Wednesday, August 29, 2018

We Love Our Church!

(One part printables for our new CCD year, one part brief commentary on the current Church scandals.)

This year, my parish is celebrating the 150th year since the dedication of our church building- isn't that awesome?! Our parish is a bit older and there were two other churches for short times in the 1840's-1850's, but construction began on the new Immaculate Conception Church in 1866 and was completed in 1869. We are planning a whole year of celebrations leading up to a special Mass on the dedication date next year. Because the entire parish is focusing on this, I've been working on ways to incorporate the importance into our Religious Education Program.

So our theme this year will focus on the Sesquicentennial. For those of your that have used the room signs and folder covers, etc. that I post here each year, unfortunately, our theme materials won't really fit any program but ours. I'll suggest that you check out the other themes that I have printables and decor posts for here:
Divine Mercy Theme
Built on the Rock Theme

We'll be using lots of Marian themed items, especially this Mother of the Church craft I created with the coming anniversary year in mind (the church that Mary is holding is a drawing of our church!). We'll also be tying in St. Maximilian Kolbe as a patron Saint because of his deep devotion to Mary, founding of the Militia Immaculata, and connection to other parish activities during the year.

So one thing I knew I wanted the kids to create at the beginning of the year was some kind of display to show what they loved about the church- THEIR church.  I wanted them to feel ownership of this celebration as the group that will carry our parish into its next 150 years.  So I made up these cute sheets for the kids to write and draw about what they love- it might be the nice lady who smiles at them every Sunday, or receiving the Eucharist, or a certain song the choir sings... or let's be honest, coffee and donut Sunday. :) I gave these different versions of the "I Love My Church" pages to my catechists to use as they want in their classrooms, and then hope to display them together in our CCD hallway and feature snippets and pictures in our parish newsletter.

I'm excited to see what the kids come up with, and tried to give some flexibility in style to fit the different ages.  I've got three styles of printables:
-large illustration, short caption (could be teacher written)
-medium illustration, longer caption
-"newspaper" set up- longer article, small illustration, room for a topic list
You can use these printable with your students by clicking on any of the images of the We Love Our Church page above.

I planned this project long before the current scandal(s) broke to the media, detailing devastating and disgusting crimes against the innocent by those who should have been the first to protect them.  I'm still reeling from the blow this has been to believers, the pain I feel for the victims, and the very necessary call for justice and change.  My heart aches for the good and holy priests and my blood boils for the shepherds who did irreparable damage to their flock.  

So this cutesy little activity might seem insensitive or wrong or something that needs tossed in the garbage.  I considered that for a bit.  But instead I now see that this is the very perfect time to look to the Church, the capital C Church, whom the gates of hell shall never prevail against.  We do not put our faith in a particular priest or bishop or parish or diocese.  We trust and follow Christ.  Period.  We are part of the Body of Christ.  And we have a responsibility to go to battle against a very real and ancient enemy.

As catechists returning to the classroom, our utmost responsibility (after rooting out evil and protecting the innocent) is to raise up the next generation of young Catholics who love Christ and the Church.  Future Saints who cultivate virtue and desire a world free of vice.  Warriors ready to fight the good fight.  A generation that someday, those looking back will say, "Yes.  That was a terrible time for the Church.  So much brokenness and rebuilding.  But look at the Saints that arose in their midst."

Finally, if you haven't already been, go back and read the Sunday and Daily Readings from the past couple of weeks.  A Scripture scholar could not have better handpicked passages from the Bible to illustrate our lament, God's call for justice, and the solid foundation in Christ that remains.  I highly recommend Bonnie's most recent post which is reflection of these events woven amidst the recent Mass readings.  

There are no better words to close with than those from this Sunday's Gospel:

As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?" Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God." ~John 6:66-69

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, guide us.
Pure Heart of St. Joseph, pray for us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Katie Reads {12} Back to School

Summer may have flown by, but one thing I made sure to do a lot of this summer was read.  I'd love to share with you some of the things I've been reading and maybe you'll see one that will be a good fit for your home or classroom.  This week's edition of Katie Reads features books for kids, and next week I'll share the books I read for myself. :)

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. That means that if you click through and purchase something, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.
***Pauline Books & Media provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
###Author provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I only recommend things I use and love and want to share with you. All opinions are my own. :)

Staircase for the Sisters by Pamela Love, Illustrated bu John Joseph. ***
  • This sweet picture book retells the holy legend of an impossible staircase being built in a new church for a group of Sisters in New Mexico.  After praying a novena to St. Joseph, a mysterious carpenter visited and built an miraculous spiral staircase.  The carpenter left without receiving his pay or leaving his name, so tradition holds that St. Joseph himself built the staircase.
  • Included at the end of the book are pages about the real Loretto Chapel staircase in Santa Fe, info about St. Joseph, an explanation of a novena, and a novena to St. Joseph.
  • A perfect book for St. Joseph day or an introduction to novenas and answered prayer, I love how the author and illustrator worked together to tell this inspiring tradition that shows devotion to St. Joseph the Worker.

