Archive for the ‘Sue's Suggestions’ category

Lesson Notes: Liturgy of the Eucharist

October 14, 2017

Liturgy of the Eucharist

This week, we’re going to continue our study of the Holy Mass using the lesson and your Mass booklet and I just want to add a couple things:

This is the ideal time to share why you receive the Eucharist in your hand or on your tongue. Both are acceptable, but whichever you choose should be done with highest reverence, being mindful of just Who you are receiving. Share your personal devotion with your kids by taking advantage of this teachable moment.


Also, once your kids have finished going through their My Holy Mass Book, encourage them to bring it with to Mass! Older kids can keep track through the words and younger ones can do it by looking at the pictures – either way, keeping track of what’s going on in the liturgy by using a missal like this can be a very effective way to focus on the Mass in a new light.

Lesson Notes: The Liturgy of the Word

October 11, 2017

Liturgy of the Word

This month, we’re really focusing on the Mass, a topic that is foundational to what it means to be Catholic.  We all got an overview in our October classroom lessons and now we’re breaking it down at home throughout the rest of the month.

We are beginning with the Liturgy of the Word and I love this quote about beginnings at the beginning at the book of John:

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

We tend to think of a Bible as the Word of God, and that’s absolutely true, but John is telling us that Jesus himself is the Word of God.  When we get to know the Bible better, we’ll get to know Jesus better and that is the goal of EVERYTHING!

Mass bookletThis lesson works together with next week’s lesson on the Liturgy of the Eucharist to create a missal for your children to use.  Start with the last page in the booklet, where you’ll find a list of interactive ways to use it for all ages.  Write, draw, reflect, and practice along with the booklet as you teach about each section of the Mass.

Of course, the best way to bring this lesson to life is to actually go to Mass.  We know that’s hard!  There are seasons in every family’s life and every child’s life, where even just getting ready for Mass is daunting, but we encourage you to persist!  Making Sunday Mass that “always, always, always” thing your family does will help your children develop that holy habit as well and will help them tremendously as they move into adult life.  (Don’t ever get to the place where you are deciding on Saturday IF you should go to Mass the next day!)

We offer some helps for that in the lesson.  Starting on page 6, the Pauline family works through some situations that will likely mirror some things you experience.  Their choices are filled with practical ideas for all ages.

And finally, don’t miss the Parent Pages that are filled with Q & A about all sorts of things that aren’t covered in the lesson.

  • I’m on vacation this weekend.  Can I just go to Mass during the week to make up for missing on Sunday?
  • I’m allergic to wheat.  Can I get a rice host?
  • Last weekend the priest was running low on hosts and had to break them in half.  Am I getting half of Jesus?
  • Why can’t my Protestant friend receive communion?  He believes in Jesus too!

And lots more!

Art for November Prayer Tables

October 11, 2017

This month’s topic is the Creed, and as you’ll learn both the Nicene and Apostles’ Creed are divided into three parts, corresponding to the three Persons of the Trinity.

Since Baptism is given “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, the truths of faith professed during Baptism are articulated in terms of their reference to the three persons of the Holy Trinity.

And so the Creed is divided into three parts: “the first part speaks of the first divine Person and the wonderful work of creation; the next speaks of the second divine Person and the mystery of his redemption of men; the final part speaks of the third divine Person, the origin and source of our sanctification.”

CCC 189-190

For that reason, the piece I’ve chosen for this month’s prayer tables picks up that theme.


This work by Albrecht Durer was completed in 1511 as an altarpiece for a church.  The Persons of the Trinity are the focus, framed by clouds and angels.  On the left are the heavenly martyrs led by the Queen of heaven, herself.  On the right are Old Testament Saints, led by John the Baptist.  Near the bottom of the painting, but still above the clouds, are all the others in heaven: priests, nuns, lay people, etc., and at the very bottom we see the artist who painted himself in the scene still on earth.

It’s very easy to look at this painting, with its clear vision of heavenly realities and recite, “I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.”  “I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God …”  “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and giver of life …”

Image Credit: The Web Gallery of Art

Are you new to Family Formation?

October 7, 2017

2017 Version

It’s the beginning of the year and there is a LONG list of basics and extras and opportunities and stuff to pick up and stuff you could buy and stuff you needed to make sure your kids were bringing home and stuff to memorize and stuff to bring back next month and ways to sign up to help our program that it is probably ridiculously confusing for first-timers.

If that’s you, I’m guessing you weren’t alone. Every year we need to find the balance between giving enough information to new people, covering all the information we need to convey, and staying within our time limits, and we probably fail way more often than we realize. If you happen to be one of those whose head was spinning a little when you left, read on.  This primer of the Church of Saint Paul’s October classroom meeting is for you!

First of all, this time and every time, the most important part of Family Formation is attending the monthly classroom session and doing the Home Lessons (preferably in the weeks indicated).  If you don’t do anything else, do these lessons. They are the core and the most valuable part of Family Formation and the part that will have the biggest impact on your family’s faith life!


