In A.D. 88, Saint Clement I became the fourth pope. His reign lasted until A.D. 97. Though we have few facts about Clement, we do know that he wrote a very important letter to the Church in Corinth.
The city of Corinth in Greece had a large Christian population, but it also had a number of problems. A group of people in Corinth refused to follow the legitimate Church authority there. They split off from the main group of believers. Clement, as the shepherd of the Church, wrote to the people, explaining the role of authority and the role of the people, encouraging peace and harmony. So powerful and clear was the letter that in some places in the early Church, it was ranked next to the accepted books of Scripture. It is one of the earliest Christian documents we have. Clement was martyred.
Have the students find and memorize the names of the early popes. Secure photos of the past several pontiffs and let the students write summaries of their lives. Appoint a group to bring in articles about the work of our pope today.
Clement is the patron of marble workers, stonecutters, and mariners. One story about him relates how he made a miraculous spring of water flow for some convicts with whom he worked. Another story states that an anchor was tied around his neck and he was drowned. The sea opened up to reveal angels burying him in a marble tomb. From these stories came the spring and anchor as symbols for Clement. Suggest that the students read a biography of the current pope and choose symbols for him.
Excerpted from Christ Our Life, by Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio
Image credit: Pope Clemens I from The Lives and Times of Popes by unknown artist, 1842. Public Domain via Wikimedia.