Bishop Amat Memorial High School

Family Faith Formation

 Family Faith Formation March-Lent

Instructions: Students complete Part I of your Monthly Faith Formation Assignment as usual.  This is Part II.  Read this page with a parent or guardian.  In the section for Part II write your answers and your parent’s answers to the reflection questions.  Assignments are due by the date set by your religion teacher.

 

The following is a list of 20 Activities for Families during Lent.  For your Family Faith Formation Assignment, select one activity to complete with your family.

 

Reflection Questions:

A. If your selected activity was a Family Faith Reflection Question (odd numbers), write your answers to the questions in Part II or your assignment. 

 

B. If you selected an activity (even numbers), answer the following questions in Part II of your assignment: 1) What did your family do?  2) What was the result? 3)How did your family feel about the activity?

 

Family Lenten Activities 1-20 (21-40 coming in April)

  1. Family Faith Reflection Question: What is God calling you to do in your life right now? Does he want you to change something? Does he want you to begin to do something (for example: praying more)?
  2. Pick out one item each week of Lent to give away. It might be something to donate to charity. Perhaps it is something someone has always admired and you would like for them to have it.
  3. Family Faith Reflection Question: Why is forgiveness sometimes difficult? How do you forgive others? If there is someone in the family who you need to apologize to or forgive, perhaps this is a good time to do that.
  4. Think of a family friend or a member of your extended family who is on their own, or going through a hard time; as a family put together a care package for the person with letters or cards from each member of your family.
  5. Family Faith Reflection Question: What is your favorite saying or event from the Bible? Why is it significant to you?
  6. As a family dedicate one day as a fast from cell phones. Agree on a day when you will only use your phone in absolute necessity.
  7. Family Faith Reflection Question: When you were a child how did you imagine God? How do you think of Him now?
  8. Do one hour of service together as a family, whether at a charity or by helping out someone you know.
  9. Family Faith Reflection Question: Who has taught you about faith?  What is the most important lesson that you have learned from that person?
  10. During the day each person in the family should notice a stranger who is in need of prayers (a homeless person, an overwhelmed parent, a lonely classmate…). That evening each member of the family should share about the person. As a family say a prayer for each person you noticed.
  11. Family Faith Reflection Question: How has God blessed you? How can you share those blessings with others?
  12. As a family pick a random Scripture passage and discuss it.
  13. Family Faith Reflection Question: For Parents: Who was the most inspirational adult in your life when you were younger? For Children: What values have you learned from adults?
  14. If you are able, when you do your weekly family shopping pick up two of your non-perishable items and donate the extras to a food pantry.
  15. Family Faith Reflection Question: For Parents: How have your children made you proud? For Children: Of all the things that your parents have given you, for what are you most grateful?
  16. Pick a night of the week and do family affirmations. If you prefer you can write out the affirmations.
  17. Family Faith Reflection Question: Who is your favorite Saint and why? http://www.catholic.org/saints/stindex.php
  18. As a family pray together one of the Lenten Prayer Services found on Praying Lent http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/Lent/
  19. Family Faith Reflection Question: If you could ask God three questions and receive a direct answer, what would you ask Him and why?
  20. 40 Acts of Kindness Challenge: Between all the members of your family see if you can complete 40 acts of kindness in one week. Every night each member should add the acts of kindness that he/she accomplished that day to a family list.
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Family Faith Formation February-

The Joy of Love

Instructions: Students complete Part I of your Monthly Faith Formation Assignment as usual.  This is Part II.  Read this page with a parent or guardian.  In the section for Part II write your answers and your parent’s answers to the reflection questions.  Assignments are due by the date set by your religion teacher.

 

Prayer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading

Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis

85. The Church is called to cooperate with parents through suitable pastoral initiatives, assisting them in the fulfillment of their educational mission. She must always do this by helping them to appreciate their proper role and to realize that by their reception of the sacrament of marriage they become ministers of their children’s education. In educating them, they build up the Church, and in so doing, they accept a Godgiven vocation.

 

86. ...Within the family ‘which could be called a domestic church’ (Lumen Gentium, 11), individuals enter upon an ecclesial experience of communion among persons, which reflects, through grace, the mystery of the Holy Trinity. ‘Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous – even repeated – forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1657)”.

