As Catholics, we pray in many ways. We learn to pray from the example and words of Jesus. Urged by the Holy Spirit, we pray these basic forms of prayer: blessing, petition, intercession, praise, and thanksgiving. When we thank God in prayer, we call these prayers of thanksgiving. Use the Catholic Thanksgiving Prayer Service in this article to encourage children in your religious education class, parish, or home to express gratitude for their many blessings. Download available in English and Spanish.
Thanksgiving Prayer Service for Catholic Schools or Parish Programs
The Thanksgiving Prayer Service brings together children of all ages come to remember that all good things come from God. This prayer service guides children to think about and thank God for the wonderful lives they have as they pray with grateful hearts. It begins with an opening prayer and a reading from Scripture and includes a multi-age activity that combines art and prayer. The product of this prayer service is a mural of a tree with leaves that are student prayers of thanksgiving, representing the gratitude of all the children in the religious education program. This prayer service is ideal for a Catholic school or a parish religious education program in which many children are enrolled, but it can also be adapted on a smaller scale for use in the home or individual classroom.
Before you begin the Catholic Thanksgiving Prayer Service you will need to gather simple materials. Each participating child will need one colored paper leaf for the prayer service. Pre-cut leaves (or use a die cut machine if available) of autumn colors. Consider designating a single color to each grade or group of students for a more colorful end result. As an alternative to pre-cutting the leaves, have individual religious education classes prepare their leaves in advance, designing and cutting out the shapes to then be used during the prayer service. You’ll also need to design the trunk and (bare) limbs of a tree that the leaves will be affixed to in the gathering space.