IHM EdNotes Spring 2024

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Dear Friends, Welcome to our Spring 2024 issue of the IHM Catholic EdNotes!

OUR CREATIVE CONTRIBUTORS Sister Joyce Bell IHM Sister Mary Sue Carwile IHM Karen Creely Sister Theresa Duffy IHM Sister Mary Jo Ely IHM Sister Marie Gipprich IHM Sister Judith Kathleen Knowlton IHM Kim Lamb Sister Patricia McCormack IHM Sister Sister Edward William Quinn IHM Natalie Rivera Sister Christina Marie Roberts IHM Sister Stephen Anne Roderiguez IHM Sister Patricia Scanlon IHM Sister Mary Anne Sweeney, IHM Sister Kathleen Monica Schipani IHM Sister Monica Therese Sicilia IHM Sister Eileen Tiernan IHM Sister Stephanie Gabriel Tracy IHM

Our cover of this edition calls attention to LENT and, through the symbols depicted, we are specifically drawn into the mysteries of Holy Week. The cover itself brings us through the journey that begins on Ash Wednesday. The time Lent provides is an opportunity to prepare our entry into the days of Holy Week and into the heart of Christ. From the palm of the triumph of Palm Sunday, through the symbols of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, to the resurrection symbol of the silhouetted butterfly, Lent is a time when we are called to dwell in the heart of Jesus. We do this so as to make room in our own hearts to welcome the Christ in others as we live in joyful hope for the coming of His kingdom. Our IHM Sisters and our dedicated lay colleagues, recognize the centrality of our faith and its place in our everyday lives. We hope that this issue shares several resources to enhance your personal Lenten journey as well as your best practices as a Catholic educator. If you have any comments or suggestions, please contact us: ihmcatholicednotes@gmail.com

God bless you for your dedication to Catholic education!

IHM Charism Connection Let Us Glory in the Cross of Christ! The spirituality of the IHM Sisters is rooted in the Redemptorist spirituality of St. Alphonsus Liguori. St. Alphonsus centered this spirituality around four themes – crib, cross, Eucharist and our Blessed Mother. As we experience the suffering that exists around us, both in our personal lives and the life of the world currently, we look to the Cross of Jesus Christ to give us perspective. For St. Alphonsus, the Passion and Death of Jesus had everything to do with God’s great and abiding love for each one of us. The mystery of Redemption is revealed in a humble God who emptied Himself of His Godliness, poured Himself out in His ultimate humanness, and laid down His life upon the cross in a wondrous excess of love. On the cross, the precious cost of our Redemption, Jesus experienced the very depths of darkness, fear and distress, and through this experience knows well our own challenges. St. Alphonsus was deeply aware of the emotional stress involved in all types of human sorrow. He hoped that we would come to know that the God who desires to be so closely involved in our lives, enters our every suffering. Jesus would have us walk through our suffering by His side and in His company, there to experience hope – the hope of newness of life – by virtue of His resurrection. This experience of the Paschal Mystery is an invitation to see the world and ourselves with new eyes: eyes that see life in the midst of death, possibility in the midst of failure, love in the face of lovelessness, and forgiveness in the face of anger and hurt. This is the image and likeness of the crucified God in broken humanity – near and far. We have a God who understands our own times of distress, fear, darkness, and pain. Pope St. John Paul II wrote in his encyclical on suffering, Salvifici Doloris, “the fullest source of the answer to the question of the meaning of suffering. This answer has been given by God to man in the Cross of Jesus Christ” (# 13). Here is a brief but powerful explanation of the meaning of the Cross: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS7XHev5eBI&t=135s Learn more about the IHM Sisters: https://ihmimmaculata.org/

THE SYNOD AND DISCERNMENT Youth and Young Adult Ministry

In October 2023, Pope Francis and members of the Synod on Synodality wrapped up the first of their monthlong meetings from Rome. (The other monthlong meetings will take place in 2024.) While many issues were discussed and debated during that time and in the months of preparation prior to the gathering, the results, for some, may not be what they wanted or expected. Various issues were left unresolved or still need time to be “fleshed out.” However, throughout the process, the Holy Spirit was present, leading, guiding and inspiring the participants in their decision-making. Although none of us were present for Synod discussions, perhaps this is an opportune time to briefly explore what discernment is and how the Holy Spirit works in our lives and, more importantly how we can help our students know how the Spirit works in their lives.

WHAT IS DISCERNMENT? The Latin root of discernment means “to separate” or “set apart.” According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to discern is to “detect with the eyes or the other senses; to recognize or identify as separate or distinct; to come to know or recognize mentally.” Discernment is more than an answer to a question, such as “Who do you think will win the Super Bowl – San Francisco or Kansas City?” or “Will the Phillies make it to the World Series this season?” It is much deeper than that.

Essential to discernment are prayer, spiritual conversation, and listening in order to know what God is calling us to in life. We set ourselves apart from daily noise and distractions to sit with God and honestly share what is in our hearts. St. Ignatius noted how we must approach discernment with great indifference, a readiness to accept God’s will whatever it may be. (Rev. Thomas Reese, SJ, For a Synodal Church)


HOW TO ASSIST YOUNG PEOPLE WITH DISCERNMENT Our students are faced with serious academic and moral decisions in high school, in college and beyond: whether it is dating, selecting courses, choosing a college, declaring a major, taking the best job offer, or knowing their vocation in life. In his letter to young people, Pope Francis says, Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit who proposes bold choices; do not delay when your conscience asks you to take risks in following the Master.” (Pope Francis, 2017) So, how can we accompany our young people to make those bold choices? Here are some suggestions.

Prayer. Set aside time each day for prayer, encouraging honest dialogue with God. Read Scripture.

Quiet Time. Encourage students to be still and listen, so they become attentive to the movement of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. Reassure them that, although they might not have a mountaintop experience, the Holy Spirit is working. Sit in the silence.


Pope Francis, 2017

Following these simple strategies will pave the way for young people to discover God’s will in their lives. It will lead them to freedom, joy, and peace. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they will be empowered to use their gifts and talents to give glory to God and to put their faith into action.

Patience. Encourage students to wait patiently. Reassure them that God does not waste any experience. Things might not turn out the way they want them to because he has something better in store. God will reveal God’s will in God’s time.

Mentor. God speaks through others. Sometimes they see things in us that we might not otherwise see in ourselves. Consider being a mentor and guide to help students to discover their gifts and talents.

Journal. Give students time to journal about decisions they need to make, listing the positives and negatives.

Resources: Pope Francis. (2017). Letter of Pope Francis to young people. http://secretariat.synod.va/content/synod2018/en/pope---young/letter-of-hisholiness-pope-francis-to-young-people.html https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/ignatianspirituality/discernment/discernment-making-inspired-choices/ https://www.pray.com/articles/what-is-spiritual-discernment-its-signs-andpower-explained https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discern


“Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart . . .”

Recently, I was thinking about the call to repentance that is the hallmark of our Lenten season. I discovered that the Hebrew word for repentance is teshuvah. In the center of that word is the root word shuv, which means “return.” In its full meaning it indicates “a return to the beginning, a return to which you came.” It is reminiscent of the creation of humans in Genesis when God created man and woman from the dust of the earth. When the ashes are applied to our foreheads, one prayer urges us to, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Perhaps this is a reminder that God wants us to return to that day of our creation when we were made in the image and likeness of God. The optional prayer that is said as the ashes are placed on the forehead is “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Both these words—return and repent—indicate that God is asking us to take a long, hard look at ourselves and our relationship with God and others. God is not a vengeful God but as the prophet Joel tells us, God is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.” What hopeful, encouraging words to consider at the start of another Lent. Perhaps we can consider the Hebrew meaning of “repentance” as a turning back, a turning around. In order to turn around we have to look at something new, something different. Lent is not meant to be a private, all-about-me season. We were created for God and others. Prayer, fasting and charity are ways to shake us out of our selfcentered lives and open our eyes to those who need our love, compassion and support. The prophet Joel reminds us to “rend” (break) your hearts, not your garments and return to the Lord, your God.” Inward change is the stuff of Lent. During this beautiful season of Lent, may God open our eyes and hearts to teshuvah (repentance) and shuv (a return to the beginning). Have a blessed Lent!


