BASIC OVERVIEW – This year in Sunday School, we are using a “Back to Basics” approach. For academic material, we will use the old classic My Catholic Faith which provides a great summary and curriculum of the faith in a kind of flyer format that is both handy and properly detailed. The Book is also available online at: My Catholic Faith – online version. The specific lessons we will use are detailed below.
LESSON 1 – READING BIBLE STORIES
In conjunction with the “Back to Basics” approach (detailed later), we will also read a Bible Story. One of the great losses in modern times is the loss of story-telling. And, the Bible has great stories! The specific stories we will read are detailed below.
Standing instruction # 1 for the parents is “READ THE BIBLE TO YOUR CHILDREN.” Every day if possible! And in this program we model that with the parents who are taught while their children are in class. In each class, we spend the first 20 minutes reading a Bible story, usually from the Catholic Children’s Bible which does a good job presenting the whole Bible in story form. After reading a story (e.g. of the tower of Babel,) we discuss its teaching and link it to the catechetical material specified in the curriculum.
In modeling this in the parent’s class, we hope to show how they can do the same with their children at home. Bible Stories are memorable and teach fundamental truths in ways that reach deeper than merely the intellect. They touch the heart and draw the children into the world and mind of God.
Bible Stories don’t just teach they imbue. To “imbue” means to inspire or permeate with a feeling or quality; to saturate, suffuse, or steep one in what is taught or presented.
Thus, Bible Stories are essential if we want to communicate the culture and world of the Bible to our children and help them make sense of our glorious faith.
LESSON 2 – “Back to Basics” Curriculum
The “back to basics” approach is broken into three main sections, based on the words of an old hymn:
I once was lost in sin, but Jesus took me in, and then a little light from heaven filled my soul!
Part 1 (Sept to January) – SIN - I once was lost in sin - Here we start with the story of Original Sin and read the early chapter that show how God made all things to be very good, But in Original Sin and all the other sins committed and described in the early chapters of Genesis, both creation and man were devastated. Sin and our conniving with the devil is responsible for most of the suffering in the world. Through Bible stories and about forty pages of the “My Catholic Faith” catechism we learn of sin’s devastating effects We distinguish Original Sin, Actual sin, mortal and venial sin, the seven deadly sins and so forth. In so doing we paint of picture of how we were lost in Sin.
Module 1 – Creation and our First Parents
Module 2 – Original Sin
Module 3: Other Types of Sin
Module 4: Sin grows worse
- Curriculum notes:
Part 2 (From Pre-Lent through early Easter) – Redemption - but Jesus took me in. Having welcomed Jesus as savior of the world at Christmas we now look to the paschal mystery wherein Jesus undertakes to save us from our wretched condition. Here too we read Bible stories and connect to the elements of Jesus ministry to heal us, drive out demons and ultimately to take the hill of Calvary engage Satan in battle, suffer die, rise and ascend for us. The goal here is gratitude more than information. We strive to “remember,” that is, to have so present in our mind and heart what Jesus has done for us so that we are grateful and different.
Part 3 – (Early Easter through Pentecost). – Grace- And then a little light from heaven filled my soul! In saving us, Jesus gives us a new mind and heart, a whole new life. The graces of the Christian life are explored: Faith, Hope, Charity, patience, joy, chastity, forgiveness, mercy, and so many other virtues and gifts. We reflect on the whole new Life Jesus has given us and encourage testimony about the transformation brought about by God’s grace working through Scripture, Sacraments, fellowship and prayer. If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation.
Its a back to basics approach rooted in the basic kerygma and meant to draw people into the great drama of life: sin, redemption, grace.
Back to basics! Parents, are you reading bible stories to your children? How are you growing in your own faith? And don’t be anxious. The basic curriculum is not that hard. Its easily memorized in the words of the old song
I once was lost in Sin
But Jesus took me in.
And then a little light from heaven filled my soul!
Sin, redemption, grace. Keep it simple, don’t complicate it. Details can come later after the mastery of the basic elements.
Here’s a kind of jazzed up version of the Hymn we reference. Looks like it was filmed in the 1970s so take that into consideration