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This week, we celebrate The Annunciation of the Lord on March 25. This date also happens to be my birthday, so I have always had a special connection to this Marian feast. As I move through my life, I return often to Mary’s yes as a model for my own discipleship and response to what God calls me to be and do.
While on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2019, I was disturbed by the crowds at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. As we all tried to funnel with our groups through a lower doorway, the irreverent noise and jostling for position were far from conducive to prayer at this sacred site.
A few days later while visiting Nazareth, I was awestruck by the realization that it was there that the Word became flesh. Yet we were the only pilgrims visiting the Basilica of the Annunciation at that time. The contrast with what we’d experienced at the site of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem was noteworthy. With quiet to reflect and pray, the site of Mary’s yes remains one of my richest memories of our pilgrimage. May we all seek quiet in this hectic and loud world so we may hear God’s voice and say yes to his call.
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: God makes food for us.
In this lesson, we will thank God for the food he has given us and for the people we share it with. We will make the connection between the food we share with our friends and family and Jesus’ Body, which we share in the Eucharist.
To prepare for this lesson, cut 5 X ½ inch strips of red construction paper (two per child) and make copies of the Blessing Before Meals prayer (see below). We also suggest that you bring a stalk of wheat to illustrate this Sunday’s Gospel to the children.
Find the Blessing Before Meals to photocopy here.
Find a coloring page to accompany “Making Bread” here.
Lesson Theme: We grow as Jesus’ followers.
Plan ahead to plant grass seed in cups for the children to take home. Supplies you’ll need are potting soil, grass seed, spoons, newspaper, and small cups or containers (one per child). This activity will give the children an experience of watching seeds grow. This connects to the lesson theme: We grow as Jesus’ followers.
Lesson Theme: Bread gives life.
Plan ahead to bring some stalks of wheat or grains of wheat and a loaf of fresh bread to share with your class.
Prepare six Parts of the Mass cards in advance. Use the bulleted points on page 22 of the What the Church Believes and Teaches handbook for what to include on the cards.
Lesson Theme: Jesus’ Death gives us life.
This lesson will help the children learn more about the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father), which many of them have been praying for years. They will locate the Lord’s Prayer in the Gospel of Matthew. Note that another version appears in the Gospel of Luke. Using their What the Church Believes and Teaches handbooks, the children will identify the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. Pairs of children will identify why they think Jesus included their assigned petition in this “perfect prayer.”
Lesson Theme: Jesus is our bread.
During the doctrine portion of this lesson, the young people will reflect on Jesus’ Resurrection and the new life he brings to all of us. This section of the What the Church Believes and Teaches handbooks is not long, however, it contains essential Church teaching, so make sure you take your time with each of the three paragraphs.
DON’T FORGET to check out our Unit 4 Overview Webinars. You can find them in English and in Spanish here. Unit 4 Overview Webinars will be posted soon.
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