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Program Overview Our Catholic Heritage is an initiatory entry-level catechesis for young people ages 9-14 in the following situations: • young people who are in a children’s catechumenate because they and their parents are preparing to enter the Church • young people who have never been catechized and whose parents are returning to the Church • those children entering or re-entering formal catechesis at an older age Our Catholic Heritage provides everything you need to invite young people to a lifetime of faith: • Two Student Books • Level I for 9-11 • Level II for ages 12-14 • Two Catechist Guides

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with separate sections for program coordinators, catechists, and parents • Background articles • Activities for classroom use • Family sessions


An Initiatory Catechesis Our Catholic Heritage uses a four-pronged initiatory approach that: • invites children into relationship with Jesus (The Life of Jesus). • introduces them to the core teachings of the Catholic Faith (We Believe chapters). • explores the Church’s sacramental rituals and seasonal celebrations • leads the children in a mystagogical process of reflection on the Sacraments of Initiation (We Celebrate Our Faith).

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The Life of Jesus “Today…catechesis must often take the form of the primary proclamation of the Gospel because many who present themselves for catechesis have not yet experienced conversion to Jesus Christ” (National Directory for Catechesis 19D)

Students first encounter the life of Jesus and key stories in his life and ministry, such as his baptism, his call to discipleship, his miracles and parables, and his Death, Resurrection and Ascension.

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Each level of Our Catholic Heritage uses a unique illustration style for the Life of Jesus stories that accommodates the developmental needs of the two age groups. The art draws the young people into the stories and stimulates reflection and discussion.

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Ten chapters introducing key themes in Catholic doctrine that spell out what we believe and why.

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All chapters being in the young person’s experience.


Catholics Believe Highlights a Catholic doctrine or practice that helps build Catholic knowledge and identity. Faith Vocabulary In each section, the important faith terminology and vocabulary a student should know are defined and explained concisely and clearly.

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Stories, simple explanations and activities make initiatory catechesis an engaging process!

Faith-Filled People A related example of a saint or holy person in each chapter models the way of discipleship.

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I Follow Jesus Engaging activities and a weekly faith choice take the lesson from the classroom into the home and community.

My Faith Choice Children decide how they will live their faith during the next week

Additional prayers and other resources that teach practices of the Church offer support for teachers and for families looking for ways to reinforce religious learning in the home. Call toll free at 1-877-275-4725 • RCLBenziger.com

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“With My Family” pages for each doctrine chapter offer families meaningful opportunities and ideas for making faith a part of everyday life in the home.

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We Celebrate

The liturgy and life of the Church are explained through the “We Celebrate Our Faith” section that walks students through the liturgical year. The rites of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist and Reconciliation are each presented in a thorough and easy to understand style.

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We Celebrate...

Baptism

Joey Santo was excited. Today, his new baby sister Claire was going to be baptized at Mass. The whole Church would celebrate Claire’s new life in Christ. Father John greeted the family and met Claire’s godparents.

Reception of the Child Joey sat with his family in the front pew. Father John began the Mass as usual with the Sign of the Cross. The Rite of Baptism was about to begin. The rite of a sacrament is the way that we celebrate it. He invited the family and the godparents to come forward. He asked, “What name have you given your child?” Mr. and Mrs. Santo said, “Claire.” Father John then asked, “What do you ask of God’s Church for Claire?” The Santo family and godparents answered together, “Baptism.” Then Father John said, “Claire, the Christian community welcomes you with great joy. In its name, I claim you for Christ our Savior.” Joey watched as Father traced a sign of the cross on Claire’s forehead and invited his parents to do the same.

Space for journal entries offers students the chance to reflect upon what they’ve learned in each lesson. 114

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A current and vibrant graphic design make this series attractive for catechists and teachers, families and students to use.

We Celebrate...

