Archive for the ‘Sue's Suggestions’ category

Lesson Notes: Isaiah the Prophet

December 13, 2017

Isaiah the Prophet

A prophet is someone sent by God to help form His people and prepare them for salvation.  From Elijah to John the Baptist, no matter how far God’s people strayed He always sent someone with the welcome reminder of his love and the hard message of how to get back to it.

This lesson is about Isaiah and specifically about his connections with John the Baptist.  Hundreds of years ago Isaiah said this:

A voice cries out:  In the desert prepare the way of the Lord!  Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!  Isaian 40:3

and today we recognize that he was announcing the future arrival of John the Baptist, who very literally came to prepare us for Salvation.  We hear from both of them in the Sunday readings during Advent, so listen for it and do these activities to reinforce the connections.

Older Kids for TLsIf you have older kids, spend a little time with the Prophecy Concentration game.  Whether you play it with classic Concentration rules or simply match the Old Testament prophecies with their New Testament fulfillment your kids will get a sense of the enormity and intricacy of God’s plan for their salvation!

Family Rosary - TinaAnd if your kids are younger don’t miss the Titles of God worksheet.  Isaiah used many words to describe God, and it’s a wonderful exercise in praise for us to do the same!  The alphabet component makes it friendly for a younger crowd, but this is an activity that the whole family can work on together.  When you’re done, be sure to post it somewhere as an Advent reminder of just how good our God is!

And finally, we’ve provided the easiest decoration possible with the Isaiah Scripture Tent.  Simply fold it in half and put it in your prayer space (or a shelf, or a mantle).  Decorate it if you want, but the graphic design stands on its own and it is a great reminder of the overall “prepare” character of Advent.

Art for January Prayer Tables

December 12, 2017

I’m going to depart from my typical suggestion of some classic piece of art and ask you to consider using a photo of someone in a religious vocation instead.  It started when a friend sent me this photo of her daughter, Sister Maddie*,

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but didn’t take long before I remembered a bunch of other former Family Formation kids who have also discerned a religious vocation.

Vocations snip

Photos have the ability to make a concept more relatable and one of the goals is to help kids think, “This could be me!” You’re welcome to print these joyful sisters or my Family Formation kids** for your prayer table, or you may like some of the pieces I suggested a few years ago for this lesson, found here.  Or better yet, if you have a priest or religious from your parish, perhaps photos of them would be best.  You may also have a local order or a diocesan vocations poster that would work.  No matter what you choose, the goal is to convey the joy of serving God and to make it relatable for your students.

 

*Isn’t this a wonderful picture! She’s with the Pro Ecclesia Sancta order.
**Email me for a bigger, printable file. sue@churchofsaintpaul.com

 

Happy New Year!

November 27, 2017

lit calendar.png

Yes, it’s that time of year, so this month spend a little time with the new Liturgical Calendar from your packet*.  Whether you plan to color or not, there’s still a wealth of information on the liturgical colors, feasts and seasons, and the Sunday Gospels.  (And that’s just the front side!)

We recommend you post it in a prominent place in your home and use some kind of marker (like a magnet or post-it flag) to track progress as we travel through this year.

 

*Not all FF parishes provide a Liturgical Calendar for their families, but whether you need one for your family or extras for gifts, they’re always available on our site.  Scroll down to about mid page to order pre-colored or color-your-own in either English or Spanish.  You’ll want Cycle B for the year starting on December 3, 2018

Lesson Notes: The Corporal Works of Mercy

November 25, 2017

Corporal Works

This week we’re focusing on the Corporal Works of Mercy and Jesus has some VERY clear teachings on them: basically, if you didn’t do these things for others, you are ignoring me.  Off to eternal punishment with you!

he-chose-poorly

On the other hand, when we do things as simple as feeding people, visiting those who can’t get out, donating clothing, etc. it’s  exactly like we’re doing these things for Jesus, Himself!  It’s pretty awesome to consider and very doable for children of all ages.  This lesson will help your whole family become more familiar with the official list and will give lots of suggestions for ways your kids can live it out.

(And you get to play bingo!)

Lesson Notes: Advent Activities Packet

November 22, 2017

Advent Activities

This packet of ideas is all about helping your family to get control of the pre-Christmas season and to use it to actually prepare for the Savior’s birth.  I like this analogy by Kendra from the Catholic All Year blog:

I think of it like I was planning a big wedding. It would be on my mind months ahead of time. I’d get a few major projects done well in advance so I wouldn’t have to worry about them as the big day approached. Then in the weeks before the wedding, I would focus on having everything I needed available and organized and cleaned. I would bake the cake and prepare the food. I would scrub down and decorate the church and the reception hall in the days just before the wedding. I would be prepared to celebrate. We’d have the rehearsal dinner the night before.

 

But what I wouldn’t do is throw a reception or two a couple of weeks before the wedding and eat the cake and the wedding bell cookies and drink all the champagne before the happy couple is even married, before they’re in town even. That would be crazy.  But that’s kind of what I was doing with Christmas.

All of our activity packets are filled with ways for you to celebrate the special seasons of the Liturgical Year.  They are not “lessons” in the traditional FF sense – the expectations are these:
  • Look it over ahead of time and prayerfully consider what will work with your family.
  • You are almost certainly not going to do everything in the packet.  It’s a bundle of ideas for you to choose from.
  • The packet is probably intended to be used throughout the season.  In this case, you may want to start with the calendar activity sometime before Advent actually begins, do the St. Nicholas activity on December 5th (in preparation for his feast the next day), and then pray the O Antiphons beginning on the 17th.  Quick and easy!
St.NDay-01

Lesson Notes: The Spiritual Works of Mercy

November 18, 2017

Spiritual Works

This lesson focuses on Saint Paul, who was a model in practicing the Spiritual Works of Mercy.  Paul was a master evangelist and knew that meant showing Jesus’ love to everyone but also saying or doing whatever was necessary to keep his growing flock on the right track.

Paul teaches us that when we do works of mercy in Jesus’ name to lead others closer to Him, we too become more like Jesus!

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are:

  • Admonish the sinner
  • Instruct the ignorant
  • Counsel the doubtful
  • Comfort the sorrowful
  • Bear wrongs patiently
  • Forgive all injuries, and
  • Pray for the living and the dead

And this is definitely an instance where we need to break down the complex language into something your children can understand.  For that, we have games!

Your whole family will benefit by playing Working at Mercy, where moving around the game board and collecting mercy cards will give all sorts of practical ways kids can practice these Works.

Additionally, your older kids will benefit from following St. Paul’s journeys by using the map of the Mediterranean region and the cards on the bottom of page 7.  As they read each verse, they should determine which of the Spiritual Works is being demonstrated, and then the card gets attached to the proper place on the map.  Map skills … Bible skills … critical thinking skills … it’s a great challenge for your older kids!

paul-map.jpg

 

 

Art for December Prayer Tables

November 15, 2017

This month’s topic is on Baptism and Confirmation and the profound connections between the two, and for our piece of prayer table art, I recommend this work by Pietro Longhi entitled The Baptism.  Baptism is the foundation of the Christian life and is a sacrament that most of your students will have experienced.

22baptis

It’s very easy to be drawn into this happy scene.  Almost all eyes are focused on the beautiful drama being enacted near the center as the infant is beginning her new life in Christ.  The woman on the right, behind the pillar, doesn’t seem to be part of the family, but she can’t resist witnessing this wonderful event, and the server in the front is looking out at all of us, make us feel like we’re part of the scene as well!

Thanks to the Web Gallery of Art!

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