Winter 2024

CATHOLIC TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES FOR RELIGIOUS EDUCATION Instruct the wise and they become wiser still. Proverbs 9: 9

Catholic Podcasts Apps for Ipad, Iphone, Ipod That's The Word

Scriptural Stations

Presented by Fr. James Yamauchi, every episode is a true story. The characters are real people in a pickle, or on the verge of a breakthrough, or about to make an important decision. Perhaps it’s a heroic soldier, a holy martyr, a popular entertainer, or an innovative inventor, set in the time of Rome, the feudal days, the age of exploration, the industrial revolution, or even today. Whoever the hero, whatever the place, sit back and enjoy a 5-minute true story, a wholesome tale for the whole family. Available on your favorite podcast app.

Scriptural Stations includes the traditional Way of the Cross composed by St. Alphonsus Liguori and a scriptural Way of the Cross based on Pope John Paul II’s Stations of the Cross. Also included are three scriptural rosaries based on Jesus Christ's passion. This app is a good aid for us not only for Lent but everyday to meditate on Jesus' life and mission, especially his agony and suffering. Download for $.99 at Apple.

Ave Spotlight


Want to hear more about life from a Catholic perspective? Listen to host Chenele Shaw talk with special guests about culture, current events, and all things Catholic. You’ll walk away with a better understanding of your faith and how to live it in the world today. Chenele and guests discuss a wide range of topics that are both practical and interesting. Available on your favorite podcast app.

Bible Venture Free: The Beginning Go on a grand adventure through the heavens and the earth to defend all creation from God’s enemies. Play as famous Bible heroes, including: Michael the Archangel, Adam, and Noah. Experience the cosmic con ict between good and evil, and use your skills to overcome the enemy’s schemes from the beginning of the universe to the Great Flood in the days of Noah. Help God restore all His enemies stole from Him, from the scrolls of heavenly mysteries to animals who need you to guide the way to Noah’s Ark. You will need both puzzle-solving techniques and perseverance to succeed. Download for free at Apple.

Shared Wisdom Two heads are better than one. Please submit your favorite technology resources for Catholic religious education at krantzihm@yahoo.com. Submissions will be included in upcoming issues. Many thanks to those who shared tools for this issue.

GPS for Success Recalculating Positive Social and Emotional Strategies which create healthy climate and learning in the classroom.

8 Important Social Skills for Children Collaboration and Cooperation Empathy Following Directions Listening Patience Positivity Respecting Boundaries Sharing

“Teaching children to count is fine but teaching them what counts is best.” Bob Talber

1. Collaboration & Cooperation Similar to sharing, children will learn how to move beyond sharing objects to sharing ideas, stories, and work. With good collaboration and cooperation skills, children will learn that working in a group gives them a chance to express their ideas and listen to the ideas of others. It allows them to see that it can be fun to work on a shared project! This may sound simple, but for young children, cooperation can often require real effort. It will take time for them to learn to respect others’ opinions even when they’re different. By working together toward a common goal, children can advance their sharing skills to integrate intellectual and physical tasks—like putting things in order in a play area with a classmate!

2. Empathy Empathy means the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Children will learn how to appreciate the similarities and differences between their lives and those of people they meet. They will also learn how to empathize with these people, no matter how different they are. For young children, this can mean small gestures. For example, if their friend cries because a child is playing with a specific toy, the child may pause and say, “I know you want to play, too. Don’t be sad. We can take turns!” But this sense of empathy will likely not appear overnight. Empathy develops over time and across a variety of scenarios. The easiest way to promote a child’s development of empathy is by showing it in action. When you extend grace to a child, often they will learn how to extend it back.

3. Following Directions The cousin of good listening skills would be executing the instructions a child heard — a.k.a., following directions! Following directions becomes particularly important once a child enters into their school years. It’s one thing to follow directions at home with their parents where they’re innately comfortable; it’s another task entirely to follow directions from adult authority figures they may not know well. Children will learn how listening and following directions overlap with one another. If they listen well, it becomes easier for them to follow directions accurately. And when they follow directions accurately, they’ll often be rewarded for their hard work! Keep in mind, however, that multi-step directions are challenging for young children. To help them develop the ability to follow directions, give them one direction at a time.

4. Listening Active listening is an important skill that even some adults struggle with. Properly deciphering and absorbing information requires significant focus. We all know this can be challenging for young children, but active listening can strengthen their receptive language skills (the ability to comprehend spoken language). Receptive language skills help children: •

Handle social interactions

Answer questions

Understand stories

Comprehend what they’re reading

Understanding gestures

While developing their social skills, children will come to see how important it is to actively listen when others are speaking. Paying attention to what someone is saying and responding directly to their statements or questions is a big part of healthy communication.

5. Patience Patience may be a virtue, but it’s not an easy one to acquire! It’s normal for young children to be impatient. However, patience is an especially rewarding social skill for children that will serve them well for the rest of their life. Patience is critical for many things, including maintaining relationships and achieving big goals that can only be completed over an extended period of time. This is where the concept of delayed gratification comes into play. When you help children understand that good things often take time (not everything in life is microwaveable!), you nurture them into a patient person. Learning patience can be challenging for enthusiastic, passionate children who live in the moment and want things right away! Persevere in the practice of patience, and it will come with time.

6. Positivity Working on positivity can make it exponentially easier for children to tackle many of the other social skills for we’ve mentioned, especially patience, boundaries, listening, and sharing. With a positive attitude, children will find it easier to make and keep friends, succeed in school, and achieve their goals. The more positive you are about children’s social skill development (including their inevitable slip-ups), the more reassured and positive they will become themselves. This doesn’t mean you have to be positive all the time. In fact, a healthy amount of honest criticism can be beneficial in helping children learn to express their feelings. To do this, start with your own emotions. Let them know how you’re feeling and how you’re managing it in real time if you can. Children need to know it’s OK to be sad, angry, or mad sometimes and how to handle it. By acknowledging and processing difficult feelings together, it’s easier to turn them into a positive lesson for the future.

7. Respecting Boundaries Some people require different emotional and physical boundaries than others. This can be a particularly difficult concept to learn, especially for very young children who receive most of their socialization from within the household. It is most likely that if a child is extroverted, they may assume everyone is OK with hugs, questions, or lots of chit-chat. In some cases, they may be right! In others, they may accidentally cross boundaries in their efforts to be friendly. Teaching children how to ask permission and identify boundaries helps them establish a sense of respect between themselves and others. The same goes for helping them establish boundaries for themselves. Let children know that it’s OK to say no to hugs, kisses, or other displays of affection from someone — no matter who it may be — if they feel uncomfortable. Model this idea by asking questions yourself (“Would you like a hug?”). When they make their boundaries clear and ask for others to do the same, it will make both parties feel much more at home.

8. Sharing Sharing is a necessary part of daily social interactions. That doesn’t mean it’s easy! Sharing is a difficult concept for young children to get behind. Toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners have a particularly difficult time, as they are more focused on their own needs and desires than those of others. This is normal. The feeling that something “belongs” to them is typically much stronger than their desire to please others. Even though it’s hard to share, doing so is critical to a child’s social skill development.

them keep and advance friendships. It’s also a great way to bond and show appreciation.


