Leading an Experience of Holy Week

The weeks leading up to Holy Week present us with a unique opportunity to deepen children’s relationships with Jesus Christ through his Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Rather than teaching about the events of Holy Week, try leading your children through an experience of Holy Week. The liturgies of the Triduum are so rich; we can use elements from them in our classrooms to help prepare children for participating in these liturgies with their families. Create […]

Holy Week Activities Pack

Holy Week is a time set aside to recall the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. During this week, we prepare ourselves for Easter by prayerfully reflecting upon the events of Jesus’ Passion and Death. Help children and families experience the full meaning of the final days before Easter with our Holy Week Activities Pack. The pack includes a scrambled words challenge, a crossword puzzle, a visual story strip, and an activity inviting prayerful reflection […]

Why Do We Observe Lent?

Lent is one of my favorite times of the year. It forces me to slow down and focus more intently on Jesus for 40 days. But when teaching fourth graders, slowing down is not the optimal way to communicate the importance of Lent. While I was talking to my class about Lent, I was surprised by the number of students who confused Lent and Advent. Too many didn’t understand much of Lent beyond giving up […]

Lent with the Saints, Part 3: Giving Alms with St. Katharine Drexel

This is the last of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Whenever I talk about the three pillars of Lent—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—the conversation I have with young people about alms usually goes something like this: “What are alms?” one youth will ask. “Are those the things we get on the Sunday before Easter?” “No,” I’ll correct gently, “those are palms.” “I know,” another will say, “it’s a book in […]

Lent as a Catechetical Leader

Our annual Lenten journey has begun. I don’t know about you, but it seems like I always start this penitential season really well, but then quickly fall into the same old busy-ness of parish life. In fact, for most catechetical leaders, Lent is our busiest time of the year. How do we counter that? First and foremost, we have to make a commitment to prayerfully focus on what the season means. It’s a time to […]

Lent with the Saints, Part 2: Fasting with St. Vincent Ferrer

This is the second of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Lent is a season in which we respond to the Lord’s call to “return to me with all your heart, / with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” (Joel 2:12) As I remind young people of the requirements for Lent, I usually share this passage with them to remind them that this obligation is nothing more than responding to […]

Journeying with the Scriptures in Lent

Many years ago I was inspired to create an interactive Lenten bulletin board based on the popular children’s board game, Candy Land. Using colored construction paper squares, I fashioned a winding path to represent the 40 days’ journey from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday. Instead of Lollipop Mountain and King Candy’s Castle, I created stops along the way that reflected the Gospel readings for the six Sundays of Lent and ended at Calvary. Visual clues […]

Lent with the Saints, Part 1: Praying with St. Patrick

In the first of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we learn from St. Patrick how to make Lent a special season of prayer. In the weeks leading up to Lent, I am reminded to tell the young people in my class about Lent. I have to tell them when Ash Wednesday services at my parish are. I am required to inform them of the Lenten regulations. I need to […]

New Projects for Lent

This is my 13th year of teaching Lent to third graders, and I’m in need of some fresh new projects and activities for my students. While I will still use my usual activities—they will still be new to this group of third graders—I have realized that adding new activities and projects helps keep me engaged and challenged. This year I will include my usual Ash Wednesday video that shows photos of our foreheads after receiving […]

The Vocabulary of Lent

As we look to observe Lent with our students, I am thinking about the language of Lent and how to ensure that my seventh-graders know the Church’s vocabulary related to the season. I shared a post on the Vocabulary of Christmas two months ago, and many of the techniques for helping children understand key terms could apply here as well. But one of the advantages of Lent, from a catechetical perspective, is that it is […]

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