Other stuff you may want to know about:

Memory verse (optional): Each month we encourage students to learn a memory verse to be recited for the classroom catechist the following month. You can find this verse on the front cover sidebar of each Home Lesson and on a separate sheet that was in your packet. There are almost always separate verses for younger and older students. Those who can successfully recite will receive a small prize – typically a Holy Trader Card.

W.O.G. logs (optional): W.O.G. Logs are a way to encourage kids to read the Word of God on a regular basis. Simply check the box for each day you read the Bible and bring that month’s log to the next meeting and put it into the correct box in the entry. Each month all the WOG Logs that are turned in are placed into a drawing and two students will win Dairy Queen gift cards. Numbers are tallied throughout the year, and in May the students with the highest number of days reading Scripture will be honored with a special prize. You can see the total number of days our Family Formation students have logged throughout the year on Family Formation’s bulletin board in the hallway near our office.

All Saints’ Day Party (optional, but super fun!): An annual event for families celebrating the Feast of All Saints. The evening begins with Mass and then dinner, games, and lots of fun. Kids (and adults) should come in costume, dressed as a Bible character, animal, or Saint. (No cartoon characters or scary costumes, please.) There will also be a separate teen room with games and snacks for kids in 7th grade and older. Please pre-register after Masses beginning this weekend.

Saints’ YES! (optional): This is a social group for 4-6th graders. They meet monthly for a wide variety of fun events. Register at the beginning of the year to participate. Their first meeting is Saturday, October 14.  Different events are offered each month and 4-6th graders will get a monthly postcard advertising their event.

Handmaidens (optional): Handmaidens of the Lord is a group for girls, grades 4 through 6, with the aim of encouraging and teaching girls to grow in holiness and providing opportunities to develop friendships. A typical meeting features study in virtue, a feminine art, tea time, and topic handouts for further study at home. Registrations are being taken now and the first meeting is on Thursday, October 26.

Soldiers of Christ (optional): This group, for 4-6th-grade boys and their fathers, features lessons on virtue, scout skills, active games, and social time with other boys from the parish. Registrations are being taken now and the first meeting is on October 26.

Mass Challenge (optional): This year’s additional challenge is to get better acquainted with all the things you see when you come to church.  Parents will quiz their own children, and when they know the material to your satisfaction your child can collect a prize at the next Family Formation meeting.

So to recap – this is an active and creative parish with lots of opportunities to grow in your faith, socialize, and serve others. Focus on the essentials for now and eventually add other stuff that will fit in with your family life. All of these things (and lots more that you’ll hear about throughout the year) are available each year. We’ll see you when you’re ready!

Also, please, please, please, if you have any questions, ASK! That’s what we’re here for!


The Church, young people and the role of parents

September 29, 2017

Bishop-Cozzens-Official-Portrait_300dpi.jpgYou may have already read this here, but Bishop Cozzens’ words carry way more weight than mine!  Read his version of a landmark study on the influence of Catholic parents on their children, conducted by Dr. Christian Smith and associates.

Here’s the short version:

Studies show that unless parents have created a Catholic culture in the home, the children will succumb to our society’s non-Christian way of seeing the world when they become adults. The parish, the school and the youth program are all helpful, but parental religious influence is the condition of possibility for other influences.

This is a great reminder, at the beginning of the year, that every single thing Family Formation does is intended to help you with the goal of bringing your children to an adult, life-long, rich relationship with Jesus and the Church He established.  Thanks for being with us this year, and we’re excited to help bring everyone in your family closer to Jesus!

You can read the full report here.

Partners in the Gospel

September 26, 2017

Partners in the Gospel

We’re always excited to see the creative ways people find to spread the Gospel, and one of the best things about the internet is all the great Catholic stuff you can find with a simple search.

Every now and then something comes to our attention that fits really well with what we do, and we’re glad to share it with you.  They’ll be tagged with this icon and with “Partners in the Gospel” in the word cloud on our blog sidebar.

Today’s comes from the Merchant Adventurers Etsy Shop where you will find all sorts of amazing costumes, just in time for All Saints Day and Nativity play! Katy sent us this wimple and veil – a perfect start for lots of nun Saints, and a boy’s black cape, just right for Saint Dominic or your favorite Jesuit.


Not only are her designs really creative but, as a seamstress, I give her two thumbs up for the comfortable fabric and sturdy construction that will lend themselves to hours of creative play!


On October 7, we will hold a drawing for the pieces she sent for this review. Any Church of Saint Paul Family Formation family who attends the classroom session in October is eligible to win.  In the meantime, go to her shop with your kids and find some awesome All Saints costumes!

Lesson Notes: Virtues

May 30, 2017


This “lesson” is easy if you simply consider it to be a Summer Activity Packet, all on the theme of the cardinal virtues and the theological virtues.  Your assignment, parents, is to flip through it all to get an overview of what’s available.

It’ll be a little while, but at some point, the novelty of summer vacation will wear off and your kids will be looking for something to do, and that’s when you bring out this packet.  There are activities for indoors and out, rainy days, and car rides.  Things to do when your kids are alone, or in neighborhood-sized groups.  Become familiar with the choices, pull together any materials you might need and then be ready for the opportunities to keep growing in faith throughout the summer!

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