Advent Blessings

What is the antidote for students who are steeped in and affected by a culture that is contrary to the Gospel message?

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We know that children today are steeped in a culture that is contrary to the Gospel message. The only antidote is finding peace in the life of Christ, in his Word, by walking with him particularly in the Liturgical Year.

As students today are faced with the world’s standard of being “number one”, or prideful without giving God his due, they need to know the blessings of Jesus’ humility coming into the world as the King of Kings in a lowly manger.

Students today, many of whom are in broken families or families in need of healing, are yearning for the peace of Christ. The image of Jesus’ young life in a family that exemplifies the nature of love, can nurture the virtue of hope in their young minds.

Our students today are being tempted to think that a life of ease and comfort without any sacrifice or suffering is their due. How do we show them that the struggles of life are precisely how we grow and come to know ourselves and Christ?

And finally, when children are faced with real health or emotional issues brought on very often by being immersed in a secular culture, how do we inspire in them, the possibility that the hope and power of the Resurrection really can be theirs, even now?

The answer? By walking with Christ in the Liturgical Year, by walking with Christ throughout all of salvation history, to literally see and believe that God never abandons his people. In short, through the virtues given to them at Baptism: Faith to believe, Hope for eternal life and the desire to love as God loves.

The Faith and Life Series, new Parish Catechist Manuals offer three supplemental lessons on the love story of salvation history and walking with Christ during Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter. Each lesson nurtures these virtues of Faith, Hope and Love.

Links to these Advent lessons are below. Please use them. Give your students the greatest gift they will receive this Advent and Christmas Season. Use these lessons to walk with them through Salvation History, particularly to receive the blessings of waiting for our Savior, Jesus Christ. Use these lessons to exemplify all that our secular culture does not offer to them: hope, peace and the self-giving love of Christ. The greatest gift they receive will be the inspiration to give these gifts to others.

May God bless you, your students, your families, your parish and your diocese this Advent and Christmas Season

Grades 1-8 Advent Lesson Plans

If you are unable to download these lessons, email julie@ignatius.com

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Parish Catechist Manual

So, what is it about the new Faith and Life Parish Catechist Manual (PCM) that is giving it such great reviews?

New Parish Catechist Manuals for Grades 1-6 Coming in 2016!

Well, if you are a parent catechist, it is as easy as 1-2-3. And, if you are a seasoned catechist who has used Faith and Life for years, using the new “focus points” to guide your own discussion, will help to facilitate your classes. And, if you are a DRE, you just turn to the PCM schedule in the introduction, and know exactly where your catechists will be that week. All grade levels follow a 22-week lesson plan.

Let’s begin with the parent catechist who loves the Faith but doesn’t have an educational background. No problem.

 

Begin the year by looking at the grade level outline in the introduction of the book. Here you will find the entire year in a snapshot.  There are also three optional lessons, an introductory lesson and two liturgical year lessons. If possible, begin the year with the optional overview lesson on salvation history and interject liturgical year lessons where they fall in the calendar.

Catechist Planning: Your lesson plan is complete. Read the chapter summary, if need be, related scriptural, CCC references and other background information is there. To prepare, read through the lesson, no extra planning is needed!

These lessons are streamlined for an hour to one-and-a-half-hour class. Each step provides a time limit. For example, Explanation (30-40 minutes) If your class is an hour, you have 30 minutes for the explanation, or 10 minutes per focus point. If your class is 90 minutes, you have 40 minutes for the explanation.  Not enough to do? Each focus point has optional activities. Not enough time? If you get sidetracked on one focus point, no problem. Use the remaining focus point summaries and conclusions to move through the rest of the explanation quickly and with ease.

The PCM follows the Ecclesial Methodology: Preparation (Prepare the students with prayer, sacred art or scripture), Proclamation (Proclaim the Good News), Explanation (Explain the proclamation), Life Application, (How do they apply this to their lives?) and Celebration (Celebrate the Good News with song, lives of the Saints, Prayer etc.)

The Preparation step is intended to prepare the students for the class, to draw them in. It gives an option to begin the class with either the sacred art or scripture (or both) along with prayer. And, we have equipped you with art and scripture explanations. After the students are prepared, the catechist proclaims the main idea (proclamation is provided) to be learned.

Now it gets tricky…just kidding. Explicit instructions and discussions (with expected responses) are given in the Explanation Step. Each explanation is divided into four or more “focus” points. These are summaries of the main ideas of the lesson. So, experienced catechists can just use the focus points to move through the lesson. Or, those who need more direction, can just follow the discussion that has been developed to engage students to draw them into the mysteries of the Faith.

Next, and most importantly, the life application. It is time to ensure that the kids “get it”.

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How do I apply this to my life? Just follow along with great discussion and/or activities.

Finally, the celebration provides options to end the class: Songs, lives of the Saints, and prayer.

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Just like I said, easy as 1-2-3!

This manual is used with the same Third Edition text and activity books. So, sometimes chapters are combined in order to provide 22 text lessons. Sound like a lot to combine chapters? No problem. These are always related topics and we have already streamlined the discussion for one class.

