Catechist Network

A portal for Catechists to share resources, ideas and companionship in the ministry of Religious Education including Sacramental Preparation.

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From Parking Lot to Participation

But why don’t they come to Mass?

Catechists from more than 25 parishes came together over the last few weeks to consider the question of the participation of families in parish life.  While this is high during the periods of Sacramental Preparation and our Catholic schools are popular for a variety of reasons families often choose to be Catholic in ways other than Sunday worship.   We really desire to have them join us at the table and so we chatted about how we might encourage engagement.

The underpinning theme was welcome.  How do we welcome those who arrive, maybe a little tentative, maybe returning after years absent? And how do we encourage even this tentative engagement?  After much discussion there was no simple solution.  Actually there wasn’t even a complex solution.  We did however break open some of the reasons, some of the barriers and share a passion to continue asking the questions and taking steps to ensure “All are welcome, all are welcome in this place”. Read our SharedWisdom

Share the Story

How do we share the resurrection story?  One way is through digital media.  Take an image and add a quote using such apps as Canva and Typorama. Then share it.

To Use Now

Resources appropriate to what is currently happening in the parish life.

The Story of the Ascension

The Story of Pentecost

Useful Resources

Resources to use in Catechetical Sessions

Engage – Go Holy Spirit

Pop some popcorn, have some fun and investigate how the Holy Spirit is in action in the Church.

Look at a bowl of un-popped popcorn kernels. These are like a symbol for all of us as members of our faith community. We are created with beautiful potential inside of us. Our faith and our gifts dwell within in us from the moment we are conceived. When we follow God we can become something wonderful. Without God, we do not reach our full potential.

The bag/saucepan is the Church, a place where we are all invited by Christ

The salt and this butter are a symbol for the Sacraments. The Sacraments make us more flavourful and appealing, more Christ-like. When we participate in them, they give us the strength to continue sharing ourselves with others.

Make the popcorn. Notice how some of the kernels, like people, respond more quickly and that, when they are fill with the heat (like the Holy Spirit), all dance around, even sometimes moving the popper (like people move the Church).

When you are finished note that some of the kernels do not pop. They were in the same heat for the same length of time. That popcorn represents the people who do not respond to the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Which type of kernel do you want to be? As you snack on the popcorn reflect and share on how you want to allow the Spirit to work in your life.

Fruits of the Spirit

FruitAThe Fruits of the Holy Spirit is a biblical term that sums up nine attributes of a Christian life according to Paul in his Letter to the Galatians (5:22-23): “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

This set of cards can be used in a variety of ways.

FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT

Ordinary Time

The longest season of the liturgical year is Ordinary Time. It is in two parts Christmas to Lent, Pentecost to Advent.  It is a time when we concentrate on how we live the Good News in our daily lives.

This video provides a quick review of the Ordinary Season, its colour and focus.

Ordinary Time

The Sign of the Cross

We pray the Sign of the Cross regularly.  As well as prayer it is a statement of our core belief regarding God and God’s love for us all.

This short video reminds us of how we pray this prayer using a catchy tune.

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The Sign of the Cross

Learn this action version of the Hail Mary and pray it together as a family.                   Photo (60)

  • Hail Mary, (Lift your right hand pointing to the sky.)
  • full of grace, (Lift your left hand pointing to the sky.)
  • the Lord is with you. (Bring your hands down folded near your heart.)
  • Blessed are you among women, (Take your right hand and sweep it across your body pointing to all the girls in the group around you.)
  • and blessed it the fruit of your womb, Jesus. (Pretend you are rocking a baby in your arms.)
  • Holy Mary, (Lift your right hand pointing to the sky.)
  • Mother of God, (Lift your left hand pointing to the sky.)
  • pray for us sinners (Bring your hands down folded near your heart.)
  • now (Point down to the ground with both hands.)
  • and at the hour of our death. (Point to a pretend watch on your wrist.)
  • Amen. (Bring your hands together folded near your heart.)

Write your own petition to Mary asking her to pray with you.

                             Create an Ojo de Dios

The “Ojo de Dios” or God’s Eye is an ancient symbol ojo-de-dios

Materials:

  • Two ice cream sticks.
  • Wool in different colours.
  • Scissors & glue

Instructions:

  • Glue the sticks together in the shape of a cross
  • Wrap the wool once around 1, once around 2, once around 3, once around 4. Always going in the same order around the sticks.
  • Continue on…  Once around 1, once around 2, etc until you’re happy with the first layer of the eye.
  • Snip the first colour of yarn and tie on a second colour.  Continue on with the second colour and then a third, fourth and fifth as desired.

Hang your Ojo de Dios in a prominent place to remind everybody that the loving eyes of God are upon you;  that God cares for us.

Creating Hands of Healing Love

Each family member takes a piece of card and pen. Spreads their non-dominant (the hand they do not normally write with) out on the paper and traces around it. jesus-hand

On each of the five fingers the person writes one way that they can show God’s healing love to others.

Cut out the healing hand and place it in a place to remind you to bring God’s healing love to other people. hand

  • If the family knows someone (maybe an older person who has received the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick ask them about the experience.

Set up a regular family check that the five ways of showing God’s healing love have been practised.

