Prayer and symbolism come together in one of the most familiar gestures of our faith: the Sign of the Cross. Its simplicity makes it accessible for even the youngest members of our Church; its power keeps it always significant. Mid-month, on September 14, we mark the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Use this time as an opportunity to renew students' understanding of the Sign of the Cross as a prayer unto itself rather than just a flourish to start and finish other prayers with. If it is not already, make the Sign of the Cross a part of your daily devotionals. A simple Sign of the Cross traced by thumb on the forehead of a child is a meaningful sending; having children sign themselves at the start of each class gets them centered. Blessings on your ministry in the new program/school year!
September at a Glance (PDF)
Activity: Sign of the Cross
Try this coloring page and activity to help young children learn the Sign of the Cross. Kids sometimes get confused about which shoulder to touch first (in the Latin Rite it is the left; in the Eastern Rites it is opposite). One trick is to teach them to "cross over first" when making the Sign of the Cross. This works when using the right hand in the Latin style.
Sign of the Cross (PDF)
Grade 6 & Up
Activity: Salvadoran Wooden Cross
Create Salvadoran Wooden Crosses to celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Talk about the Sign of the Cross and the importance of reverence while making the prayer. You can even incorporate math by drawing a bar graph that depicts preferences for how to hold the hand while making the Sign of the Cross.
Salvadoran Wooden Cross Craft
Lifelong Catechesis Corner
Think of some people in your life who have crosses to bear. How can you help?
Activities online at the Lifelong Catechesis page.
Saint for September
September 20 – Sts. Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang and Companions (PDF)
Catholic Stewardship for Kids
Host a book drive! As the new school year begins, have kids bring in books they have outgrown and donate them to a local school or community center in need.
The Catechetical Ministry: Ever Ancient, Ever New
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)
Catechesis is closely connected to the process of evangelization, the act of sharing one's faith with another, drawing others to Christ through personal witness and interaction. By virtue of our baptism, each of us is called to evangelize. Evangelization is sharing the good news of the love of God for us in Christ though the Holy Spirit. Catechesis is a ministry that results from that impulse to evangelize.
You join those who have responded to the promptings of the Holy Spirit (and the perhaps persistent "call" from your parish's catechetical leader) and have accepted the invitation to be a catechist. You will help the children you catechize to learn what we believe, and to develop the desire and ability to apply their faith to their daily lives, guiding and inspiring them to live faithfully now and in the future.
As you partner with your children's parents in helping them to be formed as Christian young men and women, you will have the support of your parish's catechetical leader and will benefit by teaming with other catechists in your parish. We never stop growing as catechists, just as we never stop growing as Christians! Because the Gospel must be applied to the circumstances of life, the ways in which we bring the Gospel to life for those we catechize will always develop and come to life in prayer, study, careful planning, and adaptation.
Excerpt from Catechist's Companion: Tips for New Catechists
Gracious and loving God,
Thank you for the privilege of teaching others about you!
Open our minds and our hearts to your presence with and among us this day and every day.
Teach us to see the world as you see it;
Give us the strength to live as your people, wisdom to know your truth,
Courage to live as witnesses to your love , and hope that through your presence in our lives we will find the grace to live your Gospel, your good news, in our world.
This we ask through our Savior and Greatest Teacher, Jesus Christ. Amen