The end of summer is setting in, and the “back to school” advertisements are making their inevitable debut. School and parish religious education programs are about to get underway if they have not already begun. As leaders, catechists, children, and families gather together again or for the very first time, planning an event that brings together all of the participants in your program will set the tone for a new year of religious education. The Beginning the School Year Prayer Serviceis wonderful resource to help leaders plan an effective “back to religious education” gathering.
The Beginning the School Year Prayer Serviceincludes a Scripture reading, traditional prayer, and the option for music and song. It also includes a special blessing of the Religion texts that the students will learn from and be inspired by throughout the year. The Scripture reading and Prayers of the Faithful allow for the participation of readers, who can be catechists or students. At the very end of the prayer service, a fitting sign of peace is shared among all program participants.
The Beginning the School Year Prayer Service is flexible and simple. It is designed so that a catechist can use it with a single class or a leader with an entire program. You may even wish to invite the parish priest to welcome and address the participants during the prayer service. In any instance, the prayer service will place your students and your year in the presence of God.
If you are looking for more resources to kick-start your program, you may like an exclusive eBook offering helpful tips to first time catechists as they embark on their first year of teaching religion education classes, or an eBook offering suggestions to prepare Parish Catechetical Leaders for a new year of religious education. For a little inspiration from a former Catholic School Teacher, discover the What I Learned as a Catholic School Teacher post on Sadlier’s We Believe and Share Blog. (And you may want to use these colorful name tags featuring the Six Tasks of Catechesis for this Beginning the School Year Prayer Serviceor other events at the start of your program!)
What are some ways you plan to kick off your religious education program for the year? We would love to hear about the events and resources that work best for you as you begin a new year of religious education.