Call to Prayer:

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. During Lent, Jesus invites us to journey with Him to Calvary by prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.


At this holy time, we are also reminded as, Jesus’ Disciples, to “love God with our whole heart and soul and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves.” Performing the Works of Mercy enables all of us to show love and compassion to our neighbors who are suffering in any way. Jesus said that “whatever you do for others, you do for Me.” It was the motto of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and it will be our special prayer and school goal for these next sacred 40 days - to live the Corporal Works of Mercy. To Feed the Hungry Give Drink to the Thirsty - Clothe the Naked – Shelter the Homeless - Visit the Sick Visit the Imprisoned - Bury the Dead

Jesus, Please give us HEARTS TO LOVE AND HANDS TO SERVE You by loving and serving others.

Gathering Song:

Lift High the Cross: Verses 1 and 2

Opening Prayer:

Father in heaven, bless our Lenten journey with Jesus and give us HEARTS TO LOVE AND HANDS TO SERVE. Help us to be more like Your Son. Inspire us by His love and guide us by His example. This we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.

First Reading:

Joel 2: 12-18 Return to the Lord with your whole heart

Sung Response:

Psalm 113 – Loving and Forgiving

Gospel Acclamation: Praise to You, Lord, Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory


Matthew 6:1-6, 16 – 18 Pray – Fast- Give Alms in secret

Distribution of Ashes We will now receive “Ashes” which were the palms that were burned from Palm Sunday. They are a sign that we are entering into a season of penance. They remind us how precious time is and how we should use each day to grow closer to God.

Distribution of Lenten Hearts

“Pay it Forward” Outreach and Service Announcements for each grade



Father in heaven, bless our Lenten journey and all those who will journey with us in spirit and in faith.



For the leaders of our Church and our Country, especially Pope Francis and President Biden, that they may lead their people with courage and compassion, let us pray to the Lord...

For all in need of healing in mind or heart or body, that they may find strength in knowing that Jesus carries their cross with them, let us pray to the Lord…

For all of us here, that we may use this time of Lent to come to know Jesus better and to share His generous and forgiving love with others, let us pray to the Lord…

For all those whose journey on earth has ended, that they may now know the Easter joy of heaven, let us pray to the Lord…


Loving Father, please accept our prayers and hopes for this Lenten season. May this holy time fill us with love and compassion that we may walk

with Jesus to Calvary and rise with Him at Easter. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Closing Prayer:

Student’s Prayer for Lent

Dear Jesus, this Lent, please give me a HEART TO LOVE AND HANDS TO SERVE. May I open wide my heart to You and to the needs of my family, my friends, my classmates, my teachers, and the poor and suffering everywhere. May my Lenten Heart remind me of Your love for me poured out on Calvary. I love You, Jesus. Thank You for dying on the Cross for me. Help me to PRAY, SACRIFICE, and SHARE a little more for You each day during Lent. Amen.

Closing Hymn:

Lift High the Cross: Verses 3 and 4

Tuesday Lenten Prayers 2024 First Week of Lent Gathering Song:

Loving and Forgiving - Verse 1

Sign of the Cross:

In the name of the Father…

Call to Prayer:

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You. - Because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.


During these sacred days of Lent, we are asking Our Lord for HEARTS TO LOVE AND HANDS TO SERVE. Each Tuesday, we will pray for the grace to live one of the Corporal Works of Mercy. MERCY means to “give your heart to someone who is suffering.” Mother Teresa of Calcutta is such a great example for us during Lent. Everyone she met saw in her the “face of mercy.” This week, we promise To Feed the Hungry.


Mother Teresa said: “If you can’t feed 100 people, feed just one.” and “Hunger for love is more difficult to remove than hunger for bread.”

The Response is: Give us Hearts to Love and Hands to Serve.

May we be generous with our various food collections for the poor in our school and with our parish poor boxes, we pray to the Lord…

May we never waste food and be grateful for every meal that we share, knowing that many children throughout the world will go hungry tonight, we pray to the Lord…

May we be kind at home, by helping with the groceries, the cooking, and the dishes this Lent, we pray to the Lord…

Pray Together:


Sign of the Cross:

In the name of the Father…

Second Week of Lent Gathering Song:

Loving and Forgiving - Verse 2

Sign of the Cross:

In the name of the Father...

Call to Prayer:

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You. - Because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.


This week, we think about the Corporal Work of Mercy: To Give Drink to the Thirsty. Jesus said: “Whoever gives a cup of water in my Name, will not lose his reward.” People throughout the world thirst for clean water to cleanse and refresh them. They also thirst for God and for someone to love them.


Mother Teresa said: “It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving that really matters.”

The Response is: Give us Hearts to Love and Hands to Serve. May we always appreciate the blessing of water, one of God’s special gifts of Creation, we pray to the Lord…

May we be ever grateful for the Waters of our Baptism, and daily thirst for the Living Waters of God’s Grace, we pray to the Lord…

May we pray for the thirsty of the world each time we take a drink during the day this week, we pray to the Lord…

Pray Together:


Sign of the Cross:

In the name of the Father…

Third Week of Lent Gathering Song:

Loving and Forgiving - Verse 3

Sign of the Cross:

In the name of the Father…

Call to Prayer:

We adore You O Christ and we bless You. - Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.


This week, we think about Corporal Works of Mercy: To Visit the Sick and the Imprisoned. Helping sick people or those separated from family and friends for any reason is an act of love. Calling, sending a card or a text to a shut-in or doing a kind act for an elderly person bring the face of Jesus to them.

Intercessions: Mother Teresa said: “Help one person at a time and start with the person next to you.”

The Response is: GIVE us Hearts to Love and Hands to Serve.

May all the sick and broken-hearted find hope and healing this day, we pray to the Lord…

May we pray for all those in hospitals or nursing homes, especially our Sisters in Camilla Hall, we pray to the Lord…

May all who feel alone today, know the peace of God and the compassion of someone who cares, we pray to the Lord…

Pray Together:


Sign of the Cross:

In the name of the Father…

Fourth Week of Lent Gathering Song:

Loving and Forgiving: Verse 4

Sign of the Cross:

In the name of the Father…

Call to Prayer:

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You. - Because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.


This week, we think about the Corporal Work of Mercy: To Shelter the Homeless. Everyone needs shelter, a clean and warm place to call home. Some people, however, live on the street or in a cardboard box. We pray for all people who are seeking a home and for a welcoming spirit of hospitality in our own hearts.


Mother Teresa said: “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”

The Response is: Give us Hearts to Love and Hands to Serve. May all refugees and homeless people find safe shelter and protection this day, we pray to the Lord…

May we be grateful for our own homes and help to care for them by doing our chores cheerfully, we pray to the Lord…

May we live the IHM virtue of Hospitality, welcoming all whom we meet as brothers and sisters in Jesus, we pray to the Lord…

Pray Together:


Sign of the Cross:

In the name of the Father…

Fifth Week of Lent Gathering Song:

Loving and Forgiving – Verse 1

Sign of the Cross:

In the name of the Father…

Call to Prayer:

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You. - Because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.


This week, we think of the Corporal Work of Mercy: To Clothe the Naked. Everyone needs clothing for warmth and protection. Our Moms and Dads buy beautiful clothing for us to wear. Do we ever think about the many children who have to wear old or torn clothes or even rags? Bringing winter coats to a clothing drive, sharing outgrown clothes with another family or to the Saint Vincent de Paul Society are loving acts of mercy. It is also important to take care of our clothing and not to carelessly lose our hats and gloves and sweaters.