Bake Bread Together

Ingredients

500g strong wholewheat or white bread flour                              7g sachet fast-action dried yeast           1 tsp salt              2 tbsp olive oil                   1 tbsp clear honey

  • Tip the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl and mix together with your hands. Stir 300ml of hand-hot water with the oil and honey, then stir into the dry ingredients to make a soft dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 mins or until the dough no longer feels sticky, sprinkling with a little more flour if you need it.
  • Oil the loaf tin and put the dough in the tin, pressing it in evenly. Put in a large plastic food bag and leave to rise for 1 hr or until the dough has risen to fill the tin and it no longer springs back when you press it with your finger.
  • Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/. Make several slashes across the top of the loaf with a sharp knife, then bake for 30-35 mins until the loaf is risen and golden. Tip it out onto a cooling rack and tap the base of the bread to check it is cooked. It should sound hollow.
  • Leave to cool.
  • Eat together with your favourite topping.
  • Eucharist means ‘thanksgiving’. As you eat your bread together consider and name all that you as a gamily are thankful for.

Examination of Conscience

Sacrament_ReconciliationWhen we are preparing children to celebrate Reconciliation for the first time, we teach them about examining their conscious.

One of the ways to get children thinking about their lives and the choices they make is to use the Our Father. They are familiar with the prayer and it’s petitions remind us of our responsibilities to make choices that are life giving.

You can download an Examination of Conscience that uses the Our Father as its framework.

peacemakerWhat is a peacemaker?

You’ll need two large magnets and a large paper clip.

  • Try to push together two like poles, make sure that everyone has a go and feels the rejection.
  • Join the two like poles using a paper clip ‘peacemaker’.
  • As a family talk about being peacemakers around the home, at school, at work. What actions can we take to make sure everyone is treated well?
  • Some of the attitudes that we take to a situation will help create an environment where everyone is respected. These attitudes may be summarised:
    • Good thoughts about everybody
    • Do nothing to harm someone physically or by reputation
    • Never gossip
  • How else can you be a peacemaker?

Quick Reminder about Lent

This short and simple video reminds us about the reason for the season  of Lent.

It could be used as a seasonal reminder shown before Mass (or after).

The Stations of the Cross and Acts of Charity

To connect our acts of charity, our practical alms-giving with discipleship, we can use the Stations of the Cross as inspiration.
For example:
Station 1. Jesus is condemned to death can remind us to pray for those in prison.
Station 10. Jesus is stripped of His garments could serve as a reminder to clean out your closet and donate what you don’t NEED to charity.
Station 13. Jesus is taken down from the cross could inspire you to send a card or meal to a family who has lost a loved one.station-10
Fourteen Stations provides a number of Lenten challenges.

The Season of Easter

Exploring the Church Building

An engaging look at the Church building, its contents and meaning. Show your students and challenge them to make their own version of your parish church.

Learning about Reconciliation

This link leads to is a fun way to help students become comfortable in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

examination-conscience-box

Practising Penance: A First Reconciliation Activity

Teaching Children About Reconciliation

Catholic Icing has some wonderful activities for teaching children about Reconciliation. Not all kiwi houses have stairs but it can be adapted to other situations such as the back of the toilet door or footsteps heading to the bed.

To Think About

Wisdom about the task of Catechesis in the contemporary world.

Many of those in our sessions

  • Spend the equivalent of a full-time job on three to five screens each day.
  • Make friends through Tumblr and Instagram.
  • Binge watch YouTube and Netflix.
  • Don’t remember a world before social media.

This challenges the way that we do Catechesis – it has to be different. This article explores how young people today gain knowledge and understanding.

We strive to use technology not because its cool and we have to, we use it because it enables us to teach the Good News. If you are confused about social media usage as it relates to the teachings of the Church, this article on How to Integrate Technology provides some great pointers and ideas.

Social media from cutout newspaper headlines pinned to a cork bulletin boardOften what we read about Social Media is targeting business or teachers in general. This article is all about Social Media in ministry.

To Create With

Ideas regarding tools to help create interesting learning activities

Easy Quiz Making

Children like to play games – they love quizzes. Quizizz is an easy to use site that allows you to create multi-choice games. A great way to find out what participants are familiar with and check that they have learnt the basics. Another plus is that you can search a term such as Eucharist and find a number of quizzes created by others.

Note: Use quizzes you find on this site with discretion!

Animated Story Telling

The Christian life is explained in narrative. We remember the richness of both Tradition and Scripture through telling stories. Plotagon provides the opportunity to tell animated stories and share them with others. You might use it yourself to tell an important story. A contemporary version of the Good Samaritan for example, or set your participants a home task. They might tell the story of their Confirmation hero or summarise the parts of the Rite of Reconciliation.

Other Tools to Create With

Canva is a great way to produce wonderful images for use in ministry. This video shows you how to do it. However the best way to learn is by trying. Have a go and upload your creations on the FaceBook page (you will need to join if you are not already a member).

Sometime moving pictures help. With cell phones and tablets it’s now really easy to take photos and videos to create a simple but helpful video for your sessions – you could also consider getting your students to make them.  One of the easiest to use is Animoto.

If you are looking for ‘word’ rather than picture instructions there are plenty to be found on the web but here are some of the clearest.