Session 6: The Paschal Mystery

The Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection.

Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

-Luke 9:23 

Some parents find that discussing the Paschal Mystery with young children can be overwhelming, especially the Passion portion. The Paschal Mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we celebrate every Easter is the heart of our Catholic Faith. It is both a significant foundation of our Faith that needs to be taught but it also involves a very violent act that can be very upsetting for our littlest ones to learn. Where do we begin? That is up to you and your understanding of your child and their maturity for the subject matter. The key here is that the catechism of your children is a life long process. With the Church Year being cyclical we have multiple opportunities to teach the faith to our children. In our home we always discuss the Paschal Mystery every Lenten season, and especially during the Paschal Triduum. Since Jesus rose from the dead as he said he would do we know that everything else he spoke about must be true. He is the Son of God. He spoke of this mystery saying “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)

On there is a good episode of the Brother Francis series that would be good for the children to watch. He is Risen! The Power of the Resurrection is a 30 minute cartoon as described in Formed: “Join Brother Francis as he celebrates the power and splendor of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in this moving and instructive animated presentation! An animated presentation of key points in the life of Jesus Christ, His Death on the Cross, triumph over death, and Ascension to the Father 
A visual representation of how we celebrate Holy Week and the Easter Triduum 
“He Is Risen!”—a joyful, visualized song that fills our hearts with praise to God 
Steeped in Scripture and instruction, Brother Francis: He Is Risen! is a wonderful reminder of the reality of God’s power and presence!”

The final days of Jesus’ life began with a Passover Seder meal. The Pasach (Passover) is a seven day Jewish festival that commemorates the release of the Hebrew people from Egyptian slavery. It was at the First Passover when the Lord passed over the homes of the Israelites while striking down the firstborn of Egyptians. The Israelites were instructed to smear the blood of a lamb on their doorposts to signify their belief in the one true God. The sacrificing of an innocent lamb became the means of their salvation and their deliverance from captivity in Egypt. (Jesus became our paschal lamb) At the Seder meal the Passover story is read from a haggadah telling of the Hebrew People’s journey to freedom. Traditional and symbolic foods are eaten to remember the Jewish people and their adversity. A Seder plate is the central focus of this meal. The foods displayed on the Seder plate are used to retell the Passover story. During the Seder the Leader will begin by reading the story and during specific times the family will be instructed to take sips of wine and bites of food from their plates. From our Bible we see how Jesus, taking the Leader role, took guidance from the Passover meal to leave us with a New Covenant. At the meal He took bread and declared it was his body given for us. Then he took wine and said it was his blood poured out for forgiveness of sin. In this Last Supper, Jesus offered himself to God the Father for us.

We can learn from Jesus? We are taught through the Paschal Mystery that new life can come from death, that we can find meaning in tough times, that there really is light in the darkness. Life has this rhythm of dying and rising and that God is with us in good times and in bad.  Think about your own life. What is a dying or rising that you have experienced today, this week, this year?

Vocabulary words to discuss with your child: Passover (7 day Jewish festival that commemorates the release of the Hebrew people from Egyptian slavery), Paschal Mystery (The mystery of Jesus’ suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension.), Paschal Triduum (three days of prayer at the end of Lent: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday where we recall and pray about the saving acts of Jesus.)

Prayer of the Week: Hail Mary

Saint of the Week: November 3rd is the Feast Day of St. Martin de Porres, also called the “Father of all”. He was such an interesting, humble, and kind hearted Saint. He is known to be the patron saint of social justice, people of mixed race, those facing discrimination, public health workers, barbers, and innkeepers. An interesting tidbit: He and Saint Rose of Lima were friends, she was canonized 1671. He was canonized May 6, 1962. He was a vegetarian and like St. Francis of Assisi had a devotion for caring for animals particularly the sick and injured. Having personal experience of being raised without a father he knew the importance of family and was a life long champion for orphaned children. He was highly supportive of work as service. St. Martin de Porres always said that chores were like little acts of love for God as these chores were service to others. To print out a Holy Card: To learn more about St. Martin de Porres you can read his story booklet that includes some craft ideas.

Monthly Assessments should be completed this week. Please take the link to the assessment for your child’s grade section to complete online.

October Assessments grades K-2:

October Assessments grades 3-5:

October Assessments grades 6-8:

Homework First Year Sacramental Prep: Read from the St. Joseph First Communion Catechism:  Lesson 7, pages 30-33 using the pictures to show the effects of the crucifixion. Point out the people in the bottom of the picture and show how happy they are that the gates of heaven are now open! Show your child a crucifix.  Let them hold it and have them tell you what they see and how it makes them feel. From the craft packet complete the Stained glass cross project

Homework Second Year Sacramental Prep: Read from the St. Joseph First Communion Catechism:  Lesson 7, pages 30-33 using the pictures to show the effects of the crucifixion. Complete Spirit of Truth (page 34) This page will be handed in at the end of the month. You will need to read Genesis 2:5-9 and 15-17 to your child for this assignment. Practice the Sign of the Cross, the Angel of God prayer, the Glory Be, the Hail Mary, and the 10 Commandments and an Act of Contrition.

Homework Years 3-6th Grades: Read from The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism: Lesson 8, pages 53-55, #90-95. With your child, review slides 5-9 to teach the lesson of redemption. Practice the Sign of the Cross, the Angel of God prayer, the Glory Be, the Hail Mary, and the 10 Commandments and an Act of Contrition. Complete the Mosaic Cross activity:

Activity Ideas:

Color your own Seder Plate and discuss the Passover story.

The Catholic Icing website has a printable Resurrection set that can be an option for the kids to work on. Disclaimer: you have to become a subscriber to get the B&W version and you will need to pay $3 for the color version.

Here is a link to an activity sheet for the older children about the Paschal Mystery. The children will simply read the Bible verses and fill out the sheet.

With All Saints’ Day (a Holy day of Obligation) approaching on November 1 there are a few ideas we have to share. There are many ideas on Catholic Icing for celebrating at home. Or try a Saint Scavenger hunt.

Make a Saint-o-lantern out of a pumpkin. Carve or glue on your favorite Saint’s adornments. Creativity is up to you! Here is a blog post at Catholic Cuisine with some ideas other people have done.

We also suggest looking at this post about the truth of Halloween written by Katherine Bogner, a director of religious education in Illinois. There are some printable sheets to color and read about Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls Day.

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