God's Plan for You: Life, Love, Marriage, & Sex by David Hajduk ***

  • This new revised edition of God's Plan for You is a perfect handbook for teens as a tool to help them understand that they were created by love and for love.  It breaks St. John Paul II's Theology of the Body into bite sized pieces while retaining depth.  Beginning with the foundations of the goodness of the body, the purpose of creation, and complementarity of male & female, it then moves into tougher topics like contraception, homosexuality, and cohabitation.
  • The text itself can be heavy, but is broken up by quotes from Scripture, Catechism references, "Did U Know?" facts, Notable Quotables, JP2 in his own words, and closes each chapter with several questions to ponder and share.  Those questions would lend themselves perfectly for families who want to read this with their teen and then dive into the material of the text without being stuck with vague open ended questions like, "So what did you think of this chapter?..."
  • The only thing lacking in my opinion is a good index.  This is the kind of book that a teen (or an adult supporting a teen) probably isn't going to read cover to cover, but might like to pick up and read about a specific topic.  There is a Table of Contents, but the titles are short quips related to the content, so it takes some flipping to find a certain topic.  Overall though, this is a fabulous and approachable resource for introducing Theology of the Body.
Fun with Angels by D. Thomas Halpin, FSP and Illustrated by Virginia Helen Richards, FSP ***

  • Who doesn't love a fun coloring and activity book?  This new one from the Pauline Kids line features stories about Angels from both the Old and New Testaments, as well as how the angels are present in our daily lives.  Coloring pages are mixed in with activity pages of all kinds, and the paper is nice and smooth for using your favorite art supplies.
  • Kids always seem to be fascinated by angels, so I love that so many stories and devotions are gathered right in one kid friendly activity book. 

Who is Jesus: His Life, His Land, His Time by Gaelle Tertrais and Adeline Avril

  • I am thoroughly in love with this book! I saw it recommended in several places online, and knew that it would be a lovely addition to my classroom resources.  I am even more impressed after reading through it.  First, I love the infographic style illustrations that are both simple and sweet without being too childish, printed in a uniform color scheme on thick matte paper.  The Jr. Highers in my class will not think this books looks too juvenile for them, which is half the battle.
  • This book is full of information about life in the Holy Land during Jesus' time.  Its maps and diagrams all support the text as it tells about the culture, religious customs, food, hobbies, and more of Jesus' people.  The first unit I'll be teaching this year is literally titled "Who is Jesus," so I know that this is going to become a frequently referenced text.  It also helps satiate some of the curiosity we might have (or questions we've never thought of!) like what was Jesus' house like?  What kind of food did He eat? What did the disciples wear?  Why were the Romans in the Holy Land?  
  • Understanding this historical context is going to help bring the Scriptures alive, I have no doubt.

To Hear His Voice by Ginny Kochis ###

  • In my next Katie Reads post, I'm going to highlight the Every Sacred Sunday Mass Journal and talk about how it has been the best tool I've added to my spiritual arsenal this year.  All of the things I love about ESS can also be found in this new Mass journal from Ginny Kochis, but for kids! 
  • Published in a quarterly format, this edition of the journal covers September through November.  It includes the full text of the Mass readings from every Sunday, but could totally be used every day throughout the week because of all of the additional resources and prompts.  
  • Each week includes a list of the upcoming Feast Days, a large corresponding Saint quote perfect for decorating, all four Mass Readings, specific reflection questions for each reading, a mediation, and several "go forth" challenges.  All are relevant to the teen/preteen that would use the journal and pull them back to the meaning of the Scriptures without feeling at all like a workbook. The "God's Turn" & "Your Turn" structure is such a neat way to reinforce prayer as a conversation and relationship.
  • I love the size of this journal- it is a full 8 1/2" x 11", so the text is nice and big and there is ample room for notes, prayers, doodles, lists, etc.  That white space is so important for kids as we give them tools to pray- this is a perfect guide with just enough structure but tons of flexibility for kids with different gifts, talents, and interests.  
  • It would make a great gift for your child or Godchild to use during Mass but also all throughout the week. I also could see using it in a classroom (a class set would be incredible!) but if only one is available, the students could use it as a resource to read the Scriptures out loud and then choose some of the meditations or reflections for group discussion.  It's a needed  and well made resource for keeping our older kids engaged in the Mass.

