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June 1, 2020 REL Asset - Activity, REL Catechetical - K–6, REL Catechetical - Jr High, REL Topic - Catechesis, REL Topic- Saints

June Feast Days– Catholic Saints to Celebrate with Children

Feast Days are a great opportunity to introduce students to Catholic saints. In this article, you’ll discover short biographies and free printable activities that can be used to celebrate popular saint feast days in June! Whether at home or in the classroom, these resources will help children celebrate the June feast days of Saint Charles Lwanga, Saint Columba, Saint Thomas More, Saint Peter the Apostle, and Venerable Pierre Toussaint.

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Printable Activities to Celebrate Saint Feast Days in June

In every month of the year, Catholics celebrate the saints. Feast days are an opportunity to remember and be inspired by the lives of the saints, who are examples of holiness for us today. Read and share these short biographies of some saints whose feast days are celebrated during the month of June. Catechists can share the simple printable activities that follow with their students to complete, or families can complete the activities together. Learning about and celebrating the lives of the saints is a great way for families to share and grow in their Catholic faith any and every day of the year.

Download a free Catholic Saints with June Feast Days Resource Kit! This kit bundles all the resources featured below for you to print and use at home or in the classroom. 

June Feast Days - Popular Saints for Kids to Celebrate in June

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Saint Charles Lwanga

On June 3, the Church celebrates the Feast day of Saint Charles Lwanga.

Download a printable activity to share with Catholic kids on the feast day of Saint Charles Lwanga. Available in English and Spanish.

Saint Feast Days in June – St Charles Lwanga

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The Life of St Charles Lwagana

St Charles Lwanga was born in the year 1865, and he grew up in Uganda, Africa. During his childhood years, traders from Egypt and other countries arrived in Uganda, threatening the old way of life for the people who lived there. These traders brought new industries and new ideas about agriculture and manufacturing. Missionaries also arrived from Europe to teach the people of Uganda about Jesus..

When Charles was a boy, some priests came to his village to teach the people about the Christian faith. Charles became a Christian.

Unlike Charles, the king of Uganda did not understand what Christianity was about. He became afraid that his people would start to worship Jesus instead of him. The king also became very angry because a Christian told him that he was not living his life as Jesus would want him to.

Saint Charles Lwanga is an example of how we can be courageous in our faith as we share it with others.

Charles went to work for the king. He was considered the strongest athlete and the most handsome man in the kingdom. He was placed in charge of the young men who also served the king. Charles was a wonderful leader. He taught these young men about the Christian faith. Each day he encouraged and inspired these boys and even protected them from the evil acts of the king. 

The king became very angry when he discovered that Charles and his friends were studying about Jesus and demanded that they stop. When they refused, the king had them put to death. Charles and twenty-two young men from Uganda were all killed because they would not give up their faith in Jesus. Charles died on June 3, 1886.

Pope Paul VI, on his African tour in 1969, said in reference to St Charles Lwanga and his companions, "Being a Christian is a fine thing but not always an easy one." Saint Charles Lwanga is an example of how we can be courageous in our faith as we share it with others.

Saint Columba

The Feast day of Saint Columba is celebrated by the Church on June 9.

Columba was an Irish missionary who helped to re-introduce Christianity to Scotland and Northern England. Columba is one of the patron saints of Ireland, along with Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid. Download and share a printable activity for Catholic kids to celebrate the feast day of Saint Columba.

Saint Feast Days in June - Saint Columba Activity and life story for kids

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The Life of St Columba 

Saint Columba was born December 7, 521. Thanks to the work of Saint Patrick and other missionaries in the sixth century, Christianity was spreading rapidly in Ireland.

Columba’s parents were both descended from Irish kings. As a boy, he loved books and learning, and especially loved reading the psalms. His first teacher was a priest. He became a monk when he was a young man and spent the next several years teaching and preaching in Ireland. By the time he was 25, he had founded over two dozen monasteries.

At this time, monasteries were not only houses of prayer, but also centers of art, literature and education. Monks lived in dome-shaped cells made of rock and lived simple lives of solitude. Many monks were scribes, whose job it was to copy books or manuscripts by hand. Since printing presses and computers were not yet invented, this was the only way to make copies of books. The monks added beautiful illustrations to the pages. These works are called “illuminated manuscripts.” The monks copied the Bible, as well as works in Greek, Latin, and Irish folk tales. One famous illuminated manuscript, the Book of Kells, was most likely started at the monastery of Iona, which was founded by Columba. This manuscript has been preserved and is on display in Dublin, Ireland!

"Alone with none but Thee, my God, I journey on my way. What need I fear when Thou art near, Oh King of night and day? More safe am I within Thy hand than if a host did round me stand." - Saint Columba

Even though he loved Ireland, St Columba set off in 563 to the island of Iona, located off the coast of Scotland, with twelve companions. They established a community in which they spent their days in prayer, work, and preaching the Gospel. Columba was a good sailor, and he made many missionary voyages. He traveled by boat to the islands around Iona as well as to the mainland of Scotland and England where he founded several small churches.

