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It’s been a few weeks since the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. The experience of amazing ritual prayer and liturgy—in multiple languages and cultural traditions—done with reverence, grace, and beauty; insights from top-level presenters; and the overall experience still have a positive resonance. (O.K., I’ll be honest—the very act of getting away from a brutally cold Chicago-area winter to the balmy warmth of California had something to do with that!)
The DreamWorks film, Rise of the Guardians, presents the legendary figures of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman as the protectors of the innocence, hopes, and dreams of children. In one important scene, the Easter Bunny explains to Jack Frost, the newest guardian, the meaning of Easter. “Easter is new beginnings, new life,” he says. “Easter’s about hope.”
And really, it is.
Our goal during the Easter season is to remind our children of this. Easter isn’t only the season of colored eggs, chocolate bunnies, and jelly beans; it is a season to rejoice in the Resurrection of Christ and new life and hope for all of us. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for bringing the season into the classroom.
We pursue our daily relationship with the Lord through various forms of private prayer. The liturgy of the Church unites us in corporate prayer. The liturgical celebrations of Holy Week, perhaps more than any others, can remind us of the richness available to us when we gather to pray and worship in communion with one another.
When we gather for Mass we believe that our souls and voices are raised together in prayer with those of the whole Communion of Saints and the angels in heaven. The Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy declares that the assembled people of God are one aspect of the four-fold manifestation of Christ’s presence (#7). Together with the priest, the Word of God, and the Eucharist, we incarnate Christ in the Mass. Our presence in the worshipping community becomes the vessel through which God pours sacramental grace.
Following are suggestions for using videos from Arts & Faith: Holy Week with the young adults of your parish. Invite your group to deepen their experience of Holy Week through reflection and discussion of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday.
Every DRE has his or her own approach to ministry. In my parish, our faith formation philosophy is to meet people where they are. I know it’s a pretty simple idea, but when we think about the variety of people from so many different backgrounds who come together in the Church, it is important to remember that the same approach won’t work for everyone.
This attitude can prove to be especially important when working with the Rite of Christian Initiation candidates and catechumens and the diverse faith experiences and upbringings they bring to an RCIA group. Here are three general guidelines for working with the RCIA.
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