Monday, January 14, 2008

A Family Resource: We Believe!

I just found a wonderful place in cyberspace. It is called We Believe. I was familiar with the published books by these folks but I did not know they had such an interactive website. The We Believe web site contains a wealth of ideas for helping the weekly readings make sense to our kids. The website has reflections and discussion questions on the readings for each Sunday and holy day liturgy. Activities for young people are included and some materials for younger children can even be printed out. Previewing the upcoming Sunday readings is a great way to help children understand the Mass and feel "in the know". The homily has a better chance of making sense and touching hearts if we help our children prepare to hear The Word, don't you think?

For example - this next Sunday's gospel:

John 1:29-34

Gospel Reflection
John the Baptist had the great honor of preparing the way for Jesus. Through John's preaching and baptizing, the people's hearts were ready for the coming of the Lamb of God. John had spent his entire life listening to God's word. And when Jesus, the Messiah, finally came, God helped John to recognize him.

Discussion Questions for Gospel
Very often we get so busy and noisy that God's voice is completely drowned out. We are not always prepared to recognize Jesus in our daily lives. What will you do to become a better listener?

Here is their "Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades"

The Lamb of God
Explain to the children: One of the special titles, or names, we have for Jesus is "Lamb of God." Just before John baptized Jesus, John said, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." Before we receive Holy Communion, the priest says, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Happy are we who are called to his supper."

Point out to the children that sometimes the Lamb of God is seen in stained-glass windows or on the doors of the tabernacle. Distribute the reproducible master with the picture of the Lamb of God. He carries a flag of victory, because although Jesus died, he rose from the dead. Have them color the picture now or at home.
Here is their "Proclaiming Faith Activities" (for Older children/students)
Giving Testimony
A testimony can be a statement of a truth about something or someone. Or it can be a public expression of a religious experience. John the Baptist gave testimony to Jesus by pointing out that he was the Lamb of God. Write a testimony of your own about Jesus, about one paragraph long. You may tell several truths about him, or share a personal experience of him. Call your paragraph, "My Testimony."

Note: You may want to encourage using the Bible as a reference for this activity.

Reflecting God's Glory
"I will make you a light to the nations," God tells us in the first reading. How can you, alone or with others, let God's glory shine through you? For each of these categories, name one way you will reflect the glory of God.

In the way I respond to new ideas

Suggestion: I will be open and enthusiastic about new ideas that reflect God's will.

In art, music, drama, or sports

In the way I relate to others

In my attitudes about life, faith, prayer

In the way I participate in the liturgy

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