Many of you are gearing up for another year of CCD, and adding more faith teachings into your homeschool days in September. No matter what curriculum you use, attune your teaching to the Church’s unbeatable curriculum: the liturgical season, monthly devotions, feasts, liturgical colors and daily scripture readings.
September, the traditional start to the school year and the beginning of CCD classes, honors Mary, especially the Seven Sorrows of Mary. This article gives you ideas for starting your religious education year in sync with liturgical observances.
- No matter when your first day of CCD is, honor the Blessed Virgin’s birthday (Sept 8th). A white cake with blue frosting would be perfect.
- Have a blue table cloth for Mary, with white candles for her purity.
- Have a statue or icon of Mary, with white flowers next to it.
- Have Marian music playing. If you have a laptop projector, have this Mary Did You Know song playing, with the images projecting. Other songs: God Bless the Broken Road, Breath of Mary.
- to honor some of Our Lady’s apparitions. Use the decorations, food and activities, along with story excerpts, to reinforce learning with concrete symbols, foods and crafts.
Main activity: Consider making lapbooks to honor the Seven Sorrows of Mary, which the Church highlights as September’s monthly devotion. You can adapt the lessons in this post to apply to Mary’s Seven Sorrows: Creating lapbooks. Learn more about Mary’s Seven Sorrows.
Have a series of courses to your tea, where you focus on a different apparition of Our Lady. Below are some suggestions, but you can adapt the pattern of a reading, prayer and connecting activity through symbols, foods and activities to whatever you choose as your focus.
Our Lady of Fatima
Book to read (or excerpts in CCD class): Our Lady Came to Fatima.
Prayer to learn: Morning offering
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of your sacred heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all the apostles of prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.
A simpler version for younger children:
My God, I offer up to Thee
My soul and heart, Thine own to be;
And all I do or hear or say
And all my work and play.
Connecting food: A simple sugar-covered donut. Filhos are a type of Portuguese donut.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Prayer to learn: Ave Maria, My Lady of Roses
Ave Maria, My Lady of the Roses, Holy Mary of Guadalupe, I stand here humbly at thy feet. Make me a Juan Diego, unworthy though I be. Let me carry thy message far and near,
Let me show my love for thee. Ave Maria, My Lady of the Roses,
O Mother of the Americas, Loving Mother, please smile on me!
Loving Mother, please smile on me! Maria!
Connecting visual: Have roses at the table.
Connecting Food: You can simply have tortilla chips and salsa or bake these special sugar cookies, called Polvorones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup butter or margarine (softened)
Preheat oven to 325F. In a bowl mix together flour, sugar and cinnamon. In a large bowl cream butter using electric mixer. Gradually add flour and sugar mixture to the butter, a little at a time, beating after each addition. Using a teaspoon spoon dough onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake approximately 20 minutes or until baked through. During the last 5 minutes of baking sprinkle cookies with a little extra sugar and cinnamon. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
Our Lady of Lourdes
Book excerpts: St. Bernadette Sourbirous
Prayer to learn: Prayer to St. Bernadette in times of affliction
When I encounter affliction, teach me to see You in it as my sole Comforter. Let affliction strengthen my faith, fortify my hope, and purify my love. Grant me the grace to see Your Hand in my affliction, and to desire no other comforter but You. Amen.
Connecting activity: Pray a decade of the Rosary
Connecting food: Crepes with blueberries (blue for Mary) and whipped cream (white for purity).
You can pick one activity, or do several during the month of September.
Whatever way you honor Mary in September, your students and children will remember. They will remember the food, the activities, the colors and smells. They will grow in their connection to Mary and Jesus through your efforts.