Featured Resources: December 2021
From Sessions on Advent, to Nights on powerful figures like Archbishop Fulton Sheen and Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPA, we’ve carefully curated our content and highlighted some sessions we believe will be useful for your ministry this month!
Use these sessions on their own, or as a complement to our Equipped for Life sessions.
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November 28th – December 6th – Hanukkah – Be the Light of Christ Advent Prayer
This prayer service is for use during Advent as we immerse ourselves in anticipation of celebrating Christ’s birth while our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate the feast of Hanukkah. This session is intended for high school participants.
EXTENDED SESSION / INTERGENERATIONAL
Advent – 24 Hours of HOPE: An Advent Retreat
In this liturgical season of hope, this retreat challenges young people to discover a new sense of that word in their lives and our world through the practices of healing, observing, praying, and engaging themselves in change. This overnight retreat gives young people an opportunity to do the following:
- Spend some time away from the busyness of the secular Christmas season.
- Reflect on the Advent promise of Hope and how it pertains to their personal world and the greater world we share together.
- Build community and recognize that hope can be found in working toward a goal with others who share our values and vision.
December 16-24 – Las Posadas – Celebrations of Christmas, Journey of Hope
This session celebrates Christmas and addresses justice issues related to migration by introducing the cultural tradition of Posadas. This session is designed for high school youth, and can be done with a group of any size. This will also work extremely well as a multicultural, and/or an intergenerational gathering.
Advent – Advent Wordless Witness: Symbols and their Meaning
Participants will explore the season of Advent and learn about five feast days we celebrate as we prepare for the birth of Jesus. This session is designed for middle school youth and involves the use of social media as a way to extend the session.
December 8 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception: Devotions to the Blessed Mother
This session gives young adolescents an understanding of what the title “Immaculate Conception” means for Mary. Born free from sin and a faithful servant, Mary is the perfect saint. Participants work in small groups with the help of technology to research some of the official sanctioned sightings and messages of the Blessed Mother throughout history. The session ends with a prayer service to honor Mary.
December 12 – Our Lady of Guadalupe: A Mother and Missionary to the Americas
Participants will learn about the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the miraculous tilma of St. Juan Diego, and her relevance to their lives today. The activities are also aimed to increase participant’s appreciation for diversity in the Catholic faith experience. This session is designed for 9th-12th graders with groups from 8-60 participants.
December 25 – Incarnation: The Real Meaning of Christmas
This session helps middle school students understand the deepest meaning of Christmas. It teaches that Christmas is a Christian feast that celebrates the profound mystery of the Incarnation – God becoming human.
Advent – O Come, Emmanuel! Celebrating with the O Antiphons
Participants will explore the symbols and Scriptures from “O Come, O Come, Emanuel,” one of the most widely sung Advent hymns. In doing so, they will learn about the “O” Antiphons. This session is designed for 15-30 high school youth. It can also be done as a youth-and-parents session.
Advent – A Season for Justice and Peace: Advent
In this session, high school youth experience Advent as a time for reflection and change of heart by using the profound scripture readings of this season. They will see beyond the simple story of Jesus’ birth to the radical possibilities that his birth offers us today. Through the lens of justice, activities of prayer, art, and discussion, the participants will see the season of Advent as a perfect time to serve others, give generously, and make a difference.
December 9 – Archbishop Sheen’s Day of Death – A Saint Evangelizing through Media: Got the Message?
Participants will explore obstacles in deciphering God’s important messages and ways to improve our ability to listen. They will also learn about Archbishop Fulton Sheen from Peoria, Illinois who was a prolific speaker and writer using the latest popular media of his time. Finally, they will be empowered to be God’s messengers using their social media. This session is designed for high school youth and may be done with groups from 8 to 50 participants.
December 25 – Deck the Halls: It’s Time to Celebrate
This session is designed for high school youth to build community while celebrating the holidays. Through games, prayer, and the tradition of gift giving, young people will grow in their friendships while discovering that the holiday season is about being with those who are important to us. This session could be held either before Christmas or the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Christmas Season – The Doldrums: Self-Care Tips for the Christmas Season
This session encourages young people to understand the winter doldrums, their impact on people, and the importance of making a self-care plan for avoiding the “blues” during the holiday season. This session is designed for high school youth and can accommodate any size group.
December 29 – Sr. Thea’s Birthday – Loving Leadership: An Evening with Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPA
Using the life of Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPA, this session provides an engaging experience for high school participants to look at servant leadership through the eyes of a woman who overcame obstacles to become a leader in the Catholic faith. She did not divide people by color, but looked at all as children of God. This session uses contemporary music from gospel artists Kirk Franklin and Hezekiah Walker. It can be tailored to fit groups of various sizes.