A Very Prayerful Monday

This past Monday turned out to be a very prayerful evening and a good way to begin Advent with my 6th graders!

  • We met in church for the Advent Prayer Service which I put together a couple of years ago. I love when the bell ringers (hand chimes) call the assembly to order by slowing walking down the aisle and sounding their chimes. It really creates a sense of reverence and all the kids quieted down beautifully.
  • The pastor did a nice job of talking about how it feels when a teacher pops a surprise quiz. The kids responded that it makes them panic and get anxious because they are not prepared. He used that as a way to explain how Advent helps us to prepare for the coming of Christ: we have no reason to fear or panic if we are doing “the work” of disciples.
  • At the end of the prayer, I had my class walk in procession back to the school building, carrying the items that make up our prayer center and accompanied by the sounds of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by Linda Ronstadt on CD (one of the kids carried my CD player running on battery power!). They really liked that and it set the tone for the rest of the time together.
  • At this point we had a half hour left so I had them go straight to their sacred space and I led a guided reflection that I wrote a couple of years ago on the theme of Emmanuel. I was really able to take my time and allow lots of quiet time and they responded beautifully…very prayerful.
  • When we finished the reflection, we still had about 10 minutes left, so I gathered them informally on the floor for a little heads up about going to confession next week. As I told them about sharing their sins with the priest, I mentioned that they have no reason to feel self-conscious because everyone there is doing the same thing: we are all sinners. I said, “Imagine if I just sat there saying that I didn’t need to go to confession because I was perfect!” and one girl immediately responded, “THAT would be a sin!” I love it! Kids can be so perceptive!

This coming Monday should also prove to be very prayerful since we will be meeting in Church once again for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I’m not sure how much time we’ll have in the class room when all is said and done but I can’t imagine it will be more than 15 or 20 minutes.

How’s Advent going for you and your class?

About Joe Paprocki 2742 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.

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