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How do I celebrate a great year with the kids?

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By Susan Kay

I want my students to understand the Easter season and Pentecost. There's so little time to do justice to these feasts. Any suggestions?
During the liturgies of Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost, we hear and experience the central story of our faith. Awe, wonder, drama, and beauty fill these exquisite events. We are overwhelmed anew by God's unconditional love for us. Filled with loving gratitude for the saving actions of Jesus Christ, we rediscover the power our baptism and confirmation confer upon us that we might participate in the mission of the gospel. With Mary Magdalene we each say, "I have seen the Lord!" Being present at these liturgies is one of the best and most meaningful ways to teach about these great feasts.

Encourage your students and those who are responsible for their care to be part of these joyous occasions. Youngsters have a right to participate. If they can't come with family, perhaps you could ask your DRE to help you invite and gather them. Prepare a reserved area up front so you can sit together. Bells, music, singing, colors, fragrances, textiles, flowers, stories, water, bread, and wine-all the goodness of the Earth brings heaven closer at the table of the Lord. Here we taste and see the extravagance of God and can sing from the heart:

Alleluia!

Christ is risen! Christ is truly risen!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

***

This year as a catechist was wonderful. How do the children and I keep the good we shared?

Prepare a final prayer service
A final class prayer service is a good transitional setting. Read and reflect on Philippians 1:3-8. Tell the class how wonderful this year was for you. Thank them for being members of the Church, for teaching you the importance of the Church community, and helping you learn more about your faith. Invite them to say what was especially good, what they will remember, and for what they are thankful.

Give a remembrance
Inexpensive holy cards make nice remembrances. (Find them online or at your local religious goods store.)

On the card write (for example):

"To: Mary Jones

Happy summer! With prayers, Mrs. Jane Smith, Your fifth grade catechist. Immaculate Conception Parish, Lowell, MA May 13, 2012"

They might keep the card forever!

Email or snail mail
Send a postcard or note to the parents/guardians of each child. Say how happy you are to have had "Mary" in your class. Thank them for their commitment to their child's education. Wish them a happy summer and invite them to stay in touch. Congratulations and thank you, life-blood of the Church! Now, rest. That's what God did!

Therefore: Laugh. Read. Sit in the sunshine. Laugh. Take walks. Pray in front of beautiful things: flowers, birds, children, sunsets, sunrises, and starshine. And then laugh some more.

See you in September!

Susan Kay

Susan Kay is assistant director of religious education and catechetical leadership for the Archdiocese of Boston.

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