Mother Teresa said; “Be living

expressions of God’s kindness: Kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

Response is: Give us Hearts to Love and Hands to Serve. May no little child feel cold or unwanted today for lack of good clothing, we pray to the Lord…

May we follow the words of Saint Paul and “clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness and patience” this day, we pray to the Lord…

May all who sponsor clothing drives be blessed for their generosity to the poor, we pray to the Lord…

Pray Together:


Sign of the Cross:

In the name of the Father…

Sixth Week of Lent Gathering Song:

Loving and Forgiving – Verse 2

Sign of the Cross:

In the name of the Father…

Call to Prayer:

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You. - Because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.


This week, we think about the Corporal Work of Marcy: To Bury the Dead. During life, all who have died were Temples of the Holy Spirit and received Jesus in Holy Communion. We put our love into action when we pray for them, go to funerals, put flowers on graves, or comfort all who are sad from grieving the loss of a loved one.


Mother Teresa said: “When we reach out to others, especially the most forgotten with love and enter their pain, it is Jesus Himself that we are loving and embracing.”

The Response is: Give us Hearts to Love and Hands to Serve. May we pray in a special way for all of our family and friends who have died and especially the forgotten Souls in Purgatory, that they will enjoy the eternal rest and peace of heaven, we pray to the Lord…

May we reach out with support and compassion to all who are grieving, we pray to the Lord…

May we all be held in the arms of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph at the end of our lives, we pray to the Lord…

Pray Together:


Sign of the Cross:

In the name of the Father…

Dear Jesus, This Lent please give us

to love & to serve This Photo by Unknown Author is

through the Works of Mercy: Feed the Hungry Give drink to the Thirsty Clothe the Naked Shelter the Homeless Visit those in Prison Bury the Dead

The Paschal Candle Christ, Our Light The use of candles is very important in the Catholic Church, on the altar during Mass, at Baptisms, in the sanctuary lamp, as vigils before statues, sometimes during processions. The reason why we use candles so much is because the candle, which gives forth light, reminds us of the Light of Christ which illumines our soul and which we share with others through our lives. Jesus is the Light of the World. Of all the candles which are used in the church, the most prominent candle is the Paschal Candle, also known as the Easter Candle. This is a very large candle which is blessed and marked with symbols and given great attention as it is lit each year at the beginning of the Easter Vigil. This candle represents Christ to us and the light of his resurrection, the light of new life as it dispels the darkness of sin and death. The Paschal Candle is made of pure beeswax to represent the purity of Christ. In the center of the candle is etched a cross with the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, which means the beginning and the end. The numbers of the calendar year, currently 2024, are added onto the candle. Then five grains of incense are pressed into the wax of the candle, which represent the five wounds of Christ. The Paschal Candle is then lit from the new Easter fire and carried into the darkened church by the priest or deacon as the congregation follows. Three times he stops to intone “Christ, our light.” As the procession of congregants slowly fills the church, the light is passed on from the Paschal candle to small individual candles held by those in attendance as the church is filled more and more with the soft light of many candles in the darkness. When the Paschal Candle reaches the altar it is placed in a special, usually decorated, holder and incensed to show the great reverence we hold for this candle, as it represents Christ to us. Then the priest, deacon or cantor intones the Exsultet or Easter Proclamation, an ancient prayer chant that embodies the joy and exultation of this holy night of vigil of the Resurrection. These phrases from the Easter Proclamation show the significance of the Paschal Candle to the celebration of this Easter liturgy.

“Therefore, dearest friends, standing in the awesome glory of this holy light, invoke with me, I ask you, the mercy of God almighty, that he, who has been pleased to

number me, though unworthy, among the Levites, may pour into me his light unshadowed, that I may sing this candle’s perfect praises.” “On this, your night of grace, O holy Father, accept this candle, a solemn offering, the work of bees and of your servant’s hands, an evening sacrifice of praise, this gift from your most holy Church. But now we know the praises of this pillar, which glowing fire ignites for God’s honor, a fire into many flames divided, yet never dimmed by sharing of its light, for it is fed by melting wax, drawn out by mother bees to build a torch so precious.” “Therefore, O Lord, we pray you that this candle, hallowed to the honor of your name, may persevere undimmed, to overcome the darkness of this night.”

The Paschal Candle remains in the sanctuary of the church, close to the pulpit, and is lit at all liturgies from Easter until Pentecost. For the remainder of the year, the Paschal Candle is kept by the baptismal font of the church when it is lit at the celebrations of the Rite of Baptism throughout the year. The Paschal Candle is also placed at the head of the casket at a Catholic’s funeral mass, thus reminding us that the promises of eternity received at our Baptism are fulfilled at the end of our earthly life when we share in the light of Christ’s Resurrection. This is cause for rejoicing indeed! Alleluia!

➢ Plan to make a visit to your church with your students and find the Paschal Candle. You can get a close up look.

➢ These QR codes will connect you to web pages that contain Paschal Candle craft ideas to make with your students.

IHM Catholic EdNotes

Volume 4, Issue No. 2


INCLUSION: LEADS TO RESPONSIBLE MEMBERSHIP WITHIN THE CHURCH “The hospital staff actually suggested that I could, leave him here in the hospital- that I was young and could try again, and that someone would adopt him” these were the words that Lisa Wajert was told upon the birth of her son, Matthew, who was born in 1990 with Down syndrome. In contrast to the hospital staff, Matthew’s family eagerly accepted him into their loving family.

treated differently. He has always been devoted to his Catholic faith. As a young toddler, he would walk to our local church (Holy Innocents in Juniata) and have a long "conversation" with the Blessed Mother statue. When he got older, he would watch the Mass on 6abc and create his "altar" in the living room. Many people have suggested that if he did not have Down syndrome, he would most likely be a priest.”


“That extra chromosome never got in the way of him doing anything he wanted to do.” Aside from being included within his family, “Matthew always has been accepted into his social and church communities and was never

When Matthew was of school age, he attended Our Lady of Confidence, a Special Education school in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Back then, there was not an option to have children with intellectual disabilities included at the local parish school as there is now

with the efforts of the Rising Together Alliance. Therefore, Matthew was prepared for all his sacraments at Our Lady of Confidence, although, he received his Confirmation at Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC), his current parish. Through God’s grace, now Matthew is assisting others to receive the sacraments and learn about their faith at OLGC. In January 2024, Matthew received the Our Lady of Guadalupe award for his fifteen years of service in OLGC’s PREP program. Matthew has been technically helping in the program since he was a teen aide in his mother’s classroom.


However, after Lisa stopped teaching, Matthew continued to assist in the office- being a "jack of all trades," including helping in any classroom, as needed, assisting the DRE in the office, and serving for prayer services. Matthew assists throughout various sessions and keeps a consistent schedule of his PREP nights. Matthew is a valuable member of the PREP team and fully embraced by the staff and students alike.

welcoming invitation to qualified parishioners with disabilities. Like others, Catholics with disabilities are not only recipients of the Gospel, but are also called to proclaim it and to be witnesses to its truth.”


Archbishop Chaput. Matthew serves regularly at his parish and assists in training new altar servers. Matthew’s mother shared, “Matthew's face radiates with joy when he is on the altar and parishioners often tell me how emotional they become as they watch him.” Through Matthew’s service, others are moved to become more loving and promote belonging to all.


