This is the Day the Lord Has Made!

Monday evening was my last class of the year with my 4th graders. I’m gonna miss these little guys…they were a very sweet class and we had a good experience together.

We began with a closing Mass in church and, for the second year in a row, the organist chose to sing “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad” as the responsorial and for the 2nd year in a row, my students recognized it as the refrain that we used to start class each and every week!

I have to admit that it was a bit frustrating to watch the kids at Mass. Not that their behavior was that bad but they just don’t seem to be very aware of what’s going on at Mass. They don’t seem at all engaged. I can only hope that as the years progress, they will develop a deeper appreciation for the liturgy.

We had about 15 minutes left in our classroom for me to offer some closing thoughts, present a gift to my aide Daneen, and invite the kids to come forward to the prayer table and accept a little wooden cross that I gave each of them. They also retrieved the symbol that they had brought for our prayer table and took home one of the battery operated tea lights that we used for our reflective prayer during the year. I enouraged them to use it to continue praying on their own at home. They also took home their Finding God student book.

On the way out, the kids blessed themselves with holy water one last time and shook my hand. Here’s a picture of the prayer table for our last day of class.

I look forward to hearing from you about how your last session(s) go!

About Joe Paprocki 2746 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

9 Comments on This is the Day the Lord Has Made!

  1. We finished the year with our last of 3 Mass classes. The class ended with a sketch on the board of the priest at the altar (the Mass) with arrows connecting to six things the Mass draws from (all of which we covered earlier in the year): Melchizedek, Manna, Passover, Loaves & Fishes, Last Supper, and the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

  2. Thank you Joe, for sharing your teaching stylings ;o). I have so much to learn about spreading the good news. The feedback from other catachists is also very informative.
    Watching my kids in church is also very frustrating at times. This year I am leading the 7th grade. They don’t seem to be able to sit still and be in the moment at church. In my years as a catachist I’ve lead the 1st, 6th and 7th grades, they all have trouble sitting still and being in the moment. Guess it’s up to us to keep planting those seeds.

    • Thanks for you kind words, Ronni, and for your thoughts about the kids at Mass. My DRE and I are going to talk about this to see what we can do however a big part of if can be attributed to parents not taking their kids to Mass on Sunday. It’s hard to compete with that.

  3. Joe:
    Always enjoy your thoughts and creative ideas. I teach 8th grade students and this is how I try to help them “engage” at Mass. Before our first Mass of the year, I instruct my students to choose someone special, living or dead, who they want to pray for throughout the whole year (I call it “spiritual adoption”) by offering up their Mass for this person. I do a brief overview of what “offering up your Mass” means. I remind them to they pray for this person before Mass, at the offertory, at the petitions, and during the Eucharistic Prayer (pointing out the language in the prayer that specifically addresses praying for our living and deceased members of the Body of Christ. As the year goes on (we have montly Masses) I try to instruct on the importance and meaning of different parts of the Mass throughout they year – but this first seems to have a great impact. Many respond positively and you can see it in how they behave and participate.

    • Renee, thanks so much for your thoughts. This is an excellent and highly appropriate approach to instilling a sense of reverence.

  4. Joe,
    I teach theology in a Catholic high school which I love, however, the Mass concern is one I share also. While our student body as a whole is respectful and not disruptive I do not recognize in the majority a desire to be truly present to what is occurring in our midst. I do believe that one of the biggest problems is the number of familes who do not attend Mass as a regular and fulfilling part of the week. I am constantly trying different ideas to try and get them to pray along with the liturgy, but so many seem to feel there is no need. I continue to pray that they will discovwer the richness of the Eucharist and are always looking for ideas that may enhance that. I was greatly interested in what Andrea Woronick had to say about their program and would be interested in more information. Even though I teach high school I want to say I have thoroughly enjoyed following your adventures and plans in class. Your students are truly blessed to have such a creative catechist helping them to develop a real relationship with God. Thanks for enriching my ideas as well.

    • Sue, I appreciate you sharing about your experience of teens at Mass. I hear a lot about this from catechists and teachers of kids of all ages. You’re right that we desire to see them grow in their appreciation for the richness of the Eucharist. Thanks for your kind words about my blog.

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