Faith formation ideas for Thanksgiving and Advent


November is liturgically and spiritually a power-packed month. It begins with our remembrance of saints and souls, moves to the celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Though Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, there is a strong spiritual element as we gather to give thanks to God, and feast with family and friends on Thanksgiving Day. This is quickly followed by the end of the Church year as a new one begins on the first Sunday of Advent.

There is so much that can be done to enhance the catechetical sessions, not only for children and youth, but for families as well. Here are some ideas:

  1. Prepare brief biographies of the saints memorialized throughout the month. Incorporate these into prayer time. It would be ideal to carry this practice into the new year.
  2. Invite the class to consider those people (living) in their lives who, though not saints, have been good reminders of God’s care and love. Create a series of questions for each child to use in an interview with this person. Invite them to share their findings with the class.
  3. Prior to Thanksgiving break, help the class to write a special prayer of blessing to be prayed at their family table on Thanksgiving Day.
  4. To deflect or at least diminish the encroaching commercial onslaught of Christmas, invite the class to bring non-perishable goods each week to be shared with those in need.
  5. A prayer for the blessing of the Advent wreath can be found here. Place an Advent wreath on the table and pray each week as a way to keep the class focused on the season.

The value in helping our families connect the liturgical year to life far outweighs the effort on our part as catechetical ministers. We must do everything we can to help them incorporate the life of the Church into their day-to-day lives.