 

88. The experience of love in families is a perennial source of strength for the life of the Church. “The unitive end of marriage is a constant summons to make this love grow and deepen. Through their union in love, the couple experiences the beauty of fatherhood and motherhood, and shares plans, trials, expectations and concerns; they learn care for one another and mutual forgiveness. In this love, they celebrate their happy moments and support each other in the difficult passages of their life together… The beauty of this mutual, gratuitous gift, the joy which comes from a life that is born and the loving care of all family members – from toddlers to seniors – are just a few of the fruits which make the response to the vocation of the family unique and irreplaceable”, both for the Church and for society as a whole.

 

Reflection Questions

1. Which quote from Amoria Laetitia stood out to you and why?

2. How do you think your family can help others?

 

Family Faith Formation January -Baptism

Instructions: Students complete Part I of your Monthly Faith Formation Assignment as usual.  This is Part II.  Read this page with a parent or guardian.  In the section for Part II write your answers and your parent’s answers to the reflection questions.  Assignments are due by the date set by your religion teacher.

 

Introduction

In January as a Church we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, so this month we reflect on the meaning of our own baptism.  Of course, as Christ was without sin his baptism was not one or repentance or purification, rather it was a moment that marked the beginning of his ministry that led to our redemption.  Nonetheless we have something in common with the baptism of Christ; at the moment of our baptism we too were called beloved by the Father.  Like Christ our baptism leads us to ministry: the ministry of being a parent, the ministry of our work, the ministry of a spouse, in short the ministry of a beloved son or daughter of God. 

 

Prayer for the Month

Here is a prayer to one’s own Patron Saint – the saint after which you were named at the time of Baptism.
Saint ………. (Say the Name of your Saint), at baptism, my parents gave me that name which was also yours. You are my companion and heavenly protector. You have borne this name honorably before God and men.

May your example teach me to do the will of God, to be faithful to Christ, to go my way with the attitude and conduct of a committed Christian so that I may one day share with you the rewarding joy of having followed Christ faithfully. Amen

 

Spiritual Exercise

Each week renew your baptismal promises in private prayer or as a family. After renewing your promises review your week and reflect on the question: How have I lived out or failed to live out my baptismal promises? (the following is a reflective renewal of baptismal promises from Creighton University)

Do you reject sin,
so as to live in the freedom of God's children?

I do.

Lord, all I want to do is live in the freedom you offer me.
I want to reject the unloving choices I have made,
and the sinful failures to love anywhere in my life.
I reject all injustice, all violence, all that disrespects the dignity of all human life

Do you reject the glamour of evil,
and refuse to be mastered by sin?

I do.

Lord, I admit that some evil has a hold on me:
it is attractive, it has such powerful rewards,
it has become a habitual way for me to be myself.
Lord, I renew my commitment this day to turn from that evil
and from letting any disordered attachment,
any empty promises master me, and try to separate me from you.
By this promise, I commit myself to greater courage in acting justly
and refusing to let unjust systems and structures numb my conscience or dull my heart.

Do you reject Satan,
father of sin and prince of darkness?

I do.

Lord, as I renew my the promises that accompany my becoming one with you
in the baptism of dying to sin and rising to life,
I know that an Enemy tries to tempt me to sin and to many dark patterns,
I now promise to you, and to my sisters and brothers
who depend upon my fidelity, that I  renew my commitment
to reject that Enemy, and all his ways of subverting
your reign and the coming of your kingdom.

Do you believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth?

I do.

Lord, you made me and give me life every day. I believe in you, I turn to you,
and I place my life, and the graces I need each day,
in your loving hands.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ,
his only Son, our Lord,
who was born of the Virgin Mary,
was crucified, died, and was buried,
rose from the dead,
and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?

I do.

Jesus, my Lord and Savior, my life is in your hands.
I believe in you, I turn to you,
I commit myself to growing closer to you,
placing myself with you, in love - compassionate, self-sacrificing love - for others.


Do you believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting?

I do.

Holy Spirit of Jesus, Jesus promised not to leave us orphans.
I so desire to be enkindled with the fire of your love,
that I might be renewed in courage.
I believe in and renew my commitment to
your work among us.
I want to contribute to the unity that you desire for us.
I promise to be as merciful, for I have known your mercy.
And I pledge to live my life each day on this earth,
full of faith in the resurrection Jesus gained for me.

