A big bead Rosary that my two-year-old received for her baptism just might be her favorite fashion accessory. Wearing it and talking about it are about as far as we usually get with her, but there is no better time than October – the month dedicated to the Holy Rosary – for making a point of including even the youngest ones in increased Rosary recitations. A manageable place to start is with a single decade. Include the Holy Father's monthly prayer intentions and let children add their own. Make the words to the prayers accessible so everyone can follow along. Take due time with each mystery and think of the Rosary as 'the Bible on a string' (Fr. Ronan Murphy).
Here is a helpful resource: Ingredients for a Faith-Filled Classroom
October at a Glance (PDF)
Activity: Rosary Stories
This "dry erase" Rosary is perfect to send home for families or enlarge for classroom use. Comepraytherosary.org offers a multimedia resource that can be used alongside it. It might also be valuable to focus on one mystery at a time by introducing each one from picture books such as the following from Tomie dePaola: Book of Bible Stories; The Miracles of Jesus; The Parables of Jesus; Mary: The Mother of Jesus.
Dry Erase Rosary Template
Grade 6 & Up
Activity: "Stepping Rosary"
Take the Rosary outside with our "Stepping Rosary" instructions – a beautiful addition to any garden area. If it is not practical to make in your setting there are other ways to pray the Rosary outside. Try saying it on a nature walk or doing a "living Rosary" where individuals stand in place of beads and take turns saying the prayers down the line.
Lifelong Catechesis Corner
What material comfort is hardest for me to give up?
Activities online at the Lifelong Catechesis page.
Saint for October
October 28 – Sts. Simon and Jude (PDF)
Catholic Stewardship for Kids
Respect Life Month
October is Respect Life Month. Have children reflect on the theme: "Every Life is Worth Living." When praying the Rosary, keep all life, especially the unborn, in your prayers.
Behavioral problems can be frustrating, both for catechists and participants. Fortunately, there are effective methods for helping groups of children pay attention and work together. With a little fine tuning, even very difficult groups can become more manageable.
Sacred Scripture is always a good first place to look for guidance in difficult situations. Several passages can help set the tone for how we relate to the children with whom we work. For example, in St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians, it says, "Do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Eph 6:4). The First Letter of John says, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and [the one] who fears is not perfected in love" (1 Jn 4: 18). In other words, while children do need discipline, it should be carried out in such a way that it does not make them angry or resentful. It should be primarily positive, and not overly focused on punishment.
The General Directory for Catechesis (the Church's worldwide instruction book for how catechists should carry out their ministry) says, "May patience and trust abide in the spirituality of the catechist, since it is God himself who sows, gives growth, and brings to fruition the seed of his word, planted in good soil and tended with love" (no. 289). This passage can speak to our management of child behavior in a couple of different ways. We should be patient and trusting because the work of catechesis is not all up to us, and we can depend on God to do what we are unable to do. Additionally, we should be patient and trusting because of the importance of this work. The "definitive aim of catechesis," Pope Saint John Paul II wrote, is to put people "in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ" ( Catechesi Tradendae, no. 5). The parish catechetical atmosphere is often the child's first experience of the Christian community outside the family. What message do we wish to send them about who we are as Church?
There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to behavior management. The needs of each group, and indeed each child, can vary considerably. Thankfully, we are not alone in this awesome task. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God leads the catechist in sharing His love in ways that meet each participant's needs.
Questions for Reflection
What motivates me to do my best?
When I was a child, which adults did I respect the most, and why?
Excerpt from Catechist's Companion: How to Manage Behavior
Prayer to be Merciful to Others
Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful,
so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances,
but look for what is beautiful in my neighbors.
Help me, that my ears may be merciful,
so that I may give heed to my neighbors’ needs
and not be indifferent to them.
Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful,
so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor,
but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.
Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled
with good deeds, so that I may do only good for my
Help me, O Lord, that my feet may be merciful,
so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor,
overcoming my own fatigue and weariness.
My true rest is in the service of my neighbor.