As the school year comes to a close in early summer, vacation Bible schools, camps, and other parish summer programs are a wonderful opportunity to continue catechesis in the summer months. Sadlier’s K-8 catechetical program, (We Believe Catholic Identity Edition for grades K-6 and We Live Our Faith for grades K-8), can be implemented using a summer model for summer catechesis. In this model, condensed sessions allow children and catechists to come together for twelve sessions in which children learn, pray, share, celebrate, and live out their faith.
Interested in trying a summer model for We Believe Catholic Identity Edition or We Live Our Faith program? Download a sample session to preview and explore.
To include retreats to strengthen Catholic Identity in the summer sessions, use the Summer Model Supplement. It includes three sessions for each grade level to incorporate a Catholic Identity Retreat. If time allows, you could plan a fourth retreat or substitute the fourth retreat to complement any theme or focus you might have.
In addition to formal summer catechesis, the summer season often offers some unstructured time for busy families who have hectic schedules and more commitments during other seasons. Provide families with some inspiration for sharing faith together this summer. Opportunities for prayer and activities to be enjoyed by all family members encourage families to pause, reflect, connect, and share in God’s love.
Provide families with some inspiration for sharing faith together this summer. Opportunities for prayer and activities to be enjoyed by all family members encourage families to pause, reflect, connect, and share in God’s love.
RESOURCE 1: GOD'S LOVING SHADE AND PROTECTION PRAYER SERVICE
Invite families to imagine God’s love like an umbrella this summer: like the beach umbrella that provides shade while they are together at the beach or pool, sheltering them as they enjoy the summer sun, or the umbrella that protects them from a sudden summer thunderstorm.
The God’s Loving Shade and Protection Prayer Service invites participants to reflect on the ways that God’s love protects and shelters. This prayer service includes Scripture, an activity, and reflection, and an optional prop of real umbrellas to bring the activity to life.
To support prayer during the summer months, share this Family Prayers Prayer Card with the families in your religious education program. This simple resource encourages families to embrace everyday opportunities to pray with children, offering the text for five traditional prayers that can be prayed together daily.
A perfect resource for making time for family prayer during the summer months, this resource is available in English and Spanish.
To support prayer during the summer months, share this Family Prayers Prayer Card with the families in your religious education program.
RESOURCE 3: A PRAYER OF SUMMER JOY
For an additional summer prayer for individuals or families, download the Prayer of Summer Joy from Sadlier’s We Believe and Share Blog to enhance joy in the summer season.
RESOURCE 4: JESUS, THE CENTER OF OUR LIVES SUNFLOWER ACTIVITY
In summer, sunflower fields abound in many parts of the country. At the center of the sunflower is the head. The seeds are contained there and the petals surround it. In the Jesus, the Center of Our Lives Sunflower Activity, an image of a sunflower is used to represent God at the center of our lives.
This activity can be completed at home during the summer months to remind families to put God first. Download and print the activity sheet to distribute to families, or direct families to download and read the instructions that follow.
How it works...
What does it mean to put God first, and how can we communicate the goal of keeping Jesus at the center of our lives to our children? When Jesus was asked "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?,” he replied "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.” (Matthew 22:36–38) As Catholics, we are called to put God at the center of our lives.
God loves all people and wants all people to love God, others, and themselves. Explain to children that God should be the most important one in their lives. As a family, discuss ways to keep Jesus at the center of your life. Examples may include taking time for individual or family prayer, or using the words and ways that Jesus taught us. Children may also name ways that they can act like Jesus or share stories about Jesus’ life and teachings with others. If you wish you could provide situational examples for the children to reflect and comment on as examples or to encourage discussion.
After time for conversation, work together on the activity sheet. Using a sheet of yellow or brown construction paper, a half sheet of green construction paper and a craft stick, glue the activity sheet to the yellow or brown construction paper, color the flowers, and then cut it out. Help children glue or tape the flower to craft sticks and make construction paper leaves. Display the flower in a prominent place at home. Every time you see the flower, remember that Jesus is the center of your lives.