Advent

During the month of December, many people prepare to celebrate Christmas. The Church celebrates the season of Advent, during the four weeks before Christmas. This is a time of great anticipation of the arrival of Jesus Christ. We celebrate not only the birth of our Savior, but also his coming again at the end of time. Advent is the time the Church remembers God’s promise to send us the Savior. At Mass, we listen to stories from the Old Testament about this promise of a messiah. We also give thanks and praise for Christ coming to us in the sacraments today. During this season of hope, we long for his final return when the Kingdom of God will be complete. On each of the four Sundays during Advent, we may light a candle on an Advent wreath. These four candles help us count the weeks until Christmas by providing a visual reminder of what we eagerly anticipate, the coming of our Savior. The lighted candle also reminds us that Jesus is the Light of the World. We can prepare for Christmas by being a light for others. We can reflect on how important Jesus is in our lives. We can find ways to love others as Jesus loves us. We can offer the gift of ourselves in service to one another. During the season of Advent, we can celebrate hope because of salvation in Jesus Christ.

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How can your service for others be a gift to them?

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Faith Summaries

Essential teachings and concepts of the faith are summarized in a simple question and answer format in an accessible language for the young people.

The glossary provides succinct definitions of vocabulary terms used in the student books. It includes page references for children and their parents telling where they terms occur in the text.

Glossary A-B almsgiving (page 73) Almsgiving is sharing our blessings with others, especially with people in need. ambry (page 81) Holy oils are kept in a special place in the church called an ambry. Anointing of the Sick (page 80) The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is a Sacrament of Healing that strengthens our faith, hope, and love for God when we are seriously ill, weakened by old age, or dying. Apostles (page 56) The Apostles were the first twelve leaders of the Church. Jesus chose them to baptize and teach in his name. Body of Christ (page 56) The Body of Christ is a New Testament image for the Church, which teaches that the members of the Church are made one in Christ, the Head of the Church.

C-F conscience (page 49) Conscience is a gift from God that is part of every person, which guides the individual to know what is right and wrong, and to judge how to act morally good. Divine Revelation (page 33) Divine Revelation is God making known over time the mystery of who he is and his divine plan of Creation and Salvation. Eucharist (page 72) The Eucharist is the final Sacrament of Christian Initiation in which Christ’s loving sacrifice of himself is made present, and we receive the Body and Blood of Christ. By partaking of Holy Communion, we are joined most fully to Christ and to the Church, the Body of Christ.

faith (page 33) Faith is a gift and power from God inviting us to know and believe in him. It is also our free response to his invitation. Paschal Mystery (page 42) G-L The Church calls Jesus’ passion, Death, Resurrection and glorious Ascension into grace (page 33) Grace is the gift of God’s life and loving Heaven, the Paschal Mystery. presence. Penance and Reconciliation (page 80) The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation Heaven (page 104) is and a Sacrament of Healing in which we receive, Heaven is everlasting life with God, Mary, through the ministry of the priest, God’s the saints. forgiveness for the sins we commit after Holy Trinity (page 49) Baptism. The mystery of the Holy Trinity is that God is Pentecost one in three Divine Person: God the Father, God(page 49) day the Son, God the Holy Spirit; the central The belief of of Pentecost, fifty days after the Resurrection, is when the Holy Spirit came to the Christian faith. the disciples as Jesus had promised. Incarnation (page 41) The Incarnation is the mystery of thePeople Son of of God (page 56) The People of God is a New Testament image God becoming man. for the Church, which teaches that God the Kingdom of God (page 41) Father calls everyone to be his people in Jesus, The Kingdom of God is the reign of God’s his Son. love in the world. The Kingdom will not be pope (page 59) completed until Jesus returns in glory at the The pope is the chief leader and teacher of the end of time. Catholic Church. liturgy (page 65) The liturgy is the work of the Church, during which the People of God worship God. In S-U the liturgy, Christ continues the work of (page 64) Redemption in, with, and through thesacramentals Church. These blessings and sacred objects are used in our public worship and personal prayer to help prepare us to receive grace. M-R sacraments (page 65) Mass (page 72) The sacraments are the seven main liturgical The Mass is the main sacramental celebration of of the Church, given to us by Jesus. They the Church. During the Mass, we gathersigns to listen make us sharers in the life of the Holy Trinity to God’s Word and share in the Eucharist. and, for believers, are necessary for salvation. Messiah (page 41) Every sacrament confers special graces. Messiah is the title for Jesus that means he Sacraments at the Service is Christ, the Anointed One God the Father promised to send to save all people. of Communion (page 88) The Sacraments at the Service of Communion are the two sacraments that set aside members of the Church to serve the Church through Holy Orders or Matrimony.

