Grade 8, Celebrating Church, Unit 5 Faith In Action
Additional Outreach Project Ideas
Catholic Social Teaching in This Unit: Solidarity and Social Communications
"Ours is an age of global communication in which countless moments of human existence are either spent with, or at least confronted by, the different processes of the mass media.... The mass media can and must promote justice and solidarity according to an organic and correct vision of human development, by reporting events accurately and truthfully, analyzing situations and problems completely, and providing a forum for different opinions. An authentically ethical approach to using the powerful communication media must be situated within the context of a mature exercise of freedom and responsibility, founded upon the supreme criteria of truth and justice."
Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II, The Rapid Development #3 (January 4, 2005)
One way to approach this project is to engage the young people in a discussion about the media. Ask them how they view the media in terms of truthfulness, credibility, and relevance to their lives.
To relate this project directly to faith, have the young people reflect on the Gospel of John 8:31-32 in which Jesus says, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Ask them what it means to “remain in my word” and what “truth” means to them. How does their faith help them to live in truth? How does this truth personally set them free?
Another way to relate this outreach project to Scripture is to have the young people do a search of the word “truth” in the Bible. (The USCCB Web site has a search function for the New American Bible. There are also many Bibles on CD and online as well as Bible concordances.) Have each young person select a passage that is meaningful to him or her. Have him or her write about it or discuss it. As the outreach project gets underway, use the passages that the young people selected as a way to inspire them and remind them of how this project flows from their faith and in turn strengthens their relationships with God and others. (For example, make bookmarks, posters, or holy cards with the Scripture passages.)
UNICEF has a project on its Web site that gives voice for children to speak out about issues that affect children and young people. Check it out for more ideas on this outreach project.
Voices of Youth (UNICEF)
Aprender un Nueva Idioma
One way to introduce this project is to conduct part of the session (without any warning) in a language that the young people aren't familiar with, or have a colleague or a young person address the group in another language. Launch right into the presentation, as if speaking in another language is completely normal. If someone says something in English, act as if you do not understand. Continue long enough for the young people to wonder what is going on and to experience the discomfort of having no idea what is being said or asked of them. This type of activity gives the young people the immediate experience of being out of their element and highlights the importance of knowing more about others to facilitate communication. Language is an obvious way of communicating, but knowing a person or community's background, cultural heritage, and history is a kind of language all its own as well.
Another approach to this project would be to study a word like peace, God, love, or justice, and learn how to say that word in other languages. Each language may have a different nuance of that word, so be sure to look at how it is defined within the culture that uses that language.
Have the students read a familiar Scripture passage in another language. They can use a dictionary to translate the words into English. Have them reflect on how this activity deepens their appreciation of the Scripture passage.
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