What more can I say, except everyone loves the new Parish Catechist Manual. So, make a comment below and tell us what you like best about the new Parish Catechist Manual? Feel free to ask questions or make suggestions for other catechists.

Need more information, want to see samples or yearly outlines? Click here or go to https://www.ignatius.com/promotions/faithandlife/parishcm.htm

Become a light for others!

light from light

This blog is for you, the Faith and Life Series user and/or those who have reviewed or inquired about the Faith and Life Series. In addition to our School and Parish Religious Education catalog and the Faith and Life website, this blog will inform you about what the Faith and Life Series offers, as well as supplemental materials that are available for you! Through blog dialogue, you will have opportunities to ask questions and offer ideas that you would like to share with others. The goal is to provide a networking system for all Faith and Life users!

This first article features an overview of our more recent Faith and Life resources. Please feel free to ask questions and to comment on how you use these materials or to offer suggestions for others.

Our newest component is the Parish Catechist Manual written specifically for parent catechists. These parish manuals are very user friendly! First, lessons are presented in an easy to follow, once-a-week format. The new manual employs the Ecclesial Methodology, presents the story of salvation history in a simplified manner (timeline provided), and gives engaging discussion questions (and answers) with many optional learning activities, among many other features. The Parish Catechist Manual provides 25 lessons per year; these include one new introductory lesson and two liturgical year lessons. Sacrament Preparation in Grade 2 has been streamlined for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. Grade 8 has an option specifically for Confirmation preparation! (https://www.ignatius.com/promotions/faithandlife/parishcm.htm)

Faith and Life Online powered by My Catholic Faith Delivered is really taking off for those who prefer to use technology with the “flipped classroom” approach. Parish programs that are dealing with busy families, students who miss classes for various reasons, students who learn on different levels, those who are dealing with inclement weather, and especially those who struggle with having the time to fit it all in an hour/hour and a half, all find that the flipped classroom approach is very beneficial! Faith and Life Online is the answer to many catechetical issues that we all face. Kids learn the cognitive material online, at-home with state of the art technology in an interactive and engaging format. Faith and Life Online can be used totally independently, but follow-up sessions (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) are suggested for engaging discussion, life application, learning about lives of the Saints, and Catholic devotionals. One of the greatest aspects of Faith and Life Online is that all student work can be monitored by the catechist or DRE. (https://www.ignatius.com/promotions/faithandlife/mcfd.htm)

The Family Guide is a must! We all know that parental participation is key to catechizing our children. The Family Guide empowers parents to become the primary educators of their children’s faith. The summaries and review questions give parents the content to guide students to apply their faith in their lives and provide the context for further follow up activities for the family. (and the parents learn too!)

Online Resources? We’ve got them for every chapter of every grade level. Developed by the Sisters in the Diocese of Lincoln, these engaging Power Point presentations, video clips and more engaging activities, are the perfect ancillary tools for any catechetical session. (go to https://www.ignatius.com/promotions/faithandlife/parish-ccd/)

Are you looking for the perfect supplement to develop a culture of virtue in your school or parish? Education in Virtue is the answer! Developed by the Dominican Sisters, Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, these tools are the answer to educating and nurturing virtue in our families. Begin with the lexicon of virtue at every grade level. Intuitive classroom tools, educator’s guide, Lectio Divina journals include just but a few of the resources you will need to increase Catholic identity and equip all to not only understand the philosophy, but the “how to” of building a culture of virtue. (go to www.virtueseries.com)

Yes, the Faith and Life Series offers all of these resources and more! Go to www.faithandlifeseries.com for more information or to order a review of the new Parish Catechist Manual, Family Guide or to download the free online resources!

Online school and parish ordering with billing and discounts? Yep, we have that too! Go to www.ipreligoused.com for your religious education needs.

How will the Faith and Life Blog work? Periodical articles will feature answers to your questions or highlight different features of the series. You are invited to comment and ask questions. The goal is to provide a networking forum for you! Feel free to comment, ask questions or provide your insight about any aspect of the Faith and Life Series and supplemental material.

Thank you and God bless you for all that you do for the Church!

 

NEW Ignatius Press Blogs!

Ignatius Press Religious Education has two new blogs.

The RELIGIOUS EDUCATION BLOG is authored by various religious education leaders from across the country. Blog articles will provide best practices and solutions to current issues in your school, parish or diocese. You may access this blog by going to https://ipreligioused.wordpress.com/

If you are interested in the Flipped Classroom approach to Religious Education, you may want to visit the IPRE Blog now or listen to a recorded webinar that may open up new opportunities for your school or parish. To view the recording please Click here.

The second new blog will begin in September. It will be a FAITH AND LIFE BLOG and serve as a networking and resource device for Faith and Life users. Please let us know what topics you would like to hear about; or let us know if you would like to be a contributor either as a catechist, teacher, DRE or principal.

This new and exciting blog will give you an opportunity to network with users and to share your ideas.

Parish, School leaders, teachers and catechists: contact Julie Johnson, Direct: 314-394-1228 or email julie@ignatius.com

Thank you for your support for Ignatius Press and may God bless you for all that you do for the Church!