Sacraments of Christian Initiation (page 65) Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist are the Sacraments of Christian Initiation. These three sacraments form the foundation of Christian life. saints (page 35) Saints are holy people whose love for God is stronger than their love for anything or anyone else. sins (page 80) Sins are those acts we freely choose to do wrong. They weaken or break one’s relationship with God and the Church. solidarity (page 105) Solidarity means to be connected to other people in our community or society at large. Ten Commandments (page 96) The Laws of God revealed to Moses and the Israelites on Mount Sinai are called the Ten Commandments. The Beatitudes (page 104) The teachings of Jesus that describe the people who are blessed by God we call the Beatitudes. The Great Commandment (page 96) The teaching of Jesus that tells us love of God and love of neighbor are inseparable is called the Great Commandment.

V-Z vocation (page 88) Vocation is a special call from God to live a life of holiness in a particular way.

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Catechist Guide

Catechists can take the opportunity to pray and reflect along with students, using the reflection questions and prayers designed uniquely for their needs.

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Catechist Guide The comprehensive catechist guide offers complete session plans for each of the three sections in the student book. Full session plans provides background, a simple three-part strategy for presenting the Scripture story, including activity suggestions.

A wealth of background and teaching tips and a complete wraparound plan help catechists introduce children to sacramental rituals and the Church’s liturgical year.

We Celebrate

Baptism

Anointing and White Robe

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Explain that there are two forms in baptizing: through immersion or through the pouring of water. Point out the usual way children are baptized in your parish.

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Explain that the person is baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit with three immersions or pouring of the water three times. The godparents are also present.

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Ask volunteers to read aloud the text on the page.

Then Joey watched as Father John anointed Claire on the top of her head with oil that is called Sacred Chrism. He explained that this is a sign that Claire now shares in Jesus’ mission in a special way. Father John then placed a white robe on Claire. The white garment shows that, through Baptism, Claire had put on Christ.

Lighted Candle Father asked Joey’s dad to light a candle for Claire from the Easter candle. Father John said, “Receive the light of Christ.” He prayed that the Santos would keep the flame of faith alive in Claire’s heart.

Conclusion of the Rite At the end of the Mass, Father John took Claire in his arms. He said, “This is Claire Santo, our newest member of the Catholic Church!” Everyone smiled and clapped. Claire’s Baptism was a great celebration for Joey’s family and the parish. Joey joined in the applause. He thought about how he could help Claire grow in faith. “I can be a good example to my sister,” he decided. “That’s what big brothers do! Based on the Rite of Baptism for One Child

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Have the children name ways Joey can be an example for Claire in living as a follower of Jesus.

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Time permitting, display examples of baptismal garments, baptismal candles, and other objects used during the rite.

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Conclude with prayer, asking God to fill the hearts of those present with love and faith. Petition God to help those preparing to become full members of the Catholic Church.

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Teaching Tip Initiation of the Baptized Child. Explain to those children, who have already been baptized yet not fully initiated into the Church, that they will be initiated into the Church. Depending on the practices of your parish, they will be confirmed and receive First Eucharist during either the same celebration or a separate one. It would be Key Concept most helpful to these children if you could give themGod clearreveals himself to us guidance on how they will profess their faith on the day and invites us to faith. of their initiation.

