Liturgical Living: Teacher Edition
Q: I’m a teacher in a Catholic school and want to do some liturgical living in the classroom. Do you have any suggestions for what to start with?
A: I love this! And not just because I love liturgical living, which I do, but because while liturgical living in the home is having a moment right now, liturgical living was never meant for just the home. Feast days and the whole liturgical year are intended by the Church to be observed and celebrated in community. Bringing a renewed awareness of the liturgical year back into our schools and parishes is an excellent way to evangelize children and their families and create a feeling of Catholic identity that will—hopefully—last their whole lives!
Beginning liturgical living in the classroom or school is going to look a lot like beginning liturgical living in the home (see this post). I always recommend that parents start small, and focused on the individual, and to do what they are doing anyway, just tweaked a bit to reflect the liturgical year. The same approach can be applied by teachers.
Do you have storytime, or coloring pages, or crafts, or class parties, or morning prayers? Those are all great ways to bring some attention to saints and feast days!
We do what we call the “three special days” each year for each of our kids, recognizing them as “special” on their birthday, nameday (feast day of their patron saint), and baptism day. Many classrooms already have a small recognition of students’ birthdays. You could also recognize your students in some small way on the anniversaries of their baptism days and on the feast day of their name saint or patron saint. If nothing else, just listing the days on a bulletin board will help kids learn their baptism day, and why it’s even more important than their birthday, and help them find or choose their patron saint.
You can try to get a school-wide celebration of the patron saint or feast of the school. Parish or school festivals were traditionally celebrated FOR THE FEAST DAY of the parish or school. This is often not the case any more, but it would be great if more parents and teachers were advocating for a return to festivals that actually celebrate the feasts! If your school doesn’t have a tradition of a big festival, just a simple picnic or potluck in honor of the patron of the school is a great way to bring awareness to your patron saint! If it doesn’t work to get something going school-wide, you can certainly celebrate it in your classroom with a party.
Keeping track of the whole liturgical year and its seasons—Ordinary Time, Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Easter—in a classroom can be done with a bulletin board (teacher and DRE Katie Bogner has some great resources on her blog), and by small changes to your classroom routine during different seasons. Exactly what the changes are aren’t as important as that things are a bit different to reflect seasons of penance or preparation versus seasons of celebration or ordinary time.
It might take some time to figure out what’s going to work best in your particular environment, but it’s an excellent goal, and one that I know will bear fruit for you and your students and their families!
Kendra Tierney is a wife and a mother of nine children from little to teenager. She's a homeschooler and a regular schooler, and an enthusiastic amateur experimenter in the domestic arts. She writes the award-winning Catholic mommy blog Catholic All Year, is a contributor to the Blessed Is She and Take Up and Read Ministries, and is the voice of liturgical living here at Endow. She is the author of A Little Book about Confession for Children, the Traditional Catholic Prayers for Awesome Catholic Kids series of prayer books, and the Catholic All Year Compendium: Liturgical Living for Real Life.
Do you have questions that you would like our authors at Endow Voices to answer? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject Line "Question for Voices". We can't wait to hear from you!