Curriculum Connections for High School Teachers and Students
months Links for Learners will support high school
Christian lifestylessearching for and
living in the spirit of Jesus; spiritual development; community
Links for Discussion Group Leaders and Participants
for connections for use in programs outside the classroom,
Parish sacramental preparation programs and
CCD classes; young adult discussion programs; seasonal discussion
groups; RCIA programs.
Parents will also find this material useful
in initiating discussion around the dinner table, in home
study, at family activities.
Basic Terms in This Months Article
for the key words and terms below as you read the article.
Definitions or explanations can be researched from the article
itself or from the resource materials cited throughout the
Links for Learners. You can also find a list of terms on the
glossary page of AmericanCatholicYouth.org.
Communion of saints
Among St. Anthony's many attributes is his reputation for
helping Catholics find things. Countless Catholics have prayed
to him when they needed to locate misplaced car keys or a
lost $20 bill. I can't drive home without my car keys. My
teacher will be angry if I lost my homework. Where did I put
that other earring? A lost object carries a sense of immediacy,
even urgency, and evokes a prayer for help. St. Anthony,
help me find what I lost.
we stop to think for a few moments, however, we realize that
we also need help in getting a grasp on the intangible "things"
important to our lives. Where can I find the words to console
a friend who has just lost a parent? What do I say to a classmate
who is failing academically? Where do I look for strength
in time of temptation and weakness? Where do I go to find
Jesus? How do I build a relationship with him? Where can I
Consider turning to St.
Anthony for these needs. We can draw strength and inspiration
from his life. Perceived to be uneducated, Anthony was a humble,
simple friar who became a great
preacher and theologian. St. Anthony, help me find
the words I need to be a good friend and a good student.
But St. Anthony certainly is in good company if you're looking
for some saintly help. Do you have a patron saint, or have
you heard of the communion of saints? Patron saints are saints
to whom we feel a special connection. Perhaps you were named
after a particular saint, or he or she is the patron of the
issue you're struggling with. In addition to those saints,
many people rely on the communion of saints for help, which
includes loved ones who have died. We celebrate all of these
saints on All Saints' Day, November 1. For more information
on the communion of saints, read either "Communion
of Saints: Top Team of All Time" or "How
Halloween Can Be Redeemed."
Encouraged by Popular Culture
Is not the whole world searching for something, for values,
for a sense of belonging, for meaning? But where are we looking
Discuss what we see on television. Specifically, look at
enormously popular entertainment shows like Survivor,
Boot Camp and Weakest
Link. What do we see as the prevailing theme? We see
individuals vying for a financial prize, participants who
will do and say anything to win. We see the "weakest link"
berated and discarded from the team. We see fellow players
voted out of the group. In The Mole, individuals lie
about who they are. On Real World, participants are
encouraged to complain on air about one another, even though
the show appears to encourage communal living. Temptation
Island expects couples to be unfaithful to one another
as the show's producers throw them into alluring situations.
does not count in this kind of environment. Supporting one
another is a losing behavior. Fidelity to commitment counts
for nothing. And, unfortunately, we see people become instant
celebrities for this kind of behavior.
difficult to avoid being influenced by this culture. We can
find ourselves belittling friends and classmates. We isolate
those perceived to be "losers." We resort to lying to parents
or cheating on exams. To make it even worse, don't we find
it easy to berate our own selves? We start an argument with
a parent. We let down a friend. We don't follow through on
a commitment to a committee or club we joined. And, consciously
or otherwise, we take it out on ourselves through sulking
in our room, dropping out of activities, avoiding friends,
distracting ourselves with noise.
In contrast, look at the behavior of the early Christians
described in the New Testament's Acts
of the Apostles. "The community of believers were of
one heart and one mind. None of them ever claimed anything
as his own; rather, everything was held in common. With
power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the
One striking element in St. Anthony's life, as with the
early Christians, was the community life that supported
and nourished him. When just 15 years old, he moved apart
from his family to join the Augustinian religious order,
where he prayed and lived together in cloister with fellow
believers. Eleven years later, Franciscan
life attracted him to move even more deeply into Christian
community. Even the possibility of martyrdom did not
deter Anthony. If anything, it inspired him. And although
he did not die a martyr, he lived every day preaching the
love of Jesus to anyone who would listen.
Anthony's life journey offers a model for us. Indeed, why
not view Anthony as a patron saint of teenagers? He was
perceived by many to be simple and uneducated. What finally
drew people's attention was his passion for the gospel message,
his willingness to step forward and preach, his humility.
Aren't many teens viewed by adults as uneducated in life's
ways, as naïve, as not worthy of anyone's attention? Yet
teens seethe with energy. Teens will passionately support
what they believe in. Teens are tireless in backing a worthy
cause. St. Anthony, help me find my way.
And just as Anthony grew to maturity in community environments,
so can teens grow through their high school years by developing
in community among friends, classmates and parish life.
Here are a few examples and suggestions to consider:
In a Christian community the weakest link is the one Jesus
loves the most. The Gospels are full of stories of Jesus
taking notice of the sick, the alienated, the outcasts of
society. St. Anthony, help us as teenagers to find our way
every day. Help us find the confidence and courage to care
for those in need.