January Reflection Questions

1. How do you think we can fight evil in the world?

2. How can Christians live out their baptismal promises each day?

3. If you are baptized, ask your parents why they had you baptized.

 

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Family Faith Formation December-Advent

 

We do not have an academic assignment for the Month of December, but we wanted to provide your family with some resources for celebrating Advent and Christmas as a family.  This time of year is so busy, that it is easy to forget the true focus of this truly Sacred Season.  It is our hope that these suggestions might help our students and their families prepare for the Coming of Christ into our lives.

 

Prayer

You may wish to set aside some specific time for family prayer.  Even just a brief time of prayer together can be helpful to families.  You may wish to use this prayer:

 

Loving God, during this Season of Advent we ask your blessings on us.  May Mary’s openness to your wondrous deeds inspire us to put all trust in you.   May Joseph’s courage provide hope for us during times of uncertainty and anxiety.  May Jesus’ life ignite in us a spirit of true love for one another.  May the grace that encircles the Holy Family widen to include all of us through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  (adapted from Sadlier Publishing)

 

 

 Advent Calendar

As a family you could create a calendar for the month of December filled with:  acts of kindness, spiritual activities, service activities, prayers...anything you wish to do as individuals or as a family.

 

Secret Saints

Have your family pick names like you would for a Secret Santa gift exchange; but instead of gifts each person will commit to praying and doing acts of kindness for the person selected.

 

 

The 12 Days of Christmas

Every year an article or news story appears discussing the post holiday blues.  As a society we tend to build up to Christmas, only to have a one or two day celebration before the Valentine candy hits the shelves.  It is no wonder there is a let down. But in truth the liturgical Season of Christmas lasts until the Baptism of the Lord and, as popularized by the song, it was a tradition to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas.  Here are some suggestions for celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas (that does not involve geese and golden rings):

 

Day 1 12/25 Christmas Day.  Wait until Christmas Day to put out a new decoration or enjoy a favorite Christmas food.  Start a new tradition or revisit an old one.



Day 2 12/26 The Feast of St. Stephen is known as Boxing Day in Canada and the UK.  It was traditionally the day when people gave to those in need (as we hear in the carol Good King Wenceslaus).  Today is a good day to box up some items to donate or visit those after Christmas sales in order to buy fundamentals (like socks) for the homeless.  



Day 3 12/27 The Feast of St. John, the youngest of the Apostles was steadfast in his faith. Today we make a spiritual resolution for the coming new year, so that we can grow in our faith life.



Day 4 12/28 The Holy Innocents marks the death of the children killed by Herod in his pursuit of Baby Jesus.  Today we pray for all children, especially those in life threatening situations. Perhaps we can make a donation to an organization that helps children.

 

Day 5 12/29 St. Thomas  Becket was persecuted for his faith.  This day we pray for all of those who are persecuted today’s world because of their faith and we thank God for our own religious freedom.

 

Day 6 12/30 The Feast of the Holy Family is a day to celebrate all families.  Today we can spend time together as a family or perhaps contact a family member we haven’t seen for a while.  No matter the struggles…the situations…the size…all families are holy because God created them.

 

Day 7 12/31 St. Sylvester I was one of our longest reigning popes.  He was known for his humility and would wash the feet of those visiting Rome.  Today let us practice the virtue of humility by looking for those who need our help.  Perhaps all we can do is offer a silent prayer for the person, but that is a great gift in of itself.

 

Day 8 1/1 Mary the Mother of God.  Today as the Church celebrates the Motherhood of Mary, we can celebrate a mother that we know; simple acts of kindness go a long way.  Today is also a good day to say a decade of the rosary together with our family.

 

Day 9 1/2 St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazarian were two saints who taught about the Trinity; they were also good friends.  Today we can connect with a friend we haven’t seen in a while, or let our friends know their importance in our lives.

 

Day 10 1/3 In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist points to Jesus as the Lamb of God.  Today we strive to recognize Christ in other people.  It is a good day for us to practice a random act of kindness for a stranger. 

 

Day 11 1/4 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was a founding mother of Catholic Education in the U.S.  Please take the time today to pray for the staff, faculty and administration at our Catholic Schools.  If a teacher has made a difference in our life, we can let them know today.

