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FROM OUR EDITORS—April 25, 2021 – 4th Sunday of Easter

FROM OUR EDITORS—April 25, 2021 – 4th Sunday of Easter

Para la versión en español, haga clic aquí.

Happy Easter! Remember that Easter is a season of fifty days, so continue to celebrate it and greet one another by saying, “Happy Easter!”

On the first day of May, the Month of Our Lady, we honor her husband, Saint Joseph the Worker. As we continue the Year of Saint Joseph (12/8/20–12/8/21), we focus on his role as a working spouse and father, the provider for the Holy Family.

In his apostolic letter Patris Corde, Pope Francis writes: “Saint Joseph . . . earned an honest living to provide for his family. From him, Jesus learned the value, the dignity and the joy of what it means to eat bread that is the fruit of one’s own labour. In our own day, . . . there is a renewed need to appreciate the importance of dignified work, of which Saint Joseph is an exemplary patron. Work is a means of participating in the work of salvation, an opportunity to hasten the coming of the Kingdom, to develop our talents and abilities, and to put them at the service of society and fraternal communion” (6).

May our observance of this feast day and the Year of Saint Joseph increase our love for Saint Joseph and encourage us to implore his intercession and imitate his virtues and zeal.

Every week in the GROW newsletter, you will find a helpful tip for teaching your Gospel Weeklies lesson, a reflection on the Sunday Gospel, and information about our online resources and seasonal activities. Here are tips for teaching the Gospel Weeklies lessons this week:

Lesson Theme: Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

Help children grasp the Gospel message by explaining why Jesus speaks about sheep. You might mention that where Jesus lived, there were lots of sheep. People made clothes and blankets from sheep wool. Sheep were important, and people wanted to keep them safe and healthy. People who care for sheep are called shepherds.

While you share the Gospel (printed in the Teaching Guide on page TG4-26), you might have the children close their eyes and imagine Jesus saying these words to them.

We encourage you to read over the game directions in advance so you can explain it confidently. Have envelopes ready so that each child can bring home the game/puzzle pieces. (As children leave for the day, you might tape the envelopes to the Seeds copies to keep everything together.) You might also send home a short note encouraging families to have their children explain how to play the game. Remind families that the back of the game pieces form a puzzle that the children can put together.

Lesson Theme: Jesus cares for us and all of Creation.

If you have a favorite statue or image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, this lesson is a great opportunity to share it with the children.

Find a coloring page to accompany “Grandpa Snowbird” here.

For the activity on page 3–4, we suggest that you make one Good Shepherd cutout ahead of time to model how the finished activity will look. Make sure to have children save the “scrap” piece with the Eucharist quote on it from their cutouts. To keep the quotes from getting lost, you might have the children glue or tape them to a piece of construction paper. Have the children write their family names on their quotes as a reminder to share them with their families at home.

Good News
Lesson Theme: Jesus is our Good Shepherd.

After your opening prayer, we suggest that you begin your lesson on page 4 of Good News. Talk about the children’s experiences of caring for pets or other animals. Relate this to what they know about sheep and the job of shepherds. Have crayons available for children to color the picture of the shepherd and his sheep.

The answer key for the “Wolves in Hiding” activity can be found here.

For the game on pages 2–3, each child will need a pair of scissors for cutting apart the happy earth symbols, They will each need a pencil to print their initials on each of the earth cutouts. You will also need one die for each pair of students. If you don’t have dice, you can have children flip a coin. Heads can equal one move on the board; tails could equal two moves.

Lesson Theme: Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

As you work on the cover activity (Jesus Is Our Good Shepherd), you may wish to have the children read the KidTalk feature on page 8 before brainstorming ideas.

If you would like to do the guided meditation printed in the Teaching Guide on page TG4-27 but do not have access to an open area, you might try having students sit someplace other than their usual places—on the floor, near a window, etc. (Make sure they are not sitting too close to one another.) Invite everyone to sit comfortably. Dim the lights or turn them down a little. Invite the children to close their eyes and take some slow, deep breaths. Breathe deeply to model how this is done. Read the meditation slowly, pausing often to allow the children to visualize the images. When you have finished the meditation, invite the children to share their reactions to the experience.

Have the children complete the water use survey on page 6 at home and have them bring it back next week.

Lesson Theme: Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

You may wish to invite a member of the Knights of Columbus or their spouse to speak to the young people about this organization’s activities in your parish.

Feel free to take the quiz on the cover of Visions yourself. Share with the students about how you might need to improve your own efforts. Many young people and their families are finding new, creative ways to take care of God’s Creation, so be sure to invite students to share their suggestions and ideas.

As students complete the activity on pages 6–7, they might find themselves in more than one group. If so, simply have them choose the group that most appeals to them.

DON’T FORGET to check out our Unit 4 Overview Webinars. You can find them in English and in Spanish here.

Image credit:  Thoom/

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Our Editors

David Dziena

David Dziena is the Publisher of Pflaum Publishing Group. He has also served as Executive Editor and […]

Nicholle Check
Senior Editor

Nicholle Check, senior editor, joined Pflaum Publishing Group in 2014. Throughout her 25-year career in publishing […]

Joan McKamey
Project Editor

Joan McKamey, project editor, joined the Gospel Weeklies editorial team in September 2016. […]

Erika De Urquidi
Bilingual Editor

Erika De Urquidi, bilingual editor, joined Bayard, Inc. in July 2018. During her 15 years as a professional translator […]