What is Confirmation?

So often, I find that Confirmation is the most misunderstood of the sacraments. Many of us were ill-formed when it comes to what this sacrament really means. Fr. Robert Barron does a great job explain the power of this sacraments in just 10 minutes of your time.

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Beauty and Charity

Becuase we don’t have enough on Justice and Reverence…oh…wait…

One of the great criticisms of the Catholic Church is her stores of gold and other wealth and her ornate Churches. On a week when we discuss justice (giving man what he is due) and reverence (giving God what he is due) we have to be prepared to answers those sorts of questions.

Enter, my favorite blogger BadCatholic. Seriously, folks, I’m a little addicted to this guy. His stuff is solidly Catholic, he uses references from some of the greatest Catholic minds (Chesterton, Aquinas, Percy, etc.), and isn’t afraid of the big ugly questions. (He also isn’t afraid to swear or get a little crass, which I why I don’t push this blog with our kids just yet. I consider it for a more mature mind.) On top of all that, the guy is a college freshman. No lie.

Regardless, I thought you all should meet. BadCatholic, meet my catechists. Catechist, meet Marc John Paul – BadCatholic.

He has 2 excellent posts on how we respond to the accusations of the Church and her wealth. I highly suggest reading them before the night on justice and reverence:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2012/09/in-defense-of-nice-churches.html

and

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2012/09/in-defense-of-covering-catholic-churches-with-all-sorts-of-gold.html

The Year of Faith

This week at class we are talking about the supernatural (or theological) virtue of faith and the gift of understanding.

Faith is such a broad, as well as deep, topic to cover in an 1.5 hour period of time.  Thankfully, our fantastic Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI not only has declared this the YEAR of Faith (much better than an hour and a half!), but he also wrote a letter to us, the Faithful, about Faith.  Please read this brief letter before class. This is the best thing you can do to prepare.

“Porta Fidei” An Introduction to the Year of FaithImage

Justice/Reverence: The Gift that Keeps on Givin’

If you haven’t discovered it yet, there are a lot of posts on this night’s lesson.  That’s because the possibilities and directions you can take your small group discussion are literally endless.  I mean, we are talking about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass…HEAVEN ON EARTH….it’s doesn’t get more endless than that.

So I found this great Bible Study from our friend, Mark Hart, the fast-talking, bad pun-making host of T3 and I loved it.  It talks about the Mass as a wedding feast.  Good stuff, peeps.  Good stuff.  The link will take you to a transcript of the BS or to a podcast.  The reason I didn’t just print it off and put it in your lesson plans is that it is pretty intense both practically and theologically and I want you as a leader to feel really comfortable with the content and NOT feel like you have to do it.

If you do choose to use this during your small group time, make sure you spend a lot of time preparing – and don’t forget that the most important ingredient to preparation in ministry is prayer.  Pray. Pray. PRAY!

Justice and Reverence: YOLO

Another word for reverence is “piety”, but piety is often misunderstood and is even used occasionally as a derogatory term – “She’s SO pious!”  Thanks to a wonderful small group leader, I just got my hands on this fantastic little jewel of a definition:

“”…the foundation of piety which consists in contentment with God and his will. It is the regulation of the heart that places us in union with the divine will…” Fr. Jean-Pierre De Caussade, S.J.

In other news related to justice/reverence/piety…

 So every once in a while I stumble upon something in my search for good resources for our programs that is perfect, but not exactly what I would be putting in their workbooks.  And THAT is Reason #659 why I run this blog for you.  It’s a place where I can put all that random crap that hopefully you can put to good use.

Ok, enough digression.  In the Spring we do a night on the virtue of justice and the gift of reverence.  I love how St. Thomas Aquinas put those 2 together – giving man what he is due and giving God what he is due.  I also love how those 2 things, in their very essence, draw us out of our own little worlds to look at the big picture and, dare I say, eternal picture.

The new internet buzzword (well, non-word) is YOLO, standing for You Only Live Once.  While there is some truth to that, it also makes us forget that we are not just made for this life, but for ETERNAL life – that eternal picture I was talking about before.

I found this simple, but great blog post related to this very concept.  Read it.  Use it in group.  Come up with your own examples.  Whatever.  I just had to share it with you.  You’re welcome.

DON’T Keep the Faith…

…SPREAD IT.

The final installment of T3 is on the Early Church and one of the most important points made is on the importance of evangelism – spreading the faith.  For many teenagers this is either a foreign concept or utterly terrifying.

To help your students understand the impact of spreading the gospel, you may find the lesson linked below helpful.  In it you will find videos of Penn Gillette and a discussion based on them.  Penn Gillette (of Penn and Teller) is a proud atheist, but makes an excellent point about authenticity and proselytizing.

Penn Gets a Bible – Discussion

The Source 4 Youth Ministry is a great, Christian website that uses media to help make a catechetical point.

Revolt!

On February 8, we will be continuing the T3 series as we learn about the Babylonian Exile, return, and Maccabean Revolt.  I find that the kids respond well to the discussion on the Revolt (what teenagers doesn’t love to talk about rebellion?!) and it is an often overlooked piece of salvation history.

To help you understand this time of the Maccabean Revolt, we have another homily from Fr. Mike Schmitz in which he also weaves in the VIRTUES!  (Thank you, Fr. Mike!)

Follow this link and scroll down to the homily from 11/11/2007.