesus was walking on a dirt road near a town called Jericho when this Gospel story happened. Before reading the Gospel lesson from the teaching guide, introduce the words blind, beggar, and heal.
- As you read the Gospel story of Jesus and blind Bartimaeus, ask children to close their eyes and imagine what is happening. Ask: What sounds would you hear if you were Bartimaeus? How would you know that Jesus was coming?
- After the reading, ask: What happened when Bartimaeus called out to Jesus? What did the people in the crowd say to Bartimaeus? Why did Jesus help Bartimaeus? How do you think Bartimaeus felt when he could see? How do you think the people in the crowd reacted?
- Tell children they will pretend to be in the crowd that was watching when Jesus healed Bartimaeus. Have several children role-play the story with “Bartimaeus” listening for the sound of Jesus’ footsteps, calling out for Jesus, and asking to be healed. When Jesus says, “You can see!” have Bartimaeus throw down his cloak, jump up, tell everyone that he can see, and follow Jesus.
- Tell children that they are going to have a chance to use their own gift of sight to look for signs of God’s goodness. Show the sunglasses. Tell children they will each get a pair of these “special” sunglasses to remind them to look for signs of God’s goodness. If possible, take children on a nature walk to look for and point out signs of God’s goodness.
If a nature walk is not possible, allow children to take their glasses home. Ask them to wear their sunglasses to remind them to find signs of God’s goodness wherever they see them—on their way to and from school and church, in their own backyards and neighborhoods. Encourage children to invite their parents on brief nature walks so children can use their special new sunglasses to point out signs of God’s goodness to their parents.
Grades 2-3 (Good News)
“The Ten Commandments,” October 7, 2012—October 28, 2012
The review of the Ten Commandments offered in these issues of Good News can help children prepare for the sacrament of Reconciliation. There is an activity for each week in Procedure.
Good News children will:
- state the Ten Commandments in their own words
- remember the Third Commandment—Keep Sunday Holy
- remember the Fourth Commandment—Honor your father and mother
- remember the Fifth Commandment—Respect life in all people and in all creation
- identify ways they can keep the Ten Commandments
- create a visual aid to help them memorize the Commandments
Materials: Rolls of adding machine tape, scissors, lined chart paper, black markers, copies of Good News for October 7-28, 2012, one set for each child
Preparation: Use a black marker to write the Ten Commandments on chart paper. For the wording, see page 4 of Good News for October 14.
- With Good News for October 7, 2012, introduce the Third Commandment and the word Sabbath. By reading page 4, children learn that keeping the Sabbath holy involves participating in Mass, taking a break from work, and doing good works. Ask children how their families celebrate Sunday. Do they have a big breakfast together after Mass? Do they get together for a pizza supper? What kinds of things do their families do to take a break from work? Do they sometimes visit grandparents or other family members on Sundays? Allow time for all who wish to contribute to the discussion. Then have each child choose a way that he or she will keep this coming Sunday holy and write this on a strip of adding machine tape. Have each child roll up his or her piece of paper and take it home to share with parents and family members.
- With Good News for October 14, 2012, review the Ten Commandments. Have each child cut out the ten tablets on page 4, and use a glue stick to paste the tablets on a strip of adding machine tape. Have children roll their papers up and take them home to share with their parents. Encourage children to invite their parents to help them review and memorize the Ten Commandments.
- With Good News for October 21, 2012, review the Fourth Commandment. Point out the definition of the word honor that is given on page 3. Ask: Whom do you respect or look up to? Why? How do we show gratitude or obedience? Have children share examples of respect, gratitude, or obedience. Then read the Fourth Commandment on page 3. Help children create a list of things their parents do for them. Write the list on chart paper. Using this list, have children work together to write a poem to parents. Provide copies of the poem for children to give to their parents to honor them. Or, choose to honor parents by inviting them to class and sharing a treat with them. Help children plan the event, create invitations, and welcome their parents.
- With Good News for October 28, 2012, introduce the Fifth Commandment—you shall not kill. Explain that this Commandment not only forbids us from using violence against other people and the Earth, it also requires us to respect life in all people and in creation. Introduce the word respect as it is defined on page 4. Help children to think of examples of how they can show respect for others in their classrooms, on the playground, in their families, and in their communities.
