Communion of Saints - Classroom learning

Over the next month the students will be learning about the ‘Communion of Saints’

Year 1: In the classroom

Lesson Focus: Mary As a Church one of the ways we honour Mary, the greatest of the Saints, is as the Mother of Jesus. We reflect on how Mary’s holiness was magnified by her encounters with the holiness and power, the Tapu and Mana, of God.

As a family:

Take time to – make a special place at home with an image of Mary in it to use at family prayer time – read the Mary stories from a Children’s Bible at bedtime.

Plan to – leave a message of love under someone’s pillow – tell children a story about something your mother did to show you she loved you

Year 2: In the classroom

Lesson Focus: Saints and Inspiring People Those officially declared by the Church to be Saints because of their virtues, the holiness – tapu and mana of their lives, are now with God. They act as models for the members of the Church on earth, and are linked to them through prayer. The saintliness of ordinary people can also inspire others and lead them to God.

As a family:

Take time to– make a family “Saints’ Place” at home with books, pictures and statues of saints and use this as a focus for family prayer – talking about inspiring people you know or have read about.

Plan to – decide on a few simple things you can do which can help you to become saintly, eg * say something encouraging to each other everyday, * work hard at something you are not good at – buy a book about Saints for your family.

Year 3 and 4: In the classroom

Lesson Focus: Life, Death and Christian Hope Suffering and death are part of life. Catholic beliefs about the resurrection of the body and life after death provide meaning and a reason for hope. The rituals of Catholic funerals and tangi provide consolation for the bereaved. The Church encourages people to remember those who have died and to pray for them.

Lesson Focus: Choices Our life journey – Te Wa, is a journey towards God. The choices we make on that journey have significance in terms of our final destination, our life after death. Traditionally the Church has spoken of life after death in terms of heaven, hell and purgatory.

As a family:

Talk together about – what Christians believe about death, eg * in death, life is changed not ended, * people undergo Purgatory so they will be able to be with God in Heaven – how different cultures have differing burial rituals – how we should support and care for people who experience death in the family

- how life is a journey and how we can all help each other achieve our goals in life by sharing our gifts to help others and by encouragement. Emphasise that effort and persistence are always needed to achieve goals – how you achieved a goal and who helped you to do it.

Plan to  – include in family prayer prayers for people who have died

Year 5 and 6: In the classroom

Lesson Focus: Saints and Inspiring People Catholics believe in the Communion of Saints – the unity or community of all members of the Church, those now living, those who are with God in heaven, and those undergoing purification before entering into the fullness of life with God. The living may pray to the saints for their intercession, and for those in Purgatory. The living and the dead are all joined in praise of God.

Lesson Focus: Mary. From the New Testament we learn that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is a model of faith and discipleship. Catholics honour Mary as the Mother of God, Mother of the Church, and patroness of Aotearoa, New Zealand. This honour is expressed in various forms of devotion to Mary.

As a family:

Talk together– talk about how the Communion of Saints is the bond of friendship between all who have been baptised whether they are living or dead – make a family list of relations and friends who have died and keep it in a place which reminds you to pray for them, include photographs as well if you have them – tell your children stories of their relatives who have died and the good things they did while they were on earth.

Take time to – share ideas about Mary’s life on earth including the sort of person she was – find and discuss various images of Mary.

Pope Francis’  Monthly Intention for November

Christians in Asia

That Christians in Asia, bearing witness to the Gospel in word and deed, may promote dialogue, peace, and  mutual understanding, especially with those of other religions.

Teresa Rush