During the Easter season, I like to spend some time talking with the young people about what happened to the disciples after the Resurrection. We cover the post-Resurrection appearances of Christ, but I also use the time to introduce the stories of the Apostles and where they went after the Ascension and Pentecost.
Christ Our Life, Grade 7, Chapter 7 provides a section called “Portraits of the Apostles,” which details this activity, but the information about the lives of the Apostles can also be found through Web searches. We have one or two paragraphs of information on each of the Apostles (including Judas and his replacement, Matthias). I divide the young people into small groups if needed, or assign one Apostle to each participant. I give the class time to read the brief bios and instruct the young people to share the key points with the rest of the group—including feast day, where each traveled after Pentecost, and method of death.
We then do an activity in which I ask review questions about the lives of the Apostles and the students have to raise a card with the name of the Apostle(s) that answer the question. Over the years I’ve seldom had more than 13 kids in the room for the activity, so I give each young person a card with the name of one Apostle. If I have a few more or a few less students, we can double-up on names as needed. Questions include: Which Apostles were fisherman? Who become the first head of the Church? Who was chosen to replace Judas? Which Apostles were Gospel writers? and Which Apostles were martyred?
By doing this exercise, the young people learn about the Apostles and how each took Christ’s mission to the world. They particularly notice that most of the Apostles were killed for their faith. The lesson shows that following Christ is not an easy path, but faith, commitment, and prayer will bring the strength a disciple needs—whether in the time of the Apostles or in the 21st century—to live the life God calls us to live.
Have you shared the stories of the early disciples with your group? How were the stories received?
Image: Stefan Lochner, “Die Apostelmartyrien.” “The Martyrdom of the Apostles,” 1435–40, public domain via Wikimedia Commons.