10 Ways for Catholic School Teachers to Reinforce Catholic Identity Outside of Religion Class

Catholic school students - 10 Ways for Catholic School Teachers to Reinforce Catholic Identity

I recently did a presentation on Catholic identity for the Catholic school teachers of the Diocese of Worcester, MA. Realizing that a portion of my audience was made up of teachers who do not teach religion class, I focused on ways that teachers in any subject area can reinforce Catholic identity in their learning environment in the Catholic school. Here are 10 such ways:

  1. Begin your class each day with a ritual greeting such as, “This is the day the Lord has made./Let us rejoice and be glad!”
  2. End your class each day with a particular traditional Catholic prayer such as the Memorare, Prayer to the Holy Spirit, Pater Noster (Our Father in Latin), Ave Maria (Hail Mary in Latin), Prayer of St. Francis, or Hail, Holy Queen.
  3. Sing a refrain or hymn with your students to begin class. For example, science teachers might consider hymns that praise God for creation such as “How Great Thou Art” or “All Creatures of Our God and King.”
  4. Decorate with quotes from saints that are related to your field of study. For example, an art teacher may place this quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
  5. Place in your classroom pictures of saints and Catholic figures related to your field of study. For example, the following Catholics were scientists: St. Albert the Great, St. Hildegard of Bingen, Gregor Mendel, Pope Francis (was a chemist before becoming a priest). The following saints and blesseds were artists: Blessed Fra Angelico and St. Catherine of Bologna. St. Hubert was a mathematician. Blessed Marie-Elisabeth Pelissier and St. Cecilia were musicians.
  6. Pray a novena (nine days) with your students in preparation for an exam, a major project, or even a major athletic event.
  7. Every day, ask a different student to mention the name of a deceased loved one and pray for him or her and for all members of the Communion of Saints.
  8. Find themes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that pertain to the subject matter you are studying (historical events, literature, etc.)
  9. Do a 3-Minute Retreat with your class before moving on to your subject matter.
  10. Invite students to share a sign of peace as they leave your classroom.

What other suggestions would you add for fostering Catholic identity in schools?

About Joe Paprocki 2745 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.

5 Comments on 10 Ways for Catholic School Teachers to Reinforce Catholic Identity Outside of Religion Class

  1. Celebrate the Church year–open class with an Advent Reflection and light an Advent Wreath, have special prayers for special days like Thanksgiving and Feast Days. Make prayer timely and “useful” so pray before tests, celebrate the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit, pray for the play, the athletes in the big game, the Quiz Leahue, those who travel before vacations.

  2. -Teach children to stop whatever they’re doing to stand and greet the priest or a visitor when they come into the classroom.
    -Don’t be afraid to stop a lesson and pray when an ambulance is heard passing by the school.
    -Pray more in the classroom,especially the rosary; using stories/pictures of the mysteries would help children.
    -Most importantly of all take children to daily Mass. Once a week is good and holy,but daily would help the teachers,students and parents even more to be like the saints!
    -Teach the children to love by talking sweet to them and helping them to find friends.

  3. I have shared this with many Catholic School teachers, and they really like this. Many are already doing these things and feel very affirmed!

    Interestingly, Music teachers occasionally note the reference to St. Cecilia being a musician, saying that historically, this does not seem to be the case. The connection to music was attributed to Cecilia during the Middle Ages. The references I consulted suggested the same. I thought I would pass along this feedback, fyi. If there is another reference to verify Cecilia as a musician, that would be interesting to pass along to them.

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