 

Day 12 1/5 Epiphany is traditionally celebrated on Jan. 6 (in the U.S. it is celebrated on Jan. 8 this year)  and it is when we celebrate the coming of the Magi.  Today is often known as Little Christmas Eve.  As we return to normal schedules, it is a fitting time for us to have a favorite dinner and give little presents to one another with the resolve to continue living the Christmas spirit.

 

May your family's celebration of Advent and Christmas be filled with the hope, peace, love and joy that only Christ can bring to the world!

 

 

Family Faith Formation November-Saints

Instructions: Students complete Part I of your Monthly Faith Formation Assignment as usual.  This is Part II.  Read this page with a parent or guardian.  In the section for Part II write your answers and your parent’s answers to the reflection questions.  Assignments are due by the date set by your religion teacher.

 

Introduction:

November is a turning point month.  The weather normally takes a turn towards cooler weather.  The holiday season begins with its many gatherings and preparations.  And votes are cast marking turning points for our country.  The church too looks at the month of November as a month of transformation.  Our church year will end during this month and a new year begins with the First Sunday of Advent.  And as a church we focus on the most significant turning point of all: we remember those who have gone from this life marked with the sign of faith.  We remember those souls famous and ordinary who have become citizens of heaven and have reached the ultimate goal of every Christian.  This is the month the Church sits aside for us to remember, to reflect and to learn from the Saints and saints who have entered the Kingdom of God.  Perhaps one of the greatest treasures of our faith is our belief in the Communion of Saints.  We are not alone in our faith journey; we have our community on earth and we have the prayers of those who rejoice in the presence of Christ in heaven. 

 

A Reflection on Sainthood

“Since I have the chance now, there is something I very much want to say to you. I hope that among those of you listening to me today there are some of the future saints of the twenty-first century. What God wants most of all for each one of you is that you should become holy. He loves you much more than you could ever begin to imagine, and he wants the very best for you. And by far the best thing for you is to grow in holiness.

Perhaps some of you have never thought about this before. Perhaps some of you think being a saint is not for you. Let me explain what I mean. When we are young, we can usually think of people that we look up to, people we admire, people we want to be like. It could be someone we meet in our daily lives that we hold in great esteem. Or it could be someone famous. We live in a celebrity culture, and young people are often encouraged to model themselves on figures from the world of sport or entertainment. My question for you is this: what are the qualities you see in others that you would most like to have yourselves? What kind of person would you really like to be?

 

When I invite you to become saints, I am asking you not to be content with second best. I am asking you not to pursue one limited goal and ignore all the others. Having money makes it possible to be generous and to do good in the world, but on its own, it is not enough to make us happy. Being highly skilled in some activity or profession is good, but it will not satisfy us unless we aim for something greater still. It might make us famous, but it will not make us happy. Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look for it in the wrong places. The key to it is very simple – true happiness is to be found in God. We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts.

Not only does God love us with a depth and an intensity that we can scarcely begin to comprehend, but he invites us to respond to that love. You all know what it is like when you meet someone interesting and attractive, and you want to be that person’s friend. You always hope they will find you interesting and attractive, and want to be your friend.

 

God wants your friendship. And once you enter into friendship with God, everything in your life begins to change. As you come to know him better, you find you want to reflect something of his infinite goodness in your own life. You are attracted to the practice of virtue. You begin to see greed and selfishness and all the other sins for what they really are, destructive and dangerous tendencies that cause deep suffering and do great damage, and you want to avoid falling into that trap yourselves. You begin to feel compassion for people in difficulties and you are eager to do something to help them. You want to come to the aid of the poor and the hungry, you want to comfort the sorrowful, you want to be kind and generous. And once these things begin to matter to you, you are well on the way to becoming saints.

--Pope Benedict XVI
Greeting to Catholic Pupils of the United Kingdom
St Mary's College, Wickenham
17 September 2010

 

Discussion

1. Who is a person of faith that you admire?  Why do you admire that person?

2. Read together the address from Pope Emeritus Benedict about sainthood.  What stood out to you in that address? Why?

 

Family Faith Formation October-Prayer

Instructions: Students complete Part I of your Monthly Faith Formation Assignment as usual.  This is Part II.  Read this page with a parent or guardian.  In the section for Part II write your answers and your parent’s answers to the reflection questions.  Assignments are due by the date set by your religion teacher.

