Engaging Catholic youth is an ongoing challenge. Catechists, Catholic school teachers, and youth ministers are constantly researching “best practices,” and are on a perpetual search for the perfect lesson or resource to engage their students. Parents face a similar struggle. How can we get our children to understand the Bible better, to recognize what is happening during the Mass, or to participate in the life of the Church?
There are many wonderful resources and ideas out there. Catholic Brain is one of them. It offers a wealth of fun, informative, interactive exposure to the truths of our Catholic faith, and is a valuable tool for everyone who seeks to share the faith with our youth.
One essential element of Catholic Brain is how it helps children participate in the life of the Church. At the heart of the Church’s life is its liturgy. This includes the daily Mass, of course, as well as the liturgical calendar, including liturgical seasons and feast days.
By providing the daily Scripture readings, written in language children can understand, Catholic Brain allows users to participate in the biblical themes that are woven into the liturgy throughout the year. The Church’s missal provides a complete walk through the Bible every three years. Catholic Brain’s daily readings help children to participate in that walk at a level they can understand.
Each day children are presented not only the day’s Mass readings, but also a presentation on the Saint of the day, as well as a video Bible story. Then, they can check their understanding of the Scripture with a short quiz. Virtual rewards – stars, badges, and medals – allow children to track their progress, and provide incentive for them to keep coming back day after day.
The Liturgical Year
The site also walks children through the liturgical year. It provides lessons for the major feasts and liturgical seasons, such as Advent, Lent, and Pentecost. Families and classes can use Catholic Brain to help understand and participate in the rhythm of the liturgical year. It even offers comprehensive tests for students preparing to receive the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation.
The Sacramental Life
This brings us to another important aspect of Catholic life, namely the sacramental life. So often we allow the sacraments to become routine. Our children may not appreciate or understand how God works in each of the sacraments He has given us. Catholic Brain’s lessons, videos, activities, and quizzes are invaluable tools to help parents and catechists teach their students, and assess their understanding, in a fun way. The teachers’ portal that the site provides makes it easy for teachers to manage their students and track their progress.
Outreach to All Students
Finally, the variety of the content offered by Catholic Brain allows adults to reach students with different levels of background knowledge and different learning styles. The material on Catholic Brain is suitable for children of different ages, and is often categorized by grade level. Also, the prevalence of video, audio, and interactive presentations means Catholic Brain will appeal to visual learners, audio learners, and kinesthetic learners.
If you are a parent, catechist, Catholic school teacher, youth minister, or anyone with a desire to share the faith with a young person in your life, take the time to explore the Catholic Brain Web site, and find what works best for your needs. May God bless you and the seeds you sow.