One tool that I encourage every catechist to invest a couple of bucks in is a 2 inch roll of clear shipping/packaging tape. I call it the “poor man’s” laminator and I use it constantly to “laminate” things for my sessions in order to extend their life.
For example, this year, I have decided that for my closing prayer for each session, we will pray the Confiteor (“I confess to Almighty God…”) from the Penitential Act of the Mass. To assist the kids, I created small prayer cards with the words of the Confiteor on them. I simply pasted the words of the Confiteor into tables in a Word document (I fit 9 on a page) and then printed them out on normal paper (you can try a heavier stock but that usually messes up my printer at home!). Then, I simply use the clear shipping tape to cover the printed sections and then cut them out along the lines (see photo below from my desk at home). Voila…”laminated” prayer cards! I can distribute and collect these prayer cards at the end of each class for the whole year and they will endure!
My hope is that by the end of the year, the kids will have the words memorized. I may even just use these for a quarter or half of the year and then create cards with other prayers from the Mass to use for our closing prayer: the Gloria; the Holy, Holy; the Lamb of God; the Communion response “Lord, I am not worthy…”
I’ve also decided that for the opening prayer for each session, I will engage the young people in the Preface Dialogue from the Eucharistic Prayer:
The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right and just.
* FYI – for “liturgical purists,” the exchange “The Lord be with you – And with your spirit” is technically relegated to an exchange between an ordained minister and the assembly and I would not normally use it in a formal prayer service if I was presiding. However, as our catechetical sessions are intended to be instructive and this opening prayer is somewhat informal, I am going to go ahead and use it. Please don’t arrest me!