spring Just as the seasons are shifting in March, so too is the Church year. On Ash Wednesday we begin Lent — a time to "return to [the Lord] with your whole heart" (Joel 2:12). Children may have already begun to observe signs of spring in nature; guide them to also recognize the changes this month in our liturgy. They may notice the return of the color purple as is used during Advent to symbolize penance. Talk about the Lenten practices of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer or as the US Bishops describe them: giving up, taking up, and lifting up. Blessings to you as you use this month's TCK to inspire in your homes, parishes, and classrooms.

Fun feature!

March at a Glance (PDF)

Grades K-5

Activity: Pretzels

Pretzels have been part of Lent since early Christian times. Give new meaning to their familiar shape as you snack on them during Lent.

Lenten Pretzels (PDF)

Quick Links

Fun Feature

Grades K-5

Grade 6 & Up

Lifelong Catechesis Corner

Catholic Stewardship for Kids

Saint of the Month

Catechist Know-How

Prayer

Grade 6 & Up

Activity: Prayer Service

Hold a prayer service for Lent such as the one included. Then distribute small crosses cut from burlap that kids can attach to their clothes or backpack with a safety pin. Explain that early Christians wore clothes made out of similar material — sackcloth —- during Lent. Encourage students to wear the cross as a personal reminder throughout Lent.

Our Lenten Journey (PDF)

Lifelong Catechesis Corner

First Sunday of Lent

Reflect on your relationship with Jesus. In what areas do I need his help to change?
Activities online at the Lifelong Catechesis page.

Catholic Stewardship for Kids

Rain and melting snow often carry garbage along with them. Refresh the earth by picking up trash in your neighborhoods and parish/school grounds.

Saint for March

March 17 – St. Patrick (PDF)

Catechist Know-How

It's All about Relationship
by Mary Lou Rosien

One of my RCIA Candidates looked deeply disturbed one evening at class. I held him after and asked if he was okay... turned out there were some difficulties in his personal life he was struggling with. I helped him set up a meeting with our priest, gave him some resources, and offered my prayers and support. It was at that moment it became clear to me; teaching the Faith is not just about the lessons, it is about the relationship.

My husband is a convert to the Catholic Faith. He is very well catechized, but most of the teachings of the Faith he studied on his own. He doesn't remember that much about his RCIA program. He does, however, remember how much everyone welcomed him and seemed to genuinely care about him.

I am not saying, or implying, that correct catechism is not important, it is, but it is the obvious function of Faith Formation. Community and relationship is the less obvious and equally important role of Catechists.

Jesus modeled this for us in the story of the woman at the well. He sat beside her and chatted. He told her truth, called her out on the mistakes in her life, but in a kind, loving, and friendly way. Can you imagine if He had sat down beside her and yelled at her for her life choices? Would she have been drawn to Him or to His Teachings? She may have walked away, feeling embarrassed and rejected instead of desiring the water of eternal life.

That begs the question, "How do we create relationship with those we teach?"

Pay Attention
I tell my children that loving a person means becoming an expert on them. This requires close observation of each of those we teach. Are they shifting in their seats? Looking engaged? Are they distracted when they are usually paying attention? Look at the non-verbal cues to see if they need some additional support, time, or teaching.

Pray for Them
I try to spend a little time in Adoration for my students every week. Prayer builds relationship and builds up the community (The Body) of Christ.

Plan some Fun
I will sometimes bring in games, food, or a movie to break the monotony and increase the sense of family/community within the class.

Share your Faith Journey
Sometimes, when we teach the Faith for years and years, it becomes second nature and we forget that we have a story to share too. Disclosing some of those stories can help your students see you as a person who has struggled and learned in your faith. It can help your students see you as a part of their journey, not just the teacher. God Bless.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for the gift of Jesus. We love him so much.
Be with us as we begin this season of Lent. Help us to grow closer to you in all we say and do.
Amen.

Bless children by tracing a cross on their forehead and saying, "My our dear Lord Jesus bless you, (name of the child) during Lent."

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