Discover

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Have the children silently read the first paragraph. Ask volunteers to identify how God reveals himself to us.

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As you present the second paragraph, emphasize that faith involves both God’s invitation and our response.

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Discuss what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God.

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Ask: “How are we called to cooperate with God’s plan?” Brainstorm with the class examples of knowing, loving and serving God.

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Reinforce

A comprehensive plan for each lesson provides background and teaching tips, an easy-to-use wraparound session plan, and ideas for extending the lessons.

Working in pairs, have the children read the Catholics Believe box. Ask them to identify examples in creation that demonstrate that God is Almighty.

Connect Have partners work together to complete the activity by discussing each photograph. Ask volunteers to share their responses.

Our Father’s Loving Plan Every Sunday at Mass, Catholics profess faith in God the Father, Almighty. When we say that God is Almighty we mean that he has the power to do everything and anything good.

God loves us so much that he has revealed himself to us. God is the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We call God’s making himself known to us Divine Revelation. God the Father reveals himself and his loving plan of Creation and Salvation in the Bible. God the Father most fully reveals himself to us in his only Son, Jesus Christ. We can never fully know God or the mystery of his love. However, God gives us a wonderful gift to help us believe in all that he has revealed. This gift and power is called faith. This gift of faith is also a loving invitation from God. God invites us to believe in him and to live as Jesus taught. We learn about Jesus’ teachings from the Church, especially in the Bible. God helps us to grow in friendship with him. Because God created us in his image and likeness, we can think, love, and care for others. This is how we share God’s goodness in the world. We can be loving, gentle, merciful, patient, and understanding because God is always with us. We call the gift of God’s life and loving presence grace. God’s loving plan is that all people will live with him forever. We can cooperate with God to carry out his plan by knowing, loving, and serving him.

Catholics Believe

God loves us so much that himself to us. God is the Holy Father, God the Son, and God t We call God’s making himself Revelation. God the Father rev loving plan of Creation and Sa God the Father most fully reve his only Son, Jesus Christ. We can never fully know G his love. However, God gives us help us believe in all that he h gift and power is called faith. T also a loving invitation from G believe in him and to live as Je Activity Look at the pictures on this page. Then talk with a partner. How is about Jesus’ teachings from th faith expressed in the pictures? in the Bible. God helps us to grow in fri 32 Because God created us in his im we can think, love, and care fo we share God’s goodnes Human Methodologies We can be loving, gentle and understanding beca Learning through Human Experience. The National with us. We call the gift o Directory for Catechesis (NDC) teaches that “Human loving presence grace. experiences provide the sensible signs that lead the person, God’s loving plan is by the grace of the Holy Spirit, to a better understanding of the truths of the faith” (NDC 29A). As you discuss Divine that all people will live Revelation, ask the children to identify ways in which others with him forever. We get to know them and ways in which they get to know their can cooperate with friends and relatives. Relate these experiences to the Father’sGod to carry out his desire to share his goodness and love with us, and the manyplan by knowing, ways he helps us come to know him. loving, and serving him. Every Sunday at Mass, Catholics profess faith in God the Father, Almighty. When we say that God is Almighty we mean that he has the power to do everything and anything good.

Activity 46

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Our Father’s Lovi

(Student page 32)

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Look at the pictures on this page. Then talk with a partner. How is faith expressed in the pictures?


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Top Copy Here Online Support

Online Support for You, Your Catechists, and Families! RCL Benziger continues its promise of quality faith formation by offering engaging online support for catechetical leaders, catechists, and students. Our Catholic Heritage online resources include: u Catechetical background articles and resources for DREs and catechists u Classroom activity pages for Level I and Level II u Ideas for classroom prayers u Family session outlines to help you prepare parents to provide faith formation at home

Be sure to log onto BeMyDisciples.com today to check out these online features.

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Our Catholic Heritage, Program Overview