Advent Hope

Tonight is an opportunity to spend some time with the young people focusing on the notion of HOPE as we proceed through this first week of Advent.

  • I picked up a few copies of the daily newspapers and will distribute sections to each of the young people, asking them to find a “bad news” story and to tear it out and prepare to describe it to the group.
  • We’ll collect these stories on the table in the center of the room and then I’ll introduce the notion that when we are bombarded with bad news, we often refer to the situation as living through “dark times.”
  • I plan to turn off the lights for a while and then ask them why we use the image of darkness when referring to troubled times (namely, because it is difficult to see in the dark!)
  • I’ll use this as an opportunity to talk about the season of Advent and how it is placed in December during the very time of the year when there is the greatest amount of darkness in our skies leading up to the winter solstice on December 21.
  • At this point, I’ll introduce the Advent wreath and talk about how, with each week, as darkness envelopes us, the light of the wreath grows stronger and brighter until we celebrate the entrance into the world of the Light of the World at Christmas.
  • I’ll invite them to think about whatever darkness they themselves are experiencing and to pray for the light of Christ to help them to be hopeful and to spread hope to others.
  • For the song of the week, I’m using a hip-hop song by Twista called Hope. It’s a gritty song but the message is one of clinging to hope in the midst of sadness, tragedy, and despair.
  • I’ll also be using a recording of O Come O Come Emmanuel by Linda Ronstadt; a beautiful and haunting a cappella version.
  • The main focus of the class will continue to be our exploration of Church history…I plan to continue the theme of light and darkness to show how, throughout Church history, the Holy Spirit has guided the Church (and the world) through periods of darkness to follow the light of Christ. I want the young people to know that this same Holy Spirit is coming to them in a special way at Confirmation.
  • Our reflective prayer near the end of class will focus on the notion of hope. I’ll invite the young people to silently share with Jesus where they are experiencing darkness in their lives and to ask for the grace to be hopeful and to share that hope with others.

I get to pull out my purple prayer cloth…Yay!

(I know…I’m such a dork!) 🙂

About Joe Paprocki 2704 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

2 Comments on Advent Hope

  1. I find your activities to be very good and I am passing this information on to my teachers. Thanks for all of the suggestions.

    (DRE) Genevieve Armstrong

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