Hallelujah and Peace to Celebrate Easter Season

April 5, 2016 Denise Gorss 0

Because our faith formation program takes time off for Holy Week and Easter Week, the Second Week of Easter is the first time we meet after the Church has celebrated the Resurrection and the Alleluia has returned to Mass. I like to make a point of that for the young people in my group and start sessions after Easter by playing a recording of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” It grabs the attention of the young people […]

Four Ways to Help Children Understand Easter, the Feast of Feasts

March 31, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

Easter is central to Christian faith. We are, as St. Augustine pointed out, an Easter people. How do we help students identify themselves as Easter people and claim Alleluia! as their song? First, make sure they know the story of Easter. Easter is the “Feast of feasts,” the moment when the Kingdom of God enters into our time (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1168‒1169). Jesus’ Death on the Cross and his Resurrection after three days […]

Eight Ways to Teach Ascension and Pentecost

May 14, 2015 Joyce Donahue 0

Ascension and Pentecost—the two great feasts that signal the end of the Easter season—often occur at the end of the school year. They may even occur after religious education programs have ended. We can easily forget about them. But understanding Ascension and Pentecost is essential if our young people are going to grow into what Pope Francis has called a Church of “missionary disciples.” Jesus gave us a mission to “Go into all the world and […]

Three Questions at the Heart of the Celebration of the Ascension

May 4, 2015 Joe Paprocki 0

Next week, we will be celebrating the Ascension of the Lord, a feast that often seems to lack the “punch” of other aspects of the Paschal Mystery. We tend to “get” the Incarnation, the suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. But why is it important to know that Jesus ascended into heaven? Does this feast simply tell us where he went? And what does it mean that “he is seated at the right hand of the […]

Ascension to Pentecost: The First Novena—Free Poster and Booklet

April 22, 2015 Joe Paprocki 4

During the Easter season, we look at the Gospel stories of Jesus Christ’s appearances after the Resurrection. At the end of 40 days, Jesus ascended into heaven, promising to send a helper to the disciples as they took on their mission of spreading the Good News. That helper—the Holy Spirit—came 10 days later on the day of Pentecost. Between the Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles and Mary waited in prayer […]

Five Tips for Celebrating the Easter Season in Your Classroom

April 9, 2015 Special Contributor 0

The DreamWorks film, Rise of the Guardians, presents the legendary figures of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman as the protectors of the innocence, hopes, and dreams of children. In one important scene, the Easter Bunny explains to Jack Frost, the newest guardian, the meaning of Easter. “Easter is new beginnings, new life,” he says. “Easter’s about hope.” And really, it is. Our goal during the Easter season is to […]

How to Learn the Paschal Greeting with a Tech Twist

April 8, 2015 Barb Gilman 2

I love seeing my students after our Easter break. They look fresh-faced with that “I-just-got-a-haircut” look, they seem taller, and they are sporting a new pair of shoes! I greet them with with colorful Easter decorations, which include my table-top sized Easter tree. Each Easter I love teaching my students about the Orthodox paschal greeting. You say, “Christ is Risen!” Your neighbor replies, “Indeed he is Risen!” What a great way to greet your neighbors […]

Easter Blessings

April 5, 2015 Joe Paprocki 0

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Risen Christ, Alleluia! He is indeed risen! As we begin this glorious 50-day season of Easter—a time in which we celebrate fully the Lord’s triumph over sin and death—may our hearts be filled with new life and may our spirits soar! To help us begin this celebration, I am happy to offer you this brief video reflection on the Gospel story of Peter and John running to the tomb […]

Good Friday Points to Easter

April 3, 2015 Joe Paprocki 0

My friend, Todd Williamson (Director of the Office for Divine Worship in Chicago), likes to remind people that we should not approach Good Friday as though we do not know the outcome—namely, the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter! While Good Friday is a solemn and sober celebration, we know full well that it is leading us to the joy of the Resurrection and Christ’s triumph over sin and death. With that in mind, I thought […]

Celebrating the Light of Christ and the Easter Vigil

March 13, 2015 Joe Paprocki 0

Recently, I received an e-mail from a fourth-grade catechist, Gail, who hails from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. In it, she shared a very nice idea for making Paschal candles in preparation for the Easter Vigil. Here is how she goes about doing this easy project. Hello Joe, Celebrating the Light of Christ and the Easter Vigil: I have used Pringles (potato chips) cans for my students to make their own version of the Paschal candle. I used […]

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