The Church Rocks! A History of the Catholic Church for Kids and Their Parents and Teachers by Mary Lea Hill, FSP ***

  • This is such a fun and approachable history text of the story of the Church from the time of Christ up until the the New Evangelization era of Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis.  I could see it being used as an actual textbook for a Church history unit, but also will serve well as a resource for any upper elementary or middle school classroom. 
  • There is an index at the end of the book for those looking up a specific event or era, but conveniently the book is broken into 21 chapters for the 21 Centuries of the Church.  Want to read about the Roman Martyrs in the 3rd Century?  Turn to Chapter 3.
  • I think my only criticism of the book is the cover- the design and font are not nearly as appealing as the design of the interior of the book.  Once opened, it is attractive and compelling, and I think will be a page turner for a lot of kids- but first they have to pick it up.  It also would be lovely to have the interior, especially the art, printed in color.
  • I wanted to show you a snapshot of the inside pages.  While the whole book is in black and white, it is chock full of holy art, drawings, photographs, timelines, info boxes, etc. making it really fun to flip through. Info also includes Saints and leaders of the times, inventions, what was happening around the world, and more:

That's it for now!  I'll be back soon with all of the fiction and non fiction I read for myself this summer, but first I need to get back to setting up my classroom for my incoming students. :)  Be assured of my prayers for all of you getting ready to kick off a new school year!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Holy Family Hearts Embroidery Pattern

Embroidery has become by favorite summer time craft.  I love that it is simple, inexpensive, and travels well.  It's also a great activity that can be done while sitting and talking with a friend, which basically makes me want to be a character in a Jane Austen novel. ;)

I made a mulit media hoop of the Holy Family Hearts on whim earlier this year, and it got a ton of love on Instagram, and then I made another one for the Beautiful Things giveaway this summer, and recently made some small versions as gifts.  I've used a combination of embroidery floss, felt, and watercolor making each set of the hearts a little unique.  I love the free form creativity of it- I didn't start with a sketch or a pattern, just started working and was happy with what found a home on the hoop (after, well, ripping out a few stitches, of course).

And many, many people have asked if this is a product that I'd be willing to offer in my Etsy shop, but it's just not something that I think I'll ever do.  Embroidery has a low overhead but requires a lot of hours, and I don't want to take the joy out of it by trying to mass produce things.

However, a lot of people have also asked about a pattern, and that I am happy to share!  And I have it ready for you today for free!  I'm by no means an experienced pattern maker, but it contains color photos of different versions, a supply list, suggested steps, a key to the stitches I used, and patterns to cut out and trace for two different sized hoops.

If you aren't familiar with a few basic embroidery stitches (I used the straight stitch, backstitch, lazy daisy, spiderweb roses, satin stitch, and French knots) I totally recommend watching youtube videos to get the hang of them.  The beauty of this pattern is that you can make it your own, with your unique style, colors, and details. I'm thinking next time I might add some beading...

If you decide to make your own Holy Family Hearts embroidery, I'd love to see it!  Email me at looktohimandberadiant (at) gmail (dot) com, or if you post it on Instagram tag me @katherine.bogner and use #holyfamilyhearts.  I can't wait to see what you create!

Click here for the free printable pattern:

And if embroidery isn't your thing, I also have tons of versions of free coloring pages and prayer cards for the Holy Family Hearts, as well as lots of Holy Family Hearts items in my Etsy Shop:

Click here or on any of the images for more:
LookToHimBeRadiant Etsy Shop
Holy Family Hearts Coloring Page and Prayer Cards
Sacred Heart of Jesus Coloring Pages
Sacred Heart of Jesus & Anima Christi Prayer Cards
Sacred Heart of Jesus Color-A-Novena
Immaculate Heart of Mary & Seven Sorrows of Mary Coloring Pages
Immaculate Heart of Mary & Hail Holy Holy Queen Prayer Cards

“I wish to invoke the protection of the Holy Family of Nazareth…it is therefore the prototype and example for all Christian families…St. Joseph was a “just man”…may he always guard, protect and enlighten families. May the Virgin Mary, who is the Mother of the Church, also be the Mother of “the Church of the home”…May Christ the Lord, the Universal King, the King of Families, be present in every Christian home as He was at Cana, bestowing light, joy, serenity, and strength”
~St. John Paul II

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Catholic Words & Games {Review}

Can you believe that it is already back to school time? (I can't!)  Whether you are a parent, teacher, or catechist, I bet a lot of you are thinking about shopping for school supplies, preparing for being back on a schedule, and planning for changes and opportunities for the new year.  With all of that looking ahead, it's also a great time to explore new resources that can be used in the home or classroom to strengthen your child's faith, and I've got a few new ideas to share with you today!

