To Teach July 2009
Liturgy and Catechesis
Summer is a good time for teachers to look for new resources to use in the classroom. The Catholic Church values the special relationship between liturgy and catechesis. Liturgical celebration always has some catechectical components because the liturgy publicly proclaims the Church's faith in Word, song, and gesture. Liturgical catechesis is especially important for Catholics in the United States with the new English translation of the Roman Missal coming soon.
During July and August, review the suggestions below in this issue of To Teach and learn how the liturgy can become a core component of your catechesis.
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For Principals and School Boards
- In cooperation with your librarian, bolster your supply of basic liturgy resources by investing in the core titles of the Pastoral Liturgy Series from the USCCB.
- With your librarian or media or resource director, verify that you have sufficient quantities of basic Catholic books like the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and United States Catholic Catechism for Adults for your teachers' and students' use.
- Arrange for one or more classes to visit a local monastery or convent and attend one of the services of the Liturgy of the Hours. Ask a man or woman living the consecrated life to explain the relationship between the Liturgy of the Hours and St. Paul's command to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17, NAB).
- Invite a man or woman living the consecrated life to your school to present how daily liturgical prayer in a monastic community shapes the daily work or study of the consecrated life.
- When school starts, give a free copy of Night Prayer to students to celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours at home.
- In preparation for the new Roman Missal, purchase copies of Pope Benedict XVI's Sacrament of Charity (Sacramentum Caritatis) to give to each staff member at the start of the school year. Encourage them to use this resource to deepen their appreciation of the Eucharist.
- Stay in touch with news on the new Roman Missal and brainstorm ways you can prepare the school community to embrace the new ways of participating in the Mass.
- Set a year-long goal for Bible reading for the school community (see #93 in Go and Make Disciples) and designate an appropriate reward for reaching the goal. Consider requiring the staff to participate in the reading drive as well. Establish age-appropriate benchmarks, identifying number of verses or chapters and particular books that should be read. Plan different methods for demonstrating your school's new skills in biblical reading and literacy. Promote your school's Bible reading challenge in the local news, your diocesan newspaper, and at your website.
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- Read about the relationship between catechesis and the liturgy and catechesis and the sacraments in the National Directory for Catechesis to establish a framework for teaching about liturgy in your classes.
- Incorporate the NAB Daily Readings into your daily routine and learn the Church's regular rhythm of Scripture.
- Sign up for the Daily Mass Readings podcast and practice listening to the Word of God.
- Examine Pope Benedict XVI's book, The Word of God (Spiritual Thoughts Series). Pay special attention to the section on the Liturgy of the Word of God, and see how you can add the Pope's teaching to your lessons.
- Learn the basics of the Mass and the Eucharist with the USCCB's Pastoral Liturgy Series.
- Prepare an advanced session for older students based on Pope Benedict XVI's Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation The Sacrament of Charity (Sacramentum Caritatis).
- Review the changes in the people's parts of the Mass, and introduce them to your class. Choose two or three particular changes and discuss how they will impact peoples' experience and understanding of the Mass with your students.
- Ask a priest to celebrate one of the liturgical offices from the Liturgy of the Hours. Study the principles of the Liturgy of the Hours in General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, and discuss with your class the importance of its history and blessings of celebration in our time.
- On August 15, attend Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption. Write a note for your class on the importance of solemnities and feasts throughout the Liturgical Year, based on your experience of remembering the texts and songs from the Solemnity of the Assumption.
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- During the summer months of July and August, attend Mass and honor God, Mary, and the saints on these dates:
- Every Sunday, choose something that stood out in the celebration of Mass and discuss its connection to your life as a family (suggestions: Gospel reading, homily, prayer of the faithful, Eucharistic Prayer, Communion Song).
- Celebrate the Church's liturgy in your home by using the Liturgy of the Hours in Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers.
- Commit your family to a weekly rereading of the second reading from that Sunday. (For information on the Sunday readings, visit the New American Bible Web site or the Secretariat for Divine Worship.) Include the Scripture passage as part of your prayer before a Sunday meal. As part of your family's reflection, identify an action that St. Paul tells us we should do (e.g., share what we have, treat each other kindly, give food to the poor.) Make it a goal for the coming week to put that action into practice with your family and friends and at home and school.
- Use the short reflections in Essentials for Christian Living as part of your daily or weekly dinner prayer. Invite one family member to read the prayer or quote, then briefly share your thoughts on why this prayer or quote is important in your life.
- Set aside time to care for your marriage during summer months with resources from For Your Marriage.
- Introduce your children to Catholic stewardship as you prepare your donation for Peter's Pence, the national collection that supports the Holy Father's work of building up the life and mission of the Church.
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Forming Adult Faith
"Forming Adult Faith" includes suggestions from the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (USCCA) on how to promote ongoing faith formation among the adults in your school community.
There are three chapters from the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults that discuss the life and mission of the Church.
- Chapter 14. The Celebration of the Paschal Mystery of Christ
- Chapter 17: The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Christian Life
Ideas and suggestions on how to use these chapters for your individual and group reflection can be found online and in the Reader's Journal for the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.
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"Compendium Corner" usually provides a list of questions and answers in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that are related to this month’s topic. The following questions relate to this month's topic.
224. What are the sacraments and which are they?
226. What is the link between the sacraments and the Church?
228. What is the relationship between the sacraments and faith?
233. Who acts in the liturgy?
235. How does the Church on earth celebrate the liturgy?
238. What is the link between the actions and the words in the celebration of the sacraments?
243. What is the Liturgy of the Hours?
The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes the foundations of Catholic faith. So, select one question a week (8-12 questions for the whole summer) to learn and memorize. Choose questions on topics that are of great interest, that you struggle with and want to understand better, or that you find arise in your classroom repeatedly.
- Review the questions and answers.
- Consider how to use them in the coming year as part of your lesson plan.
- Develop learning activities that will encourage you and your students to learn the teaching by heart (memorization)
To obtain a copy of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, visit www.usccbpublishing.org or call 800-235-8722.
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