In addition to being a preacher and illustrator of manuscripts, Columba was also a talented poet. He celebrated the beauty of nature in his poems. "Alone with none but Thee, my God, I journey on my way. What need I fear when Thou art near, Oh King of night and day? More safe am I within Thy hand than if a host did round me stand." Saint Columba praised God in the wonders of nature and recognized the blessings that are given to us each day.

As St Columba got older and was unable to travel, he spent much more of his time writing and copying manuscripts. It is said that he was personally responsible for copying over three hundred books. He died on June 9 in the year 597.

Saint Thomas More

June 22 is the feast day of Saint Thomas More.

Download a printable activity for Catholic kids to mark St Thomas More feast day and reflect on how we can remain strong, supporting each other by our words and deeds, like this great saint. 

Saint Feast Days in June – Saint Thomas More

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The Life of St Thomas More

Saint Thomas More who was born February 7, 1478, in the country of England.

Thomas’ father was a lawyer, and he hoped that his son would follow him in this profession. From a young age, Thomas was known for his intelligence and wit. But Thomas was interested in and excelled at many things in addition to law, including literature, philosophy, music, and languages. His father worried that Thomas might not become a lawyer since he had so many different paths open to him.

For a long time, Thomas himself considered another profession: the priesthood. He felt drawn in particular to the peace and solitude of the monastery. As much as he admired this way of life, he realized it was not what God was calling him to do. He began to practice law. He got married and had a large family.

Thomas had a gift for friendship. His respect and good opinion were valued by many of the most brilliant and most powerful men in England. Thomas was asked to serve in the government and, as Lord Chancellor, became a close advisor to King Henry VIII. In his own words, Thomas considered himself, “the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”

 

King Henry admired Thomas and respected his judgment, but Henry was a notoriously strong-willed and stubborn monarch. King Henry’s wife, Queen Katherine, had never given birth to a son, so Henry decided his marriage should be invalid and he should be free to remarry. He applied for permission to the pope in Rome, but his request was denied. Henry was furious, and he decided to go forward with his decision despite the pope’s denial.

Saint Thomas More followed his conscience even though it meant that he had to give up a successful career and close friendships. He refused to submit to pressure from others to go against what he knew was right.

Because Thomas could not support the king’s decision, he resigned from government. This decision ended both his career and his friendship with the king. Without his salary, Thomas’s family was reduced to poverty. However, Thomas was confident that he had followed his conscience, and was even able to joke that he was happy to have more time to read his beloved books!

King Henry VIII went further and declared himself head of the Church in England. He commanded that all of his subjects publicly swear to follow his authority instead of the pope. Although Thomas had never openly opposed the king and no longer served in the government, he was called in to take the oath. When he refused, he was arrested and charged with treason.

Throughout his imprisonment, Thomas never spoke harshly of the king, nor did he complain about the suffering he endured in prison. His cell was damp and cold. He did not have enough to eat. He was forbidden to keep any books or writing materials. He drew strength from prayer and contemplation. Many of his friends and family members urged him to take the oath to end his suffering, but he refused. Thomas was in prison for 15 months, and at his trial, it was clear that those months had weakened his body but not his spirit. Thomas still refused to go against his conscience and take the oath. He was convicted of treason on the false testimony of a former friend.

Thomas was killed on July 6, 1535. On the day he was executed, Thomas comforted one of his friends by promising his prayers and a joyful reunion in heaven.Saint Thomas More followed his conscience even though it meant that he had to give up a successful career and close friendships. He refused to submit to pressure from others to go against what he knew was right.

Saint Peter the Apostle

On June 29 the Church celebrates the Feast day of Saint Peter the Apostle.

Inspire Catholic kids with the story of St Peter the Apostle and share a printable activity. Available in English and Spanish. 

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The Life of St Peter

We know about Saint Peter from the Gospel accounts in Scripture. Saint Peter, named Simon at birth, was a fisherman from the village of Bethsaida in Galilee. Peter and his brother Andrew were fishermen before Jesus called them to follow him.

Fishing was a common profession on the Sea of Galilee. Fish from this region was considered a delicacy throughout the Roman Empire. Fishing was hard work. Fishermen had to know where to fish and the best method for catching fish. Fisherman had to be strong to sail their boats and haul in their catch. The most common way of fishing was using nets made of flax. Fishermen had to know how to make and repair their nets. They also had to be good businessmen to sell their fish for the best price. Fishermen also had to salt and dry their fish, so they could be preserved and shipped for market.

Like most Jewish boys, Peter would have been taught about the history and customs of his people. He would have learned about Scripture, and the promise that God had made to send a Savior.

One day as the Peter and Andrew were mending their fishing nets, Jesus called out to the brothers. Jesus said, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). Both brothers left their nets to become disciples of Jesus.

