My life seems to run in themes. Do you ever notice that in your own past as you look back? I don't really plan it ahead of time, but I can very specifically identify a common theme running through pieces of my life, tying experiences and people and events together.
For example, there was a year that I could entitle "The Year in Which Katie Had NO Idea What She was Doing."
There was another year that I would call "Stretching Roots I Already Thought Were Deep."
And there was the year most definitely named "Hitting My Knees."
Another one seemed to center around "Finding New Friends in the Saints, Past and Present."
Considering that I see themes in my life, it should come as no surprise I tend to have cutsy themes in my classroom, parties I host, etc. Setting up for a new CCD year is no exception.
This is my fifth year as the DRE at my church. Crickey- 5th? When did that happen? I have had a theme each year, and the decorations, newsletters, celebrations, etc. all center around a particular verse or topic. They have gotten better as time has gone on, if I do say so myself.
Year 1- I am the Vine, You are the Branches (John 15:5)- Clearly a classic, but I didn't do much by way of creativity
Year 2- Love All, Worship One (Matthew 28:19-20)- Lots of fun world decorations- flags, maps, verses relating to God loving the whole world and the Great Commission. This was the year that we started adopting an international orphan as a CCD program.
Year 3- Beautiful are the Feet that Bring the Good News (Romans 10:15)- Lots of shoes hanging from the ceiling, a shoe drive for Soles 4 Souls- the kids remember this one and still talk about it.
Year 4- All the Saints Greet You! (2 Corinthians 13:13)- We painted murals of favorite Saints on the Walls, had all kinds of Saints activities, highlighted Saints at our parish celebration, etc.
This year- My Soul Magnifies the Lord! (Luke 1:46)
"My soul magnifies the Lord" is the first line from Mary's song of praise called the Magnificat. It is a beautiful prayer thanking God and adoring Him for who He is and what He has done. I chose this as the theme this year because I thought it would be not only a good time to talk about Mary's role in the plan of Salvation, but how she can be a model for us in God's plan for our lives.
She did not "expand" God, or "make" God, or "plan" God. She could do nothing to add or subtract from God's greatness. But her yes to the angel Gabriel allowed God to become Flesh. The God of our ancestors become One among us, one that we could see, touch, and hear. Through her yes, Christ became more apparent to the world around her, not through any of her own power, but through her humility. The word magnify is so fitting, because just like a magnifying glass, she did not change Christ, she just made it easier to see him. We plan to use this idea this year to help teach the kids about how they can become like a magnifying glass of God's love to the world around them.
Our classes are in the downstairs, so I always like to do something fun in the wide hallway that make a memorable first impression. Here is this year's view:
Here's one of our main bulletin boards:
Oh, and the JJ Heller song above? The Youth Band has been working on it all summer, and it is going to be the meditation song at all of our Children's Masses. I can't wait for the first one!
I am excited to see what this year will bring, and I thank God for the order of His Creation and how themes hold us all together :)