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These past days have been filled with uncertainty and fear of the unknown. At Pflaum Publishing, we join the Mother Church in her efforts to care for the spiritual and physical well-being of all the faithful.
Our parent company, Bayard, Inc., has compiled a list of resources that could bring some comfort to those who cannot attend Sunday Mass and to provide materials for families to use during periods in which children will be home due to school closures. Click here to access Bayard Faith free resources.
Here are some notes to help you prepare for this week’s lesson:
Lesson Theme: Jesus has friends.
Lazarus’s death and return to life is a foreshadowing of Jesus’ own Resurrection. Young children will not be able to grasp this meaning, but they will be able to identify the feelings of Martha, Mary, and Jesus and recognize them as feelings they experience in their lives. This week, the children will play a memory game. You can choose to cut the cards on pages 3 and 4 in advance or have the children cut them during class. Don’t forget to bring envelopes to send this activity home.
There are two Extending Activities for this lesson: “Feelings Puppets” and “Compliments Game.” Find them here.
Find a story coloring page for “Cocoa, the Classroom Rabbit” here.
Lesson Theme: Jesus cares about his friends.
Sunday’s Gospel reveals that Jesus felt great sadness at the death of his friend Lazarus. Promise children will be invited to identify all feelings as gifts from God. Recognizing that Jesus had human feelings will lead the children to realize that they can share all their feelings with God in prayer. You will help them to make realistic and specific promises to Jesus about where and when they will pray. Plan to ask how they are following through with their prayer commitments in your upcoming sessions.
Find a story coloring page for “Martin and Shamrock” here.
Teaching Guide (pages 12, 13, and 15) The suggested activity number is incorrectly given as Activity #24. The correct number for the activity is 25: We Honor Our Families.
Lesson Theme: We believe that Jesus brings new life.
Sunday’s Gospel reveals that Jesus felt great sadness at the death of his friend Lazarus. Death is a difficult topic for people of any age. The death of a pet is introduced in the story, “A Sad Time for Peter.” Be especially sensitive to those children who have had recent losses of loved ones or beloved pets.
Following the story, we encourage you to discuss what happens when people die. Discipline yourself to listen to the children’s questions and to the answers they give you before attempting a response. Death and resurrection are big mysteries of our faith as well as our physical lives. Give the children an opportunity to talk about these topics. Your faith in the Resurrection will nourish the children’s faith even if you think your answers are not theologically sophisticated. Find a list of points to make on page TG4-14 of your Teaching Guide.
“What Lent Means to Us” is a seasonal resource for use with Good News children. The children will classify different actions as Praying, Sharing (almsgiving), or Fasting. It is available for download and distribution in both English and Spanish.
Lesson Theme: Baptism celebrates our Easter faith.
This week, the cover activity requires folding the page to reveal what happens when we act with compassion. We recommend that you practice the folding, following the directions on the left top corner of the cover. Make sure you don’t tape the page since the students will need to read the article on pages 2–3.
Lesson Theme: Who gives us life?
Note that the sainthood cause of Venerable Carlo Acutis had advanced since this lesson went to press. On February 22, the Vatican announced the approval of a miracle attributed to his intercession. This clears the way for Carlo’s beatification—being named “Blessed.” See more here.
This Sunday’s Gospel is a long one, and the lesson also includes a Prayer Drama. Consider getting the students who proclaim the Gospel out of their seats to dramatize it. While props are a great addition, the dramatic use of voice and gestures alone will help carry the message.
If you or your students would like to know more about saints who lived with special needs, read Megan Gannon’s book, Special Saints for Special People, published by Twenty-Third Publications. Among the saints featured are Saint Bernadette Soubirous—patron of people who have asthma and Saint Joseph of Cupertino—patron of people with developmental disabilities.
DON’T FORGET to check out our Unit 4 Overview Webinars. You can find them in English and in Spanish here.