Therefore, not only is it important to provide people with disabilities an opportunity to learn about God and to help them develop a relationship with God, but it is equally important that people with disabilities are living out their own baptismal call to serve God through their own evangelization efforts. According to the Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities, general principle #6, “In choosing those who will be invited to use their gifts in service to the parish community, the parish pastoral staff and lay volunteers…should be mindful of extending Christ’s “…CATHOLICS WITH DISABILITIES ARE NOT ONLY RECIPIENTS OF THE GOSPEL, BUT ARE ALSO CALLED TO PROCLAIM IT…”

In addition to serving as a PREP aide, Matthew has been an altar server since he was thirteen years old. In 2011, Matthew received the “Distinguished Altar Server Award” for OLGC from

Kevin Madison, who was a long-time teacher at OLGC, who has trained the OLGC altar servers for many years, and is now the OLGC sacristan, became Matthew's mentor and friend during this time. In 2013, Kevin Madison invited Matthew to be a Knight of Columbus. Matthew also joined the Color Corps, serving often with his Brother Knights at the Cathedral Masses, and in area parishes whenever the Knights are requested. Matthew is an active Knight and was given the position of Faithful Sentinel for Archbishop Wood Assembly. He regularly attends monthly meetings for both the AW Assembly and the OLG council.



assist in the development of a relationship with God or become a roadblock to that relationship through our actions or failure to act with each individual that we encounter. He frequently volunteers his time to the parish's numerous Knights' fundraisers, including the parish carnival, fish fry, and bingo nights. His Brother Knights see Matthew as a valuable asset to both the council and assembly.” All Catholics, through baptism, are called to be evangelizers. Matthew lives out this mission everyday through, with, and in the church. His faith is a continued testament to all who encounter him. Creating communities where all people belong is at the heart of the mission of Jesus. It is our responsibility to ensure that the door to those communities whether it is to an individual classroom, a school building, or a parish, is open for all. We have the privilege to either

RESOURCES FOR INCLUSIVE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION Key Ecclesial Documents 1998 Welcome and Justice for Persons with Disabilities 2017 USCCB Revised Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities Other Resources www.opdarchphilly.org Office for Persons with Disabilities of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has resources under the Faith Formation Section.

All it takes is a simple invitation to welcome a person with a disability. “It is important for not only the church community, but the wider social community, to experience the joy and value our children bring to the world.” Keeping this in mind, how can we foster inclusion that leads to responsible membership within the Church? Natalie Rivera Director, Office for Persons with Disabilities nrivera@archphila.org

www.risingtogetheralliance.org Promotes inclusion of children with IDD within parish and regional Catholic Schools.

www.odwphiladelphia.org The Office for Divine Worship has resources related to full participation in the Sacraments for Persons with Disabilities. https://ncpd.org/ The National Catholic Partnership on Disability works collaboratively to ensure meaningful participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of the life of the Church life.

Each edition of Maximizing Learning for All Students explores inclusion practices that minimize barriers and maximize learning for ALL students. Email s.k.schipani@IHMimm.org if you would like to share inclusion stories or efforts. Sr. Kathleen Schipani, IHM


SYNOD, WHAT’S NEXT? A look at the priesthood of believers and its impact on the work of the Synod on Synodality. By Sr. Stephanie Gabriel Tracy, IHM

Where we’ve been As our school year began, we as a global Church waited with mixed emotions and expectations as laity, clergy, and men and women in consecrated life gathered in Rome for the first session of the Synod on Synodality. The month-long meeting in October generated excitement for some, apprehension for others. While the Church has seen many synods, this one was different. Pope Francis had called members of the Church together from all walks of life and all cultural contexts in order to examine what it means to “be church” in the 21st century. While the synod members were given some general themes to discuss – communion, participation, mission – the goal of their work was not to develop concrete steps to improve the Church’s communion, participation and mission. Instead, the synod members were tasked with embracing the process of synodality, which meant focusing on practices like active listening, including a diversity of voices in the conversation, and being mindful of the needs and contexts of people who differ in their cultural and ethical backgrounds. The fruits of their discussions were gathered, synthesized and shared with Pope Francis who then tasked the synod delegates to return to their home dioceses to share about their experiences and to engage in further prayer, reflection, and dialogue on the topics of communion, participation and mission. This is where we find ourselves at the moment, on the cusp of Lent.

What’s next? We may not be hearing much about the synod at this point, but it is still going on, and will conclude in October 2024 with a second gathering of the delegates. After that meeting, recommendations will be made to Pope Francis about ways the Church can better live as a witness to the Gospel call for witness, inclusion, mercy and welcome. What has made this synod different from any previous one, however, is its emphasis on the the universal call to holiness and the priesthood of believers, or the priesthood of the baptized. These concepts came to the forefront during the Second Vatican Council, and were major themes in the council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium). Where holiness had previously been reserved for clergy and consecrated religious, the Council emphasized that all believers are called to growth in virtue. It might sound strange or heretical to some to speak of lay people being priests, but the idea is deeply rooted in our understanding of baptism and our incorporation into the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Priesthood of the baptized & call to holiness At our baptism, the water we are immersed in represents our death to the old life of sin and our being buried with Jesus. We are thus reborn – risen to new life – as children of God and members of His Kingdom, all of us called to holiness. We are also anointed with sacred chrism. This holy oil is used to represent our dignity as members of God’s Kingdom, and it commissions us to participate in Jesus’ own role as priest, prophet and king.

“For the first time, at Pope Francis’ invitation, men and women have been invited, in virtue of their baptism, to sit at the same table to take part, not only in the discussions, but also in the voting process of this Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Together, in the complementarity of our vocations, our charisms and our ministries, we have listened intensely to the Word of God and the experience of others. ... we have humbly shared the wealth and poverty of our communities from every continent, seeking to discern what the Holy Spirit wants to say to the Church today.” (Letter to the People of God, Oct. 2023)

As we enter into this Lenten season, perhaps we can reflect on how well we have exercised these roles, rooted in our baptism, and make an effort to strengthen our practice of them. In doing so, we not only grow in the grace of our baptismal consecration, but we also develop the gifts necessary for living as a synodal church.

Defining terms What does the Church mean when it teaches that all the baptized are part of the “priesthood of believers/the baptized”? Lumen Gentium explains: “The baptized, by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated as a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, in order that through all those works which are those of the Christian…they may offer spiritual sacrifices and proclaim the power of Him who has called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. … Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ. The ministerial priest, by the sacred power he enjoys, teaches and rules the priestly people; acting in the person of Christ, he makes present the Eucharistic sacrifice, and offers it to God in the name of all the people. But the faithful, in virtue of their royal priesthood, join in the offering of the Eucharist. They likewise exercise that priesthood in receiving the sacraments, in prayer and thanksgiving, in the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity.” (Lumen Gentium, 10) The Church here highlights the relationship between the ministerial priesthood – that of the ordained clergy – and the priesthood of believers – that enjoyed by all the baptized. Everyone, by our baptism, is called to offer worship to the Lord, to preach the Gospel, and to lead and care for others, all according to our own particular vocations and states in life. While the ordained clergy exercise a more visible, sacramental leadership in the Church, they cannot sustain the Church by themselves! The help and missionary zeal of all the baptized is crucial to the health and growth of the community of faith! Holiness is not restricted to “church professionals,” either; all of us, through prayer and the sacraments, are called to conversion and virtuous lives

Priest So, what does it look like in practice for lay people to exercise the offices of priest, prophet and king? Lumen Gentium again explains: “It is through the sacraments and the exercise of the virtues that the sacred nature and organic structure of the priestly community is brought into operation. Incorporated in the Church through baptism, the faithful are destined by the baptismal character for the worship of the Christian religion; reborn as sons of God they must confess before men the faith which they have received from God through the Church.” (Lumen Gentium, 11) By our participation in the sacraments, by our prayer and efforts to grow in virtue, the faithful exercise the priestly office.

