I am so excited to be teaching 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade Religion classes this year! I'm very passionate about sharing my love for Jesus with your children, and I'm looking forward to the many opportunities we will have to grow in our faith together! We will deepen our understanding and appreciation of the Sacraments, experience various types of prayer, study Scripture, and explore new ways to honor our Blessed Mother and the holy men and women we call saints. May God bless us all as we continue on our faith journey this year!

Our year began with an introduction to the Sacraments of Initiation in 2nd grade and a more in-depth study in our 3rd and 4th grade classrooms. It's such an exciting year for the 2nd graders as they prepare to receive God's beautiful gift of forgiveness through First Reconciliation and the Real Presence of Jesus in  First Eucharist! Please keep them in your prayers as they prepare to encounter the love of Jesus Christ through these awesome Sacraments!

There are so many beautiful ways to grow closer to our Lord through prayer! We begin each class by "being still" in His presence, which I've discovered can actually be easier for some 2nd graders than us adults! They love sitting quietly while I read our daily devotion from "Jesus Calling". Those words always seem to be speaking directly to me! I hope the children hear Jesus' voice through this too! We'll experience different types of prayer throughout the year, including the Rosary, which is very powerful! I'm really looking forward to next year when the new church is completed! We'll then be able to learn about a different type of prayerful experience when the Adoration Chapel is finished! Spending time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament can be a transforming experience! St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote: "Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the Sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us".  AMEN to that! :)

Children love to read books filled with adventure, mystery, true friendships, heroes, and happy endings! Add to that the greatest love story ever told and the fact that it is God's Word, and it's easy to understand why our students love to read the Bible! They all know it's my favorite book! They especially enjoy it when they get to act out their favorite stories from the Gospels. Sometimes we do this in class, but we also give the students the opportunity to perform these occasionally for their parents/grandparents at our weekly prayer services. We have such talented children!

The children at St. Mary's love our BOTW activities! BOTW stands for "Breaking Open the Word." Each Friday the students will be hearing the Gospel reading for the weekend. We will talk about the message of the Gospel and then do a small craft that goes along with the theme of the reading. The goal is to help the students understand the Gospels better and recognize them when they go to Mass on the weekends! Traditionally, we have used these activities in grades K-2, but my 3rd and 4th graders are asking to have something similar too, so I'll be working on ideas for them this year!