A Laid-Back, Fun Night

Monday’s session turned out very well! I have to say that I had a very laid-back and informal attitude going into this session and my overall goal was to keep it simple which I did. As a result, I actually finished everything I planned to do (for once!) Here’s a summary:

  • Approaching the session, I continued to “downsize” my approach because of the fire drill which would take up time. I decided to set up the prayer center myself before the session and to skip the procession that we normally do.
  • This enabled me to begin with our usual prayer before the fire drill.
  • As the young people shared their petitions, one young lady prayed, “I pray that our teachers don’t go on strike anymore.” I thought that was very touching after the kids in Evergreen Park endured a strike that stretched out over a week.
  • The fire drill took place at 7:10 and by 7:20 we were back and ready to roll.
  • The kids had their Bibles in front of them and I slapped a dollar bill on the table and said, “OK, a dollar to the first student who can find David and Goliath in the Bible in under 60 seconds. Begin!”
  • They immediately went at it, leafing through their Bibles frantically. Of course the dollar ended up back in my wallet.
  • I told them that we were going to spend the rest of the evening learning how to find things in the Bible.
  • I brought along a bag full of treats and told them that when they find things in the Bible tonight as directed, they’ll get a treat. Of course they reacted with glee!
  • We then spent 30 minutes going over each of the 8 sections of the Bible: Pentateuch, History, Wisdom, Prophets, Gospels, Acts, Letters, and Revelation. I chose to do so without the PowerPoint I originally intended to use…again, just to simplify.
  • In each section, I instructed the young people to find a specific story which they eagerly did and then I awarded them with the treats (which they could not eat until the evening was over) They really enjoyed finding the passages and showing me that they found them so they could get their treat.
  • I’m not real big on doing the “award” thing like I did tonight…I just thought it would be fun and it made the evening (and me) more relaxed (sometimes I take things a little too seriously)
  • We still had 15 minutes left for a guided reflection which, as usual, the kids asked for and they continue to respond very well to the experience. We had a very quiet and prayerful experience. Again, I chose the low-tech approach to the guided reflection, leading it myself instead of using the recorded guided reflection from the Finding God CD. I did play instrumental music in the background on CD.
  • As always, the kids blessed themselves with holy water on their way out.

I look forward to next week as we begin to explore specific Old Testament stories!

About Joe Paprocki 2739 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 A Laid-Back, Fun Night

  1. Can you please provide more info (or a link) about the guided reflection? I’d love to incorporate that in my weekly sessions. I think the kids would love it! Also – about treats – I like to use “Smartees” – the kids get a kick out of that.

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