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October is Respect Life Month. This is a yearly reminder to help Catholics understand, value, and become engaged in building a culture that cherishes every human life. This year’s theme, “Live the Gospel of Life,” was inspired by Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, The Gospel of Life, written twenty-five years ago. This prophetic document “provides a blueprint for building a culture of life and civilization of love” (USCCB press release). Find more Respect Life resources here. We pray that every person will be respected, valued, and protected as is God’s desire. May we see one another through God’s eyes!
On October 4, the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis issued his latest encyclical, Fratelli tutti (On Fraternity and Social Friendship). This is more than just another Church document. It is Pope Francis’s “cry from the heart” to all people of the earth to see beyond their differences—indeed to work with their differences—and begin to grow together to build a new and peaceful world. Read more here.
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 invites us to his table.
Find a story coloring page for “Stephanie’s Party” here. During this lesson, we suggest that you set up a small party so children can share a snack and pray a Blessing before meals. Make sure you check with parents if there are any food allergies.
Lesson Theme: Jesus invites us to a holy meal.
Find a story coloring page for “Steve’s Birthday Party” here. This lesson focuses on celebrations of food and friends—the most special celebration being the Mass. We suggest that you end this class session with a snack if possible. Make sure you check for allergies beforehand.
Lesson Theme: Jesus invites us to his feast.
This lesson uses the Parable of the Wedding Feast to introduce the Third Commandment, the centrality of Sunday for Christians, and the celebration of the Mass-Eucharist. The children will make a booklet about the Mass. This is a good review for those children who celebrated their First Holy Communion this past spring. It is also good proximate preparation for those children who will celebrate First Communion in the coming year.
Lesson Theme: God prepares a feast for all.
This lesson uses the Parable of the Wedding Feast to explore the problem of hunger and shares a story about young people who support a program that supplies meals to hungry children in Liberia. Note that World Food Day is October 16. Venture also connects this parable to the sharing of the Eucharist, which is a banquet for all people.
Lesson Theme: God sets a table for all peopleThis lesson uses the Parable of the Wedding Feast to explore the problem of hunger and stresses the importance of inviting everyone to the table –a place where people discuss important issues, a place where people come together for food and a place where we gather to celebrate the Eucharist. We suggest using pretzels for the food distribution activity on pages 6–7. Make sure you check for allergies beforehand.
Image credit: respectlife.org