Saturday, September 28, 2019

Supporting Family Prayer: 50 Ways to Pray in 5 Minutes or Less

Because I know that parents are the primary and most important educators of the faith for their children, it is important to me as a DRE and teacher to help them feel equipped and able to actively live their faith as a family.

I think that prayer can be one of the most intimidating things to build into a family culture, mostly because it is so intimate and personal, and therefore harder to lead and share, especially if you might be struggling with prayer yourself. To show that family prayer doesn't have to be complicated, I created a couple of resources we used at a school parent night and I am sending home to my CCD families.

The first has a simple structure for prayer called ACTS: Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, Supplication and prayer starters to go with each step.  I have other ACTS resources here and here. The pattern is useful for any age from toddler through adult and can both widen and direct the focus of prayer.  Plus, it is something that you can do for two minutes, ten minutes, or an hour. It's such a flexible structure and I love using it with kids.  I also included some basic prayers on that sheet, making it handy to post on the fridge or keep at a kid's bedside table.

The second handout has fifty ideas for praying as a family in five minutes or less. There are so many possibilities and methods of prayer, and I think that is is good to remind ourselves that we can use any of them- what is most important is conversing with our Creator. If bedtime is chaos for your family, then pray together in the van after school. If after school activities keep you from being around the dinner table most nights, try using ACTS over breakfast. If your child struggles memorizing prayers right now, read them Bible stories, or let them journal, or sing a prayer. By opening your home to becoming a place of shared family prayer in all things, kiddos grow closer not only to God, but also to their siblings and parents. A family that prays together stays together.

Click on either image below to download the printables. Feel free to send in your parish/school/class newsletters!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Virtues and Parables

You've got to love when there's a beautiful intersection of real life and what's happening in the liturgy. More times than I can even remember, the Readings from Mass have directly related to what is going on in my life- sometimes so obviously that it is like Jesus is up on the altar saying, "Hey, told you I was here!" ;)

Point and case are the Sunday Gospels from this month. I am in my second year of teaching the Education in Virtue curriculum to my 6th-8th graders, and since the resources are not grade specific and I repeat students, I can't teach with the same method as last year with my 7th-8th graders. I'm still working on exactly what that will look like all year, but this month solved itself.

Our virtues during this month include:
Responsibility and

And the Gospels from the Sunday at the beginning of that week are:
The Prodigal Son
The Dishonest Steward and
The Rich Man and Lazarus

Each of those parables is a perfect example (or non example) of living out that virtue. Not to mention that I am in the middle of a unit on the Parables and I couldn't have asked for better source material. (Thanks, Jesus!)

So even though it is pretty unlikely that all of those contributing factors are true for you, I thought I'd still share the study we are using to compare the virtue and the parable, which would be perfect to use for Mass prep or followup, or as a study any time.

Click on each of the images below for the two page booklets:

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Seven Sorrows of Mary Reflection

The month of September is dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary, praying with the moments in Mary's life where she stood strong in the face of suffering, relying on her faith in her Son. I've posted a few coloring notes pages before (here) but wanted to do something to help my students pray with the Mater Dolorosa. So I created a little booklet with the Sorrows, their Scripture reference, and a short reflection to help connect it back to the reader's life. I'm also sharing a script that we used at a middle school prayer service where one student read the Scripture passage, we had a little quiet time, and then another student read the reflection.

These tools would work for personal prayer, a guide for Lectio Divina, a classroom study on the Seven Sorrows, or a time of group prayer.

Click here for the readers' script:
Click here for the reflection mini book:
(This is intended to be folded like the mini book in this video)

 And you can find some other Seven Sorrows printables here:

And here's a project based set of activities students can choose from to show what they've learned about the Seven Sorrows (this one is editable and shareable too!)