Catholic Words & Games sent me these free products in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions and ideas are my own.  I only recommend resources I know and love and think you might like too!

Catholic Words & Games and The Mass Explained offers a set of incredible resources to provide catechesis for ALL ages on "the source and summit" of our faith.  They have physical evangelization tools like card games, tshirts, and clever buttons, as well as a set of awesome apps for both kids and adults are fun, attractive, well made, and faithful.  Today, I'd like to share with you the Catholic Words Memory Match Card Games, Courageous Catholic Saints Coloring Book, and Catholic Words and Games App, but I'd also highly recommend you go check out the Mass Explained App for older kids and adults! (And there is also a fun Catholic Word Search App for you puzzle-loving people!)

First up, these stellar Catholic Words Memory Match Cards.  There are two decks available, each with 26 different pairs of Catholic vocab words.  The words are all items used during Mass or other Sacraments, and each card also contains a well illustrated full color image.  I can't speak highly enough of these graphics- they are easily discernible while still being detailed and are child-friendly without being childish.  The cards could be used with littles to introduce basic Mass articles and then add more and more items and info for older kids.  The decks are set up to be used to play memory with matching pairs of cards, but also could be adapted to play old maid, I have who has, go fish, etc.  They also have a companion definition sheet available as a free download here.  I'm totally excited to add these to my Mass teaching resources and can see tons of applications for the classroom.

Using the technology in the best way, the Catholic Words and Games App corresponds with the Memory Match cards but allows the user to flip through flash cards, read their definition, play matching and naming games, etc.  It has both the great illustrations I described above as well as real photographs, making it easier for kids to locate these articles in their own church.  The games have music, sound effects, and time and accuracy challenge options.  There are tons of options and settings to make the games as easy or as challenging as desired, so I can see applicable uses with preschoolers all the way to RCIA candidates.

And finally, look at this sweet Courageous Catholic Saints Coloring book.  I have to admit, sometimes I am disappointed by the illustrations in Catholic coloring books, but I LOVE these.  They are simple for even young artists, but also contain details that tell a little about the background and lives of the Saint depicted on the page.  Thirty-two varying Saints are included, and in the back of the coloring book there are little biography cards for each Saint that shares a few paragraphs about their lives, birth and death dates, canonization, feast day, and patronages.

Make sure you also check out their free resources here (I love the matching cards and the priest craft!), and to help out those ready to order catechetical materials for the new school year, they are offering 10% off in their webstore Agnus Gift Shop with the code "TENOFF" at checkout.

AND last but not least, they also sent me two extra sets of cards and coloring books to give away!  Head on over to Instagram and enter to win them for your own home or classroom!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Teaching Tools for the Ten Commandments

Ideas for teaching about the Ten Commandments is one of my top requests in emails, so I'm not sure why I've never posted about it on the blog!  Remedying that today with a few printables about the Ten Commandments that could be used in a variety of ways for kids of different ages.

First up, Ten Commandment sort card.  (FYI, the wording I used is the "Traditional Catechetical Formula" from the Catechism of the Catholic Church).  These cards print on one page and then can be cut out and are easy to store with a paperclip or ziplock.

A few ideas for using the cards:
-Sort between the first three "God centered" commandments and the next seven "neighbor centered" commandments
-Put the Ten Commandments in order
-Pull one card out of the stack at a time and discuss what it means
-Pull one card and write/talk about how we can follow that commandment
-Pull one card and draw an illustration of someone keeping that commandment, then share with your class/group
-Read and compare the wording of the Ten Commandments in Ex. 20:2-17 and Deut. 5:6-21

 And I always number the back of sorting cards so that kids can self check. :)

I also have a set of graphic organizers for discussing how we keep and how we break the commandments.  Each commandment has its own page with room for writing and drawing.

A few ideas for using the graphic organizers:
-Print enough pages for all the students in the class, give each one commandment, and ask them to brainstorm how people can keep/break that commandment.  Then have them compare with other students that have the same commandment, and finally share with the class
-For younger students, give them one page have them draw an illustration of how people can keep/break that commandment
-Print a whole set for each student and use it as a unit booklet as you work your way through all the Commandments.  They could write on one side and draw on the other
-Pull the slide up on your SmartBoard and write on them as a class, creating a digital list of how to keep and break the commandments.  Post in your digital classroom files, or print as posters to hang in the classrom

And this graphic organizer teaches the same keep/break concepts as the activity above, but is all contained on one sheet (and also includes the Greatest Commandments at the top).  This is a much better fit for older students (small area to write) and works great as a page for notes or also could be adapted as an assessment after teaching a unit on the Ten Commandments.

