Session 8: Why Do I Need the Church?

The Mystery of the Catholic Church

In Him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in Him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of His glory.

-Ephesians 1:13-14

Session 7 focused on the Birth of our Church, the Pentecost, this session we are going to focus on the Church as it grew and continues to grow. The Church is all the people of God, formed by God’s word and the holy Eucharist into the Body of Christ. It is everyone God gathers to be united with Him. (C.F. no. 752)

Who is the Church?

You are!

The Church is PEOPLE!

We become members by faith and by baptism. It began with Abraham when he called a people to be his own. God implemented the plan with the birth of Jesus. Jesus became our Savior and the Church became real. Access to the Kingdom of God became possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. As we have discussed from last time, Session 7, the Church became known publicly at the Pentecost.

I would present this material by first discussing the Catholic church hierarchy. Starting from the top and working our way down we have: Pope, Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests (Pastors), Deacons, Religious, Laity. The Pope and Bishops teach, sanctify, and govern. They represent the Shepherds of the Diocese and help make rules. Our Priests and Deacons are there to assist in the process. The Religious are men and women consecrated to God. They usually live in a community and follow their founder’s rule. (Ex: Our nearby Benedictine Sisters Monastery follows the Benedictine doctrines of devotion to daily prayer and service to others). The Laity are members who are not ordained or consecrated, these are the people like you and me. When we talk about the hierarchy within the Church the visual signs that are noticeable are the vestments. Activities for this include a paper cutout of Pope Francis and a vintage cutout of Father Peter and items found at Mass. (those items can be found below in the activities section) There are some Liturgical vestments activity sheets that name the pieces worn. To expand the concept of hierarchy I would have the children look at a map of Virginia and the number of Catholics located within the two dioceses, Arlington & Richmond, representing the state. Maps are fun! If you are curious to see how our state is divided into the dioceses see the Boundary map of Virginia: https://richmonddiocese.org/map-of-the-diocese/
Interesting stats: Virginia has an estimated state population of 8,535,519 based off of the July 1, 2019 US Census Bureau number. The current stats for each Diocese: Arlington Diocese has 453,577 registered Catholics and 3,293,453 people reside in the Arlington Diocese. Richmond Diocese has 259,971 registered Catholics and 5,242,066 people reside within the Richmond Diocese.  
To learn more about the history of the Arlington Diocese you can read from the Diocese’s website : https://www.arlingtondiocese.org/about-us/the-diocese/our-history/

For the older kids let’s look at the Four Marks of the Church

ONE: Just as the Trinity is one the Church is one through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. United by love, shared faith (and worship), and leaders taking the place of the Apostles to preserve this unity.

“Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”    

-John 17:11

HOLY: The Church is holy in several ways. Jesus is holy, we are one with Him called to grow in holiness, the Church’s goal is that we all may be holy.

CATHOLIC: This means universal. The Church is catholic because of Jesus’ promise for salvation through faith, sacraments, and our leaders. He was the missionary sent to preach the Gospel to all people (whole human race) for their salvation. Missionary mandate in Matthew 28:19-20

APOSTOLIC: The spiritual building built on the faith of the Apostles. The Church teaches what they taught led by bishops who are the successors of the Apostles. Everyone shares in the mission of the Apostles to spread the Kingdom of God.

I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands.”

-2 Timothy 1:6

Vocabulary words to discuss with your child (See slide 16) Apostasy – total repudiation of the Christian faith by someone who has been baptized. Heresy – persistent and deliberate denial of a doctrine of the Faith. Schism – refusal of unity with the Pope.

Prayer: Grace Before and After meals

Saints of the Week: St. Elizabeth of Hungary on November 17 and St. Cecilia on November 22. Here is a coloring sheet for St. Elizabeth of Hungary and the book Roses in the Snow a tale of St. Elizabeth of Hungary https://setonbooks.com/childrens-books/749-roses-in-the-snow-st-elizabeth-of-hungary.html is a good book to read. For St. Cecilia the website Real Life at Home has some great ideas.

Homework First Year Sacramental Prep: Do the Church craft provided for Week 8. Practice the Angel of God prayer and the Glory Be, Hail Mary, and Our Father.

Homework Second Year Sacramental Prep: Complete Spirit of Truth (pages 39-42) These pages will be handed in at the end of the month. Practice the Sign of the Cross, the Angel of God prayer, the Glory Be, the Hail Mary, the 10 Commandments and an Act of Contrition.

Homework Years 3-6th Grades: Read from The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism: Lesson 11 & 12, pages 71-74 & 77-78. Read the Bible passage John 15:1-8 when Jesus tells us, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” What does Jesus mean in these verses? What does He mean when a branch withers? How does this apply to you? Discuss the following with your child: Every member of a family has duties and responsibilities, a role to play.  What is our responsibility to our Church family? How can we share our time and talents (both gifts from God) with our Church family?

Activity Ideas: Read The Story of Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1-10. Talk with your child about how Christ came to help us sinners change our lives. Talk about how the Church is full of sinners, but He came to heal us through His Church.  Explain that the Church is holy because God is holy, not us! Watch God’s Story – Peter Denies Jesus with your child. Fill in the blanks and color The Apostles Creed. Cut out and color St. Peter’s Basilica and glue to cardstock or construction paper.  Then cut out and glue the Four Marks underneath.

Here is the link to the black and white carton label for the 1 Dozen Disciples craft using an egg carton. The website Bible Fun For Kids has some good ideas for the Apostles and more direct links for the craft in color.

Celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King this Sunday November 22, the last Sunday of Ordinary Time by making this printable crown with your children.

To help get ready for Advent which begins November 29 you can make a printable Advent calendar to hang up in your home.

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