Point out that children have rights; that is, they are entitled to conditions that allow them to grow up healthy and free. Suggest that a basic right of children is to feel safe and loved. Then work with the group to create a list of the rights of children. (to be free of fear, to be cared for by loving adults, to receive a good education, to receive good medical care, to have a safe place to live, to have adequate food and clothing) Write the list on the chart paper and review it after everyone has had a chance to contribute.
Grades 4-6 (Venture)
“To Be Great Means to Serve Everyone,” October 21, 2012
Venture children will:
- explore the true meaning of greatness
- investigate examples of greatness in their own parish
- make and present plaques in recognition of parishioners’ service to others
Materials: A white board and markers or chalkboard and chalk; parish bulletins for this week and previous weeks, one bulletin for each student; access to the parish website, if possible; 8” x 10” sheets of cardboard, one for every three to four students; a variety of craft materials such as markers, construction paper, foam sheets, felt, ribbon, balloons, feathers, liquid glue, hot glue guns; copies of Venture for October 21, 2012, one for each child
Preparation: Assemble the materials.
- Draw three equal columns on the white board or chalk board. Ask children to define greatness. List their ideas in the first column on the board. Then ask them to name people who they think fit their definition of greatness. List their names in the second column. Finally, ask the children what they think Jesus’ definition of greatness is. List their ideas in the third column.
- Give the children some time to discuss their lists. Are there any similarities between their definition of greatness and Jesus’ definition of greatness? Do the people named in the second column fit Jesus’ definition of greatness?
- Direct the children to page 4 of Venture. Read the Sunday Gospel, with volunteers taking the parts. Then go to page 8. Ask a volunteer to read aloud the Doctrine sidebar, “Christians Help Others.” Have the children look again at their lists on the board. How close did they come to Jesus’ definition of greatness? Would they like to change or add anything to their definition of greatness?
- Have children form groups of three or four. Give each group several parish bulletins, and let them go online to the parish website, if access is available. Ask them to look for examples of parishioners who are truly great. Ask each group to select a “great” parishioner and explain their choice. Be sure that each group chooses a different parishioner. They can’t all focus on the pastor!
- Tell the groups that they are going to make plaques to honor the “greats” of your parish. Give each small group a sheet of cardboard. Have one group member print on it these words of Jesus from this week’s Gospel: “Those who want to be great must serve the rest” (Mark 10:43).
- Give groups a time limit to decorate their plaques with the craft materials you provide. Be sure they are careful with the glue and hot glue guns. Each plaque should include the honoree’s name and how this person serves others. If possible, have the children present the plaques to their recipients. Otherwise, make the deliveries yourself.
Grades 7-8 (Visions)
“Jesus Cures a Blind Man,” October 28, 2012
Visions students will:
- make a prayer journal
- use journaling as a way to pray
- pray the way Jesus taught us to pray
Materials: Wide-lined loose-leaf paper, 12 sheets for each student; chart paper and markers, or chalk; rulers, pencils, scissors, yarn, hole punches, sheets of craft foam in various colors; foam alphabet letters with adhesive backing; Bibles; and copies of Visions for October 28, 2012, one for each student
Preparation: Use the materials and directions below to make a sample prayer journal to show students.
- Have the students follow these steps to make their prayer journals.
- Cut the bottom 4 inches off 12 sheets of loose-leaf paper. The finished dimensions of the paper should be 8½” x 7.”
- Choose foam sheets to make the front and back covers of the journal. Cut the foam sheets to 8½” x 7.” Punch two holes in each foam sheet to match the holes in the notebook paper.
- Place the sheets of paper between the foam covers. Thread pieces of yarn through the holes and tie the yarn to secure the booklet.
- Use foam letters to label the front cover with (Your Name)’s Journal. Then put the journals aside.