Prophet The Catechism of the Catholic Church highlights the faithful’s prophetic role in discerning the truth of the faith, “above all in the supernatural sense of faith that belongs to the whole People, lay and clergy, when it ‘unfailingly adheres to this faith . . . once for all delivered to the saints,’ and when it deepens its understanding and becomes Christ's witness in the midst of this world.” (CCC, 785)

King The faithful exercise the kingly office through service toward others, in imitation of Jesus himself. The Catechism explains in paragraph 786: “Christ, King and Lord of the universe, made himself the servant of all, for he came "not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." For the Christian, "to reign is to serve him," particularly when serving "the poor and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering founder." The People of God fulfills its royal dignity by a life in keeping with its vocation to serve with Christ. All three of these offices are rooted in the common dignity of baptism, meaning that all the faithful, regardless of their vocation or role in the Church, have a right and a responsibility to embrace the exercise of these roles and live them out for the good of the entire Church. Through our baptism, all are equals and all share in a common mission. It is this commonality that the Synod on Synodality is attempting to highlight and actuate in the life of the Church in the 21st century.

Priesthood of the Baptized: Learning from the Synod Delegates to the Synod on Synodality experienced a new format for synod meetings. Instead of sitting in an auditorium listening to a series of pre-selected speakers who shared from pre-written texts, synod participants were seated in a gathering hall at round tables. Each individual at the table was invited and expected to respond to the questions that were posed. Rather than listening to a small group of voices, the synod heard from hundreds from all over the world. To ensure that the table conversations proceeded prayerfully and in keeping with the spirit of the synod, they were described as “conversations in the Spirit,” rather than discussions, and were guided by a pattern of active listening, silence, and attention to all the voices at the table, especially those that expressed unique or less dominant perspectives. As each table member listened to others respond to the conversation prompts, they were asked to listen not just for content, but for how their hearts and emotions were touched. Synod delegates also listened for how certain themes were repeated, what needs were being identified and how the virtues of compassion and empathy may be needed in certain situations. In interviews after the close of October’s first synod session, many participants reported that their table conversations were eye-opening in many respects, especially in the way that they felt deeply connected to the other synod participants. These “conversations in the Spirit” gave synod participants a chance to exercise the priesthood of the baptized by inviting them to prayer, to speaking the truth of the faith, and to speaking up for those whose voices have not been heard clearly in Church circles. As the synod document issued at the close of the first session explained, “Those who took part in the synodal meetings at the different levels during the listening and consultation phase, and especially the participants in the First Session, have had a concrete experience of a Church that is plural and able to live with differences as a richness in communion. This experience constitutes a prophetic word addressed to a world that finds it hard to believe that peace and concord are possible. We are called and sent by the Risen One to proclaim the Gospel to the world today. Growing as a synodal Church is a concrete way to respond to this call and this mission.” (Synod Document: Toward October 2024) Perhaps this Lent we could find ways to practice active listening – with our students, with parents, with our colleagues – especially when having conversations about controversial or difficult topics. Perhaps we could prayerfully consider which voices in our classrooms and communities are not being heard, and discern ways to speak on their behalf. Perhaps we could consider our participation in the sacramental life of the Church, our efforts to grow in virtue, and find ways to improve or increase them. Our efforts at living the common priesthood of the baptized help make not only ourselves but the Church as a whole holier, more prophetic, and more effectively a light to the nations.

Holy Eucharist – Food for Life’s Journey Part 2/3 Develop Intimacy with Jesus through the MASS On Holy Thursday – the night before he died – Jesus invited his closest friends to share the Passover meal. It was during this Last Supper that Jesus gave us the gift of Eucharist; his body and blood to remain with us long after his death and resurrection. Jesus offers himself again and again whenever we gather at the altar table to celebrate Mass. Every Sunday (and at every Mass) we are guests at a Banquet. God is our Host. Jesus is the honoree, the victim, and the priest. We come to worship God the Father, to receive Jesus into our bodies and souls, and with the power of his Spirit to take Jesus within us to a world in need of him. Participation is key. Prepare the readings and responsorial psalm. What theme, question, or words “pop out”? What in your life connects with them? Recall the events of the past week that need healing or evoke gratitude. Look to the week ahead. What joys, anxieties, needs exist? Prepare for the Eucharistic Prayer. When the celebrant refers to people who have died, name loved ones. When he prays for the living, name people and concerns. When he offers the bread and wine, imagine placing the events of the past week on the Paten and the unknowns of the week ahead in the Chalice. Offer your life with Jesus to the Father. Prior to taking pre-school children to Mass the first time, introduce them to the Church via brief, tenminute visits. Present church as a sacred space that is a privilege to visit. Point out holy water fonts, statues, Stations of the Cross, window art, sanctuary lamp, altar, tabernacle. Teach genuflection as a sign of reverence for Jesus the King. Explore the confessional. Visit the sacristy and explain that this is the room that stores the sacred objects and special clothing that are used for worshipping God. Foster participation at Mass that is characterized by attention, reverence and devotion. Make time to teach your children the following ten parts of the Mass. Then, before entering the Church for Sunday Mass, agree to pay close attention to one individual aspect. (1) It will give a focus for that day and (2) eventually the entire Mass will have personal meaning to each member of the family. (Suggestion: At the end of a liturgical season, collect the discarded missalettes from church. Use them for teaching purposes.) 1. Introductory Rites – Pray the responses aloud. From the first moment of the Mass be a participant; not an observer.

3. Gloria – Set the scene that we are in the palace of God before the throne of Jesus the King and these are the words we are using to give glory to him.

2. Penitential Act – Teach the need for sorrow and a firm purpose of change. Recite the words thoughtfully. Explain the gesture of striking the breast.

4. Liturgy of the Word – Pre-read before Mass but listen during Mass while the readings are proclaimed. Say the responses. Prior to the Gospel we pray and gesture: “May the Word of God be in

Dr. Patricia M. McCormack, IHM © IHM Formative Support Services. All Rights Reserved.

Website: www.ParentTeacherSupport.org

my mind, on my lips, and in my heart.” Listen carefully. Pay attention to the homily. From the Liturgy of the Word take a message for the week. 5. Profession of Faith, the Creed – The creed contains the basic teaching of the Catholic Church. Review the beliefs. 6. Offertory/Presentation of Gifts – While the altar servers “set the table” accustom children to contribute something to the collection for the poor. Explain that the gifts of water and wine and bread are gifts that we bring to the feast. When the words of Consecration are said, by a miracle of God, they will be changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus. 7. Liturgy of the Eucharist – Though there are several versions, in a missalette we find four Eucharistic Prayers. Help the children to familiarize themselves with the ideas expressed. Perhaps they can underline their favorite words/phrases. Pay attention to the words that the priest recites. Respond where appropriate. Be especially attentive during the consecration when the priest offers the paten of bread and the chalice of wine. Join Jesus in his

sacrifice. Offer yourself with Jesus to do the will of God the Father. Proclaim “The Great Amen.” 8. Communion Rite – Reverently pray the Our Father, the responses, and the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei). Become familiar with the prayers so that they take on personal meaning. Approach the altar with deliberate respect and prayerful body language. With attention receive Jesus in Holy Communion in your cupped hand or on your tongue. Concentrate on Jesus as you return to your seat. 9. Thanksgiving after Holy Communion – Use the words of the hymn and silence time to speak with Jesus whose physical presence is within your body. Express your love, loyalty, needs and desires. Ask Jesus to shape your heart and actions. Witness to your love for him in the week that follows. 10.The Concluding Rites – Become familiar with the brief concluding prayers – all sending us to take the Mass with us wherever we go. Sing the recessional hymn. Let its message influence your day and week

Set the mood for Mass by remote preparation: Sufficient sleep/rest (“Prayer in the morning begins with the sleep of the night before”), nourishment, appropriate dress for the banquet of the King, prayer materials packed (offertory envelope, a missal or a resource booklet like Magnifikid or Pflaum Gospel Weekly. For pre-school children keep a “Mass totebag” that includes quiet items that are used only on Sunday in Church. For example, picture books of Bible history and Gospel stories, saints, religious accessories like scripture finger puppets, touch and feel books, lift-the-flap books ... “Families have a responsibility to participate in ways that do not disrupt those around them.” (Joel Schorn, USCatholic.org) Establish a Pre-Mass Routine: • Begin a one-hour fast from food, chewing gum or candy. • Establish a routine that includes a non-agitated schedule, quiet atmosphere, activity restricted to reading while waiting for car departure and bathroom use. • Arrive at least five minutes before the Mass time. Before going into Church review Church etiquette and expectations. Give clear and concise directions about what behavior Jesus deserves. Assign seating positions and, perhaps, one-on-one responsibility for pre-school children. • Mentally prepare to give Jesus a gift from the week, like a hurt that you will forgive, or a worry about a sick friend, or the joy from a success you experienced...

