We use maps and news articles to help our kids make connections to what’s going on in the Church around the world. Here’s how.
We are always looking for ways to relate our family-based catechesis to other areas of life. We enjoy using current events, Church events, and other interests to learn more about Catholicism around the world.
Be A Catholic Church Groupie
The above photo is our Pope map, which we use to track Pope Francis when he travels. While he was in America, we displayed various articles and pictures from the newspaper about his visit. For our younger crew this built excitement and a little bit of geography knowledge. For our older crew this was a chance to discuss the media’s coverage of his visit. We didn’t keep them from articles that were slanted against the Church, but we did make sure to take the chance to clarify and look up original texts from statements when we weren’t able to listen live.
This can work for any trip the pope takes and also for canonizations and major feast days. Print copies of Pope Francis’ various addresses and discuss with your older kids while adding in the geography component for younger ones. You can also make a habit of looking to what the Church has to say about what is going on geo-politically around the world. Respond to current events and interests by focusing curiosity on the rich history of the Church in a given area.
Make Your Own Country-Specific Art Display
In the middle of rural Minnesota, we can’t always find liturgical art connected with countries we are studying, so when we want something specific, we get creative and make our own. When we remodeled our boys’ bedroom with their desired Taekwondo theme, we included a picture of the Korean Martyrs and Pope Francis’ beautiful prayer upon their beatification.
The prayer reads:
May the prayers of all the Korean martyrs, in union with those of Our Lady, Mother of the Church, obtain for us the grace of perseverance in faith and in every good work, holiness and purity of heart, and apostolic zeal in bearing witness to Jesus in this beloved country, thought Asia, and to the ends of the earth.
(Pope Francis, 8/16/2014, Seoul, South Korea).
Our goal of posting this prayer is to remind the boys that everything we do (Taekwondo included) is tied to a greater story. Every activity is an opportunity to show perseverance, good work, holiness, purity or heart, and apostolic zeal.
As a homeschooling mom, this is as far as geography goes as a subject some years! No matter how you choose your country, here are some additional activities you may want to try.
Quick-Start Catechesis by Country
- Find the country on a map.
- Read about a saint from the country.
- Memorize a related saint quote or prayer.
- Read about the history of Catholicism in the country.
- Find a shrine or important Catholic site.
- Prepare a customary meal from the country.
- Celebrate a feast that is important in the country.