 

Introduction:

 

Prayer is both elusive and ever present in our lives.  At times it is difficult for us to find the right words to place before our God, other times we utter a prayer without even being aware that we are doing it.  At its simplest definition, prayer is a dialogue between us and God.  Perhaps for many of us the challenge of prayer is not speaking the words, for when we are without words we have a rich Catholic tradition of prayers to offer, but rather the challenge of prayer is truly hearing the answer or even noticing that a prayer has been answered.  Scripture tells of the prophet saying “Speak Lord your servant is listening” but it has been said that so often in our prayer life we say “Listen Lord, your servant is speaking.”  Expressing our needs, our hopes, and our hurts to God is an extremely important part of our relationship with God, equally as important is our need to listen for God’s often quiet response in our lives.  This dialogue allows for a deepening of our relationship with our ever present God.  As the author C.S. Lewis said:  “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me.”

 

Reflection Questions:

  1. How has God answered your prayers?
  2. What is your favorite way to pray?

Prayer for the Month:

 

I asked God for strength that I might achieve.

I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health that I might do greater things.

I was given infirmity that I might do better   things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy.

I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.

I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.

I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among all, most richly blessed.

Family Faith Formation September: Knowing God

Instructions: Students complete Part I of your Monthly Faith Formation Assignment.  This is Part II.  Read this page with a parent or guardian.  In the section for Part II write your answers and your parent’s answers to the reflection questions that are at the end of this section.  Assignments are due September 30 to your religion teacher.

 

Introduction:

Knowing God is a lifelong task.  It brings us joy, it nourishes our lives and it allows us to grow in our respective vocation.  It can also be a difficult task when we are faced with finding God during the difficulties of life and in life’s tragedies.  We often find God in the unexpected moments.

 

Faith Story:

Wishing to encourage her young son's progress on the piano, a mother took the small boy to a Paderewski concert.  After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her.  Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked "NO ADMITTANCE."

 

When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that her son was missing.  Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage.  In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."  At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy's ear, "Don't quit, keep playing." 

 

Then leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part.  Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obligatio.  Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience.  The audience was mesmerized.

 

That's the way it is with God.   What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy.  We try our best, but the results aren't exactly graceful flowing music.  But with the hand of the Master, our life's work truly can be beautiful.  Next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully.  You can hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, "Don't quit, keep playing."  Feel His loving arms around you.  Know that His strong hands are playing the concerto of your life.  Remember, God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called.  –Author Unknown

 

Scripture: 1 John 4: 7-12

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.

 

Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.

 

In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.

 

In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

 

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.

 

No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.

 

Tradition:

“I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER"

198 Our profession of faith begins with God, for God is the First and the Last,1 the beginning and the end of everything. The Credo begins with God the Father, for the Father is the first divine person of the Most Holy Trinity; our Creed begins with the creation of heaven and earth, for creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God's works.” 

-The Catechism of the Catholic Church

 

  1. “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 Jn 4:16). These words from the First Letter of John express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith: the Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny. In the same verse, Saint John also offers a kind of summary of the Christian life: “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us”. We have come to believe in God's love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”

 -DEUS CARITAS EST, POPE BENEDICT XVI

 

 

Prayer for the Month:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Amen.

 

Reflection Questions:

1. When have you felt closest to God? When has God seemed distant?
2. How do you see God’s presence in your family?

 
Ms. Nicole Pfiester
 Family Faith Formation Coordinator
Religion Department Chair
npfiester@bishopamat.org
Welcome to the Family Faith Formation Page!
 
Our goal is to provide resources for families, so that our students may connect their faith formation experiences at school with their home life.
 
Each month students will have a two part assignment in their religion classes.  
 
First, they will have the opportunity to discuss a topic that they have learned about in religion class with an adult member of their family.  
 
Secondly, each month we will provide a particular topic with a reflection activity that each student will complete with a parent/guardian.
 
In addition to these assignments we will also provide parents with faith formation resources and experiences when parents gather at the school for meetings.
 
If you have any suggestions or requests please email:
Ms. Nicole Pfiester
Family Faith Formation Coordinator 
Religion Department Chair