- With your students, read the Sunday Gospel on page 4 of Visions. Direct the students to find the question Jesus asked the blind man. (What do you want me to do for you?) Ask the students to think about how many times they ask Jesus to do something for them. Point out that the blind man answered Jesus with a prayer of petition, which is a good way to pray. (Teacher, I want to see again.) But it is also important to pray as Jesus taught us. Have the students look up Matthew 6:10, and ask a volunteer to read it aloud:
“Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.”
- Tell students that in order to do God’s will, we should ask Jesus the same question that Jesus asked the blind man: What do you want me to do for you? They can find Jesus’ answer in the Sunday Gospels.
- Explain that students will be learning a new way to pray. Write the steps for this new kind of prayer on the chalkboard or on chart paper. Ask students to copy the steps onto the first page of their journals.
- Read the Gospel passage.
- Ask Jesus the prayer question, What do you want me to do for you?
- Stop and listen in your heart.
- Write in your journal the ideas and answers that come into your mind.
- On the next page of their journals, have students write the citation for the Gospel for October 28—Mark 10:46-52, and the question, What do you want me to do for you? On each of the following pages they should write a Gospel citation for an upcoming Sunday, along with the prayer question, What do you want me to do for you? They can begin with the Sundays in November.
- November 4—Mark 12:28-34
- November 11—Mark 12:38-44
- Encourage students to continue to use their journals to pray with the Gospel each week.
Check out the resources and seasonal activities available online from the Pflaum Gospel Weeklies! Go to www.pflaumweeklies.com/PGWOnline and log in to find Saints of the Season, Feasts of the Season, Catholic Culture, and a Family Prayer. There are also activities for children at each level of the Pflaum Gospel Weeklies. Activities at the Seeds and Promise levels are available in Spanish as well as in English.
Choose pages to print and use with your students to reinforce your lessons or to focus your students’ attention. You’ll also want to print pages to send home with students, or to send notes home suggesting pages for parents to download and print.
Currently featured online are introductions to “The Year of Faith,” proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI to begin on October 11, and to St. Kateri Tekakwitha and St. Marianne Cope, two of the saints the Pope will canonize on October 21. Engaging activities based on the story of St. Kateri Tekakwitha make her come alive as a role model for Catholic children, and a prayer service brings families together to get the new school year off to a great start.
PGW Online is a free service available to all families in schools and parishes that use the Pflaum Gospel Weeklies. On the PGW Online home page, click on “Tips for using these pages” for a sample letter you can send home.
Catechist to Catechist
Powering Up for All Saints’ Day!
Preparation for All Saints’ Day begins in October for Beth Vos’ fourth grade students at St. Stephen the Martyr School. They begin by choosing saints they want to study. Students may work alone or with a partner to do research on the saint they’ve chosen to learn more about. They search for answers to questions such as, What is the feast day of the saint? For what groups or causes is this saint considered the patron? When and where did this person live? What was his or her story? Why was this person proclaimed a saint? Beth also encourages her students to look for facts about their saints that they think others would find interesting. She asks students either to find a prayer written by their saint or to write their own prayer to their saint. Students also write an acrostic poem using the name of their saint. Here’s an example.
St. Rose of Lima
Special person in Heaven
Our friend of Christ
Lending a hand to help others
Imitating Jesus’ acts
Master of kindness
Amazing follower of God
Then Beth and the school’s computer resource teacher work with students to help them create PowerPoint presentations using the information they found on their saints and including an image or two of their saints or symbols associated with their saints. Click here to see the PowerPoint Beth created to show students what their own presentations might look like.
Students are proud to take turns sharing their PowerPoint presentations with the class. While students are presenting, the rest of the class is taking notes. They are asked to write down two facts from each presentation.
At the same time Beth’s students are learning about saints who will be honored on All Saints’ Day, they are practicing many other important skills.
Beth Vos teaches fourth grade at St. Stephen the Martyr School in Omaha, NE. While she developed this activity for her fourth grade class, she feels it would also be appropriate for fifth grade classes.
What activities have worked well with your students? Share them with your fellow catechists and collect $100 if your idea is chosen as the Idea of the Month
. Your teaching idea can be a simple prayer experience, a catechetical activity, or any lesson or project appropriate for (or adaptable to) learners in kindergarten through sixth grade. To submit your idea, go to www.catechist.com/ideas