Dr. Patricia M. McCormack, IHM © IHM Formative Support Services. All Rights Reserved.

Website: www.ParentTeacherSupport.org

Holy Eucharist – Food for Life’s Journey Part 3/3 Deepen Friendship with Jesus through Eucharistic Devotions Periods of sitting in the sun result in a change of skin color. Periods of sitting with-the-SON result in a change in attitude! St. Alphonsus Ligouri so cherished the practice of being in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament that he participated in the Forty Hours’ Devotion at every opportunity. If you know the Italian city of Naples, then you know that many churches punctuate the neighborhoods, thus providing regular opportunities for Alphonsus to baske in the SON. In the sacred, consecrated host , Jesus Christ – his body, blood, soul, and divinity – awaits to tutor our hearts, to feed our hungers and to nurture our souls. Eucharist is Jesus’ gift of himself to us. He told his apostles, “Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in your midst” (Matthew 18:20). He promised, “I am with you at all times...” (Mt. 28:20). And so he is – spiritually. But in the Eucharist, he places even his physical presence at our disposal. He, whom all the world cannot contain, chooses to come to us in the form of bread and wine. He offers himself to us knowing that we might reject him. For Catholic Christians, Eucharist is not merely a symbol of Christ given at the Last Supper. Eucharist is Jesus who said, “Take, this is my Body... This is my Blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mk. 14:22-24) . . . “I am the bread of life . . . He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day . . .” (Jn. 6:48-54). Eucharist is more than sign and symbol. Eucharist is the body and blood of Jesus Christ. When we approach Eucharist with attention, reverence, and devotion we become what we eat! Little by little we come to think as Jesus thinks, to love as Jesus loves, and to serve as Jesus serves. An old protestant hymn celebrated, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus!” Indeed, we do! Jesus offers himself to us without condition. The choice to enter into a mutual friendship is ours. We can cultivate devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in many ways. This newsletter highlights several Eucharistic practices. Catholics call the Eucharist “the Most Blessed Sacrament because it is the Sacrament of sacraments” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1330). Consecrated hosts are reserved in the tabernacle and a burning sanctuary lamp signals the Real Presence. Sometimes, a large consecrated host, contained in a glass case called a luna, is visible in a Monstrance and set on the altar for all to see. Prayer on these occasions is called adoration. Some parishes arrange to have the monstrance always on display and devout Catholics pledge to sit watch for a specified amount of time. This practice is called Perpetual Adoration.

Dr. Patricia M. McCormack, IHM © IHM Formative Support Services. All Rights Reserved.

Website: www.ParentTeacherSupport.org

FORTY HOURS’ DEVOTION Every year a parish sets aside 40 hours for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Make it a family custom to participate in the parish devotion or to visit the Blessed Sacrament as a family. Parents will benefit from Visits to the Blessed Sacrament, written by St. Alphonsus Liguori. A helpful guide for children exists in the book, My Visit with Jesus, available by calling 218-727-1730 or writing Helana@charter.net. VISITS TO THE BLESSED SACRAMENT (EUCHARISTIC ADORATION) Model the custom of making brief visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Teach children various ways to pray. For instance, • Within your soul sing a favorite hymn and then talk with Jesus about it. • Write a letter to Jesus. • Divide the prayer period into four sections for ACTS: Adore, Confess, Thank, Seek. ADORE: Express admiration for God’s greatness. What about God do you want to praise, honor, worship, revere, admire, commend, value, esteem or glorify? CONFESS: Admit sorrow for your sins, faults, and failings. What life-blocking choices do you acknowledge, admit, regret, or want to disclose to Jesus? THANK: Speak gratitude for the graces and gifts in your life. What kindnesses or favors do you recognize and appreciate? SEEK: Trust your needs and questions to God. What graces or helps do you desire? What problems worry you? Ask, search, beg, and petition Jesus to guide you.

SPIRITUAL COMMUNION St. Alphonsus Liguori taught the practice of praying a spiritual communion throughout the day. Pray it often. My Jesus, I believe that You are really present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You more than anything in the world and I hunger to be nourished by You. But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, come into my soul at least spiritually. I unite myself to You now as I do when I actually receive You. Never let me drift away from you. CONSECRATION DURING MASS Prepare in advance to name the persons, events, joys and sorrows of the past week and the hopes, fears and desires of the week ahead. Then, when the priest lifts the paten with the unconsecrated host on it, imagine placing the last week on it. And when the priest lifts the chalice with unconsecrated wine place the coming week into it. Offer your sacrifice to God. God will transform the sacrifice and use it to shape you more into the image of Jesus. THANKSGIVING AFTER HOLY COMMUNION Take advantage of the intimate minutes when Jesus’ physical presence is within your body. If the congregation is singing a hymn, make the lyrics your conversation with Jesus. When silence returns, personalize the messages that the song contained. Spend private conversation time with Jesus before leaving the Church. Consider creating a personal act of consecration or a love message that you speak to Jesus each time that you receive the consecrated host. Though all is grace, assume personal responsibility keeping your friendship alive.

Dr. Patricia M. McCormack, IHM © IHM Formative Support Services. All Rights Reserved.

Website: www.ParentTeacherSupport.org

Social Justice 1st Theme of Catholic Social Teaching: The Life and Dignity of Every Human Person by Sister Joyce C. Bell, IHM Coordinator of Catholic Social Teaching is derived from the belief that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and therefore possesses an inherent dignity that makes each person’s life valuable and worthy of respect as a member of the human family. From the moment of conception to natural death, each person has a right to life consistent with this dignity that comes from God and not from any human quality or accomplishment. (adapted from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops\USCCB) The 1st Theme of Catholic Social Teaching embraces this concept. It is the bedrock upon which each subsequent theme is built. Every time we ask the question: “Does this action uplift human life or degrade human life?” we are living Catholic Social Teaching. Every time we form an opinion of a policy or person based on this same question, we are informing our lives through Catholic Social Teaching. Every time we challenge a person’s words or a policy that is inconsistent with this belief, we are practicing Catholic Social Teaching. Issues such as abortion, the death penalty, immigration, poverty, racism, persons with disabilities, agism and war, just to name a few, beg to be examined through the lens of the dignity of the human person. We may find we need further education and an adjustment in our faith perspective on one or more of these issues. This is a life-long faith journey. Welcome to the challenge of living our Catholic faith. Please view this video to learn more about Theme 1 of Catholic Social Teaching: The Life and Dignity of the Human Person: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DJJM26nieY

Grades 3 & 4 APRIL


Jelly beans are... As red as tomatoes As green as trees As black as night, As yellow as cheese.

Mary, Mother of Jesus Be with us today. Mary, our mother, Guide us on our way.

Grades 5 & 6 APRIL Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself.

MAY Be alert to give service. What counts a great deal in life is what we do for others.

Louis McMaster Bujold

Grades 7 & 8 APRIL It is most important that we strive to develop an attitude of gratitude.

