I would like to thank reader and Catholic school teacher Pat who kindly shared a wonderful PDF of a placemat she has designed to help her students remember and pray for those not physically present at a meal, either due to death or distance. Pat shares the following:
I teach middle school religion and science at Good Shepherd Catholic School in Santa Cruz, California. Many of our kids are from divorced homes and several have experienced the death of a loved one, even a parent, in the past year. I told my students about a group of friends of mine who met for dinner every two months or so, until one of them died from cancer. The next time we met, we asked the waiter to leave a place setting for our friend who passed away as a reminder to us that she is with us always. So, in trying to make connections between the comfort of All Saints Day and a potentially painful Thanksgiving I recently came up with this place mat to use for Thanksgiving dinner. My students and I had a great discussion about the many reasons that people may not be at our table, from death, distance or estrangement, and how it affects the other people in the family. It’s too late for Thanksgiving, but it may also be helpful for Christmas or any family celebration. My family intends to use it at every family gathering this year.
I thank Pat for sharing this – if you have a craft idea to share, please send it over and we’ll make it available to the many priests, religious, teachers and families who visit CatholicMom.com for religious education resources.