Peter was present during the major events of Jesus’ ministry. One of the earliest miracles recorded in the Gospels was the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law. Also, Peter helped collect the leftover loaves and fish after Jesus fed the crowds. He witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus, in which he saw Jesus glorified. He took a leadership role among the disciples, sometimes speaking for all of them when questioned by Jesus. He was impulsive, making decisions very quickly. Peter was not an educated man, and he often doubted his own judgment. His faith in Jesus began as a response to the extraordinary events he had witnessed.

After Jesus rose from the dead, Peter was one of the first to see him alive. Peter’s given name was Simon, but Jesus gave him the name "Peter." The name means "rock." Jesus entrusted Peter with a very special task. He appointed him the leader of the Church. Jesus said, "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18). 

Peter received the Holy Spirit with the other disciples at Pentecost. The gifts of the Holy Spirit enabled him to carry out the mission of Jesus to witness to the Gospel. He encouraged the early Christians to spread the Gospel message to people of all nations.

Peter bravely accepted suffering for the sake of Christ as well. He was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. When he was released, he continued his mission. Then he went to Rome to preach the Gospel there. When a persecution of Christians broke out, Peter was arrested and killed.

Emperor Constantine gave Christians greater freedom of religion, and a great church was built over the grave of Saint Peter. Today, the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican stands on that same spot.

Saint Peter was not perfect. He made mistakes, but he
learned from them. Peter listened to Jesus and
learned that Jesus’ message was God loves us and
wants us to love him and others.

Venerable Pierre Toussaint

On June 30, the Church celebrate the Feast day of of Venerable Pierre Toussaint. 

Pierre Toussaint inspires us to look past differences in order to see every person as a child of God. Download a printable activity for children and use it to mark the feast day of Venerable Pierre Toussaint. Available in English and Spanish.

Saint Feast Days in June - Venerable Pierre Toussaint

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The Life of Venerable Pierre Toussaint

Venerable Pierre Toussaint was born into slavery on the island of Haiti, a French colony in the spring of 1766.

Unlike many slaves, Pierre was taught to read and write. His master, Jean Berard, noticed Pierre's interest in learning and allowed him access to the family's extensive library. The Berards were Catholics, so Pierre was baptized and educated in the faith as well. 

The harsh treatment of slaves in Haiti was beginning to cause violent conflict between the slaves and their masters. Sensing the growing danger, Monsieur Berard moved his family to New York City. Pierre and his sister were among the slaves who accompanied the family.

Once in New York, Pierre was apprenticed to a hairdresser. The fashion in women's hairstyles was very elaborate at the time, and women spent large sums of money to have hairdressers come to their houses. It was soon apparent that Pierre had a talent for this trade. Some of the wealthiest and most influential families of the city became his clients.

Pierre’s days began early. He attended 6 o’clock Mass every morning of the week. He then had to walk to his appointments because he was not allowed to ride on the street cars. He gained the courage to face racial discrimination through prayer and devotion to the Eucharist. The example of Christ inspired Pierre to show kindness despite the injustices he suffered. He was well-read and knowledgeable about many subjects. He refused to listen to or pass on gossip, which encouraged many of his clients to confide in him and seek his advice. 

Pierre wanted everyone to experience the love of God through his kindness.

Tragedy soon struck the Berard family. Slave revolts in Haiti brought terrible destruction and bloodshed. Monsieur Berard returned to the island to check on the family's plantation. He found the plantation destroyed, and he soon fell sick and died. Madame Berard was devastated by the loss of her husband and was now also penniless in a foreign country. Pierre assumed responsibility for the entire household. His business was successful, but he used most of his income to provide for Madame Berard. 

Pierre wanted everyone to experience the love of God through his kindness. In addition to caring for Madame Berard, Pierre was involved in charitable work throughout the city. Despite discrimination, Pierre did not discriminate when caring for others. He helped to open the first Catholic orphanage in New York City, opened schools for African-Americans, and raised money to buy the freedom of slaves. He cared for the sick and comforted their families during an outbreak of fever.

Just before Madame Berard died, she gave Pierre his freedom. He married Juliette Noel, a former slave whose freedom he had bought. Juliette shared Pierre's generosity and desire to help others. They had no children of their own but raised Pierre's niece Euphemia. 

Pierre Toussaint died at the age of 87 on June 30, 1853.

Pope John Paul II said of Pierre: "He radiated a most serene and joyful faith, nourished daily by the Eucharist and visits to the Blessed Sacrament. In the face of constant, painful discrimination he understood, as few have understood, the meaning of the words, 'Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.' No treasure is as uplifting and transforming as the light of faith." 

In Summary

Teaching children about saints provides inspiring examples of discipleship and models for living out their faith. Children in your religious education program can use the activities in this article at home or in the classroom to celebrate saint feast days in June!

 

 

 

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Popular Saints for Kids

Looking for more resources about popular saints for kids? Let Catholic kids and their families be inspired by these and other Catholic saints any time of year!