MAY We build character piece by piece: by thought, choice, character and determination John Luther Spring, 2024

Religion Bulletin Boards 2023- 2024 Missionary Discipleship and National Eucharistic Revival “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. JOHN 6:51

With our Bulletin Boards this school year, we will continue to focus on the importance of Missionary Discipleship, but as we continue through the year will also focus on the Eucharist as we celebrate the National Eucharistic Revival. Now, more than ever we need to guide our students into re-vitalizing their faith as a lived reality rather than just something “good to know.” Committing prayers and the facts of faith to memory has no real meaning unless the practice of faith becomes a lived reality. A missionary disciple is called—not to recite prayers, but to pray; not to recall the tenets of faith and scripture, but to live out what these call us to do. Bulleting board visuals and related practices can help our students to a part of our daily practice. As we move into Spring and closer to the time of the Eucharistic pilgrimage that will take place this summer, we are provided with the the opportunity to reflect on the Journey of Jesus at Calvary which is at the heart of our faith. Drawing closer to Easter, we celebrate the Last Supper at which Jesus gave us Himself in the Eucharist. During May we are called to walk alongside Mary who brings us to her Son. These are all reflected in the bulletin boards reflected in this section. The school year may come to a conclusion in May or June, but our journey of faith will continue for a lifetime. Teachers are encouraged to challenge their students to follow the Eucharistic pilgrimage through the summer and take every opportunity to participate in the celebrations of faith and prayer throughout the summer.

March Lord, Let Us Walk that Lonely Road With YOU . . .

Will you have the COURAGE





As we move through the season of Lent, continue preparing the students for the Eucharistic Revival to be held this summer. Explain the concept of “pilgrimage” as being a journey of faith. Tell them that it takes courage to make a pilgrimage. It is not easy. Jesus’ journey P to Calvary is a good example to use with students at this time of year as an example of the courage it takes to make a journey of faith. On a bulletin board, place a blank cross. For older students, play the meditation from the hymn, Weight of the Wood as found on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZLtQw0GTdQ Discuss with all students how they can “carry” the cross during Lent. Place an empty basket at the base of the bulletin board. Have the students place their “crosses” in the basket as a symbol of their courage in making a Lenten pilgrimage.

On a Bulletin Board place a picture of the first Station and of the Fourteenth Station of the Cross. Place picture of the other stations in a path around the classroom. There is a Short Way of the Cross (about 10 minutes) on YouTube that can be used at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVM0Mn0AgHw Using this, or other level-appropriate prayers, have thee students take turns leading the class in making the Way of the Cross frequently during Lent. Student leaders can move from station to station in the classroom beginning at the bulletin board (First Station) stopping at the classroom crucifix (Twelfth Station) and ending at the bulletin board (Fourteenth Station.) The prayers can be projected on the screen while the students are praying.

APRIL Jesus Gives His Life for Us; Jesus Gives Us His Life

As a continued preparation for the upcoming Eucharistic Congress during the summer, spend some time during April focusing on the Institution of the Eucharist. Prepare a bulletin board celebrating the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper as well as a reminder that each time Mass is celebrated Jesus comes to us again as we receive Communion. Recall for students how important it is to celebrate important events in our lives— birthdays, anniversaries, quincineras, graduations, etc. Tell them it is also important to celebrate the important events in our faith life—our Baptism, our First Penance, our First Communion and Confirmation. Have the students investigate the dates of these events in their lives. For older students, deign a bulletin board modeling a timeline of a faith journey. Have them create their own Faith Journey timeline on a blank card which they will either keep in their religion book or in their personal “prayer corner” at home. Make a classroom calendar of special days in the faith life of the students. Help the students to celebrate their special faith days with a remembrance in prayer, a holy card, or some other type of remembrance. Have the students create greeting cards to celebrate the reception of the Sacraments and to remember these special days. They could also create cards to give to students in the school making the sacraments.

What Is Your Faith Journey

May To Jesus Through Mary L U M I N O U

A Marian hymn dating back to 1912 that was used throughout the 20th century during May Processions and other Marian celebrations was “Tis the Month of our Mother.” The refrain of that hymn was: All Hail! to thee, dear Mary,

the guardian of our way; To the fairest of Queens, Be the fairest of seasons, sweet May.


To Jesus

The second line of this verse reminds us of Mary’s role in helping us on our journey to love and know Jesus better. This is a time to focus on prayer to Mary and to learn of her role in bringing Jesus to so many. While the hymn may be dated, the Luminous mysteries of the Rosary are relatively new and bring a special remembrance of the institution of the Eucharist in the fifth mystery. Prepare a bulletin board focusing on the Luminous mysteries. Teach the mysteries and use them while praying the Rosary during May. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Prepare a bulletin board honoring Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. Explain to them that this is just one of the many titles of Mary. Provide them with a copy of the list showing many of the titles of Mary and the worksheet that accompanies it. Have them research the titles and write a prayer to Mary which reflects that title.

Through Mary

Titles of Mary Listed below are many of the titles of Mary. Select one of the titles and do some research to find our why Mary has that title. Write a brief paragraph explaining the title and then, write a prayer to Mary using the title you chose. Ark of the Covenant Cause of Our Joy Comforter of the Afflicted Co-Redemptrix Destroyer of Heresy Gate of Heaven Joy of the Just Health of the Sick Help of Christians Holy Mary Holy Mother of God Holy Virgin of Virgins House of Gold The Immaculate Heart Mirror of Justice Mother of the Poor Morning Star Mother Inviolate Mother Most Admirable Mother Most Amiable Mother Most Chaste Mother Most Pure Mother of Christ Mother of Divine Grace Mother of Good Counsel Mother of Orphans Mother of Our Creator Mother of Our Redeemer Mother of Perpetual Help Mother of Sorrows Mother of the Son Mother Thrice Admirable Mother Undefiled Mystical Rose Our Lady of Confidence Our Lady of Akita Our Lady of Abundance Our Lady of All Help Our Lady of Angels Our Lady of Bethlehem Our Lady of Cana Our Lady of Clemency Our Lady of Compassion Our Lady of Consolation Our Lady of Deliverance

Our Lady of Divine Providence Our Lady of Faith Our Lady of Fatima Our Lady of Good Counsel Our Lady of Good Deliverance Our Lady of Good Health Our Lady of Good Help Our Lady of Good News Our Lady of Good Success Our Lady of Good Tidings Our Lady of Grace Our Lady of Guadalupe Our Lady of Ireland Our Lady of Knock Our Lady of La Salette Our Lady of Life Our Lady of Light Our Lady of Loreto Our Lady of Lourdes Our Lady of Miracles Our Lady of Mount Carmel Our Lady of Nazareth Our Lady of Peace Our Lady of Perpetual Help Our Lady of Prompt Succor Our Lady of Ransom Our Lady of Sorrows Our Lady of Tears Our Lady of the Armed Forces

Our Lady of the Assumption Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Our Lady of the Cloister Our Lady of the Lily Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Our Lady of the Rosary Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Our Lady of Victory Our Lady Refuge of Sinners Our Lady, Star of the Sea Our Lady Queen of Peace Tabernacle of the Lord Temple of the Most Holy Trinity Queen of Angels Queen of Heaven Queen of Patriarchs Queen of Prophets Queen of Apostles Queen of Martyrs Queen of Confessors Queen of Virgins Queen of All Saints Queen Conceived Without Original Sin Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Queen of Peace Refuge of Sinners Seat of Wisdom Singular Vessel of Devotion Spiritual Vessel Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit Star of the Sea Tower of David Tower of Ivory Vessel of Honor Virgin Most Prudent Virgin Most Venerable Virgin Most Renowned Virgin Most Powerful Virgin Most Merciful Virgin Most Faithful

Title of Mary__________________________________________________ Mary has this title because_______________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Prayer to Mary ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

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