And, are you looking for some resources for teaching those tough-to-talk-about 6th and 9th commandments?  Age appropriate conversations are key here, and you know your kids.  Here are a few links that might be helpful as you are prepping, whether it is for primary schoolers or high schoolers:
The Sixth Commandment from The Catholic Toolbox
David & Bathsheba and the Sixth Commandment from Catholic Mom
Teaching the Ten Commandments from The Religion Teacher 
Close Your Eyes: Porn and the Sixth Commandment from LifeTeen

Click here to download the Ten Commandment Sorting Cards;

 Click here to download the Ten Commandments Keep/Break graphic organizers:

Click here to download the Ten Commandments Keep/Break sheet:

Friday, June 29, 2018

Beautiful Things Giveaway!

All week, we've been sharing thoughts on the importance of sharing beauty with the world as a way to draw closer to the Creator of all beauty.  Today I am so happy to offer this amazing giveaway of beautiful things, enough to help you make your home and life a little more beautiful, as well as even share with friends and family.  Scroll through these lovely items, visit the shops that donated them, and then make sure you enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!

Make sure to check out the amazing guest posts from this week, as well as previous series here.
Listen to the Creator Spirit from Kortnee of Studio Senn
Be Not Afraid from Lindsay of Just Love Prints
Cultivating Beauty in Home and Heart from Rosie of A Blog for My Mom
Remember to Be Still from Caroline of Be Still By Caroline

From Just Love Prints, an 8" x 10" St. Teresa of Calcutta "Little Pencil" Print and a set of the iconic St. John Paul II "Be Not Afraid" tattoos in JPII's actual handwriting.
Find Just Love Prints:

From Steph Zimmerman Photgraphy, three 4" x 6" watercolor prints in 5" x 7" mats: one St. Catherine of Siena, one floral,  and one Holy Family.
Find Steph Zimmerman Photography:

From Ruthie Cate Designs, a customizable Verity Necklace.  The Verity necklace is a gorgeous and unique piece that keeps close whatever is most meaningful to you, and lets you customize your length, chain, and charms.  Mother Teresa is pictured, winner receives choice of more than ten Verity necklaces from Ruthie Cate!
Find Ruthie Cate Designs:

From me, a 5" x 7" mixed media embroided Holy Family Hearts frame.  The Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Pure Heart of St Joseph have been created using a combination of felt, embroidery floss, and watercolor.

From That Catholic Design, their new Mary, Mother of the Church 11" x 14" framed burlap print.  Created in honor of the new Marian feast day, reminding us that Jesus entrusted Mary to His disciples as their Mother and entrusted His disciples to Mary as her children.
Find That Catholic Design:

From Studio Senn, a stunning 5" x 7" Sacred Heart Print on handmade paper with handpainted gold acrylic details.
Find Studio Senn: 

From my Etsy Shop, LooktoHimbeRadiant, a set of watercolor Stained Glass Biblical Ladies stickers.  Modeled after a set of windows in St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria, IL, each sticker depicts a strong woman from the Bible, including Eve, Ruth, Judith, Esther, and Mary.  Printed on easy to use sticker paper and about 2" x 8.5" in size, they are perfect for the margins of a journaling Bible, but also would be a great addition to your planner or journal.
Find LooktoHimbeRadiant:

From Sweet Little Ones, two lovely prints to decorate your home with: An 8" x 10" print of the beautiful Proverbs 31:25 verse and a pink and gray floral 5" x 7" print of the Angel of God prayer.
Find Sweet Little Ones:

From Be Still By Caroline, a gorgeous blue beaded Holy Family bracelet.  Every Be Still By Caroline item is one of a kind and inspired by prayer and Scripture.
Find Be Still By Caroline:

Enter the Beautiful Things Giveaway:
You can enter the giveaway here on the blog, and for more chances to win you can enter on Instagram as well! I hope you enjoy visiting all these lovely and generous makers, and know that they appreciate you following along with them on your favorite social media tools.

One winner will be chosen using random generator from combination of entries on blog and Instagram. US only and must be 18 or older to win. Winner must meet entry guidelines. Winner has 24 hours to respond or new winner will be chosen. Giveaway closes at midnight Central time Sunday, July 1st.  
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