Mercy in the Franciscan Classroom

…I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me to drink…

This Year of Mercy calls us all to be mindful of those in need, whatever form that need may take.  Sister Kathleen is aiming to bring about a mindfulness of those in need within her Kindergarteners.  St. Francis Parish takes part in the Lenten Rice Bowl project sponsored by Catholic Relief Services.  Sister has brought the program into her classroom as well.

rice bowl 001Kindergarten students have been contributing money to the Rice Bowl.  Now they ventured upon a lesson about what Catholic Relief Services does with their contributions.  They learned about Maria and her family, citizens of Colombia who have endured much violence and hardship.  A biography and video about Maria’s life and the influence of Catholic Relief Services really brought the message home to the students.

The lesson included making a paper prayer chain.  Students learned that part of being merciful is being united to those in need.  We learned that we are all one in God’s family and so we should help and pray for one another.  The class came up with simple prayers they would like to pray for Maria and her family.

stuff 029In a prayerful atmosphere they wrote their prayers on a chain link.  God can write straight (or forward) even with our wobbly (or backward) lines.

stuff 031The links were then made into a chain.  The students gathered around the chain and our map to recall that no matter how far away some of our brothers and sisters might live, we are still family.  They all prayed a prayer of blessing over the chain we had made.

Later in the day we prayed for Maria and her family again.  Next all helped in measuring and preparing empanadas from the Rice Bowl recipes for Lent.  What a great and holy snack to end our day of learning to be merciful!

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