Editor’s note: I’m very pleased to share this wonderful article, originally written by Deanna Bartalini for NewEvangelizers.com. As we near the start of the Year of Faith, I want to thank Deanna for helping our families to prepare. LMH
Activity to Introduce the Year of Faith
The following is an outline of a presentation I have planned for our faith formation “Family Faith and Fun” day to introduce the Year of Faith. If you are working only with children, then omit the adult discussion parts and invite parents to come early for pick-up and have the children reenact the Parable for parents.
1. Open with the video and song “I Lift my Hands” by Chris Tomlin. (A rough copy is here. Leave a comment if you’d like a better timed version)
Families will be seated at tables, 2 families to a table.
2. Leader: Begin with the question, What is faith? Use quote from Hebrews and St. Augustine to begin the discussion.
“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence* of things not seen. Heb 11:1
Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, do not seek to understand so that you may believe, but believe so that you may understand. —St. Augustine
Why is faith necessary? Why do you need your faith?
3. While adults and teens are answering those questions, elementary and middle school will work on putting on the Parable of the Sower.
Have available the flowing items:
- brown plastic tablecloths or fabric
- sowers costume-hat, bag
- cardboard sun cut out
- something to represent seeds
- cotton balls maybe or felt circles
- something soft so when it is thrown on the ground “kids” they don’t get hurt
- small boat or raft
- mustard seeds, dirt, small clay pots
- newspaper to cover tables
- permanent markers
- stickers to decorate pots
Divide up the following roles among the children
- Jesus, sower
- rich soil
Make a path with brown plastic; place the kids in order along the path. Make a sea for Jesus to sit near and get a boat to put in the sea. Have the people listening stand along the shore.
4 Begin Parable.
Narrator: On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
Jesus: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
Narrator: The Explanation of the Parable of the Sower.
Jesus: “Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”
Narrator: The Parable of the Mustard Seed. He proposed another parable to them.
Jesus: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’”
5. Review parable with the whole group.
6. Have families work together to answer the following questions and make up a family action plan. (Ideas at the end)
What kind of soil are you now, what kind of soil would you like to be and how can you get there?
7. Decorate pots and plant the seeds.
8. Clean up.
9. Closing prayer.
Other song ideas: Give Us faith , Lord by Dan Schutte; Profession of Faith by Tom Booth; Day by Day, Godspell; You are the Way by Steve Angrisano;
Family Action Plan: Ways to increase our Faith (leave a comment if you’d like a printable version of this)
- Say grace before meals
- Read the upcoming Sunday Gospel during the week
- Pray a decade of the rosary before bed
- Go to confession
- Gather up and donate outgrown clothes and toys
- Read about the saints
- Learn a new prayer
- Pick a patron saint based on your name or interests
- Pick a virtue to work on each month as a family (kindness, patience, justice, humility, diligence (hardworking), charity, love, self-control, gentleness, peace, generosity, joy, faithfulness)
- Have a family movie night and watch one of these: Prince of Egypt, The Mission, Scarlet and the Black, Song of Bernadette, The Sound of Music, Chronicles of Narnia, The Passion of Christ, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell
- Make cards and send them to family members
- Bring flowers to an elderly neighbor
Deanna Bartalini is the Director of Faith Formation at St. Edward Catholic Church in Palm Beach, FL. She has a degree in Pastoral Administration from Loyola University New Orleans and is now being formed into a deacon’s wife. Deanna loves all things Catholic and can also be found writing on her blog, Notlukewarm, pinning on Pinterest, and chatting on Facebook.
Copyright © 2012, Deanna Bartalini