Each year, one of the annual initiatives of the Department of Education of the Diocese of Venice, Florida, is the development of the devotional lives of our students through a diocesan-wide project. After discussion with Bishop Dewane, he would like the focus to be on devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist. This theme supports the National Eucharistic Revival, led by the USCCB as well as our own Eucharistic Congress in March.
The Department of Education provides all the resources necessary for classroom teachers and students to participate. This is intended as a way to supplement religion classes and a way to teach our students different forms of prayer and spiritual leadership.
To get the project started, we trained the two eighth graders, a boy and a girl, to act as Junior Catechists for this project. These student leaders will catechize their classmates with a classroom lesson and go classroom to classroom, teaching about our Catholic devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist. At our training day, we highlighted the importance of leadership in the faith, evangelization and discipleship. We met for Benediction and Adoration, a training session with the students led by our Curriculum Director, Jennifer Falestiny.
Devotional Project and Website
Though we have been slowed down a bit by two hurricanes, we are ready to launch the devotional project. Please go to the devotional project website at: www.dovblessedsacrament.com. We began on November 14 and continue for fifteen weeks.
1. Student-led classroom lessons: selected eighth grade student leaders will teach a lesson on the Eucharist to their classmates to kick-off the 15-week devotional project.
2. Teacher-led weekly classroom activities: the website makes available PDF resources about Eucharistic miracles to show in the classroom or make copies to distribute to your students. See the Eucharistic Miracle Schedule on the website. Also included is a sample template of a religion lesson plan to use for each weekly Eucharistic miracle.
3. Student visits to the Blessed Sacrament: beyond the usual visit that occurs at mass, outside of mass times, students should be encouraged to visit Our Lord in the Tabernacle. With each visit during the 15 weeks, students should say the Devotional Prayer to the Most Holy Eucharist.
4. Digital Blessed Sacrament Visit Tracker: we’ve also provided a “tracker” on the website so that teachers can help students to keep count of the number of times they have visited Our Lord from November 15 – April 10. The school with the most visits will be recognized at the end of the devotional project.
5. Catholic Altar Learning Set STREAM Project: each school received a Catholic Altar Learning Set for a differentiated STREAM project. In December we will launch CAD/CAM 3D modeling challenge for students.
6. Art Competition: as in previous years, we will have student art competition to produce art work from based our Catholic artistic tradition around the Most Holy Eucharist. More information forthcoming.
The website, lesson plans, digital tracker, altar kits, holy cards and resource pages are all the creations of Jennifer Falestiny, Curriculum Director of the Diocese of Venice Catholic Schools.
Bishop Dewane hopes that our emphasis on devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist and the study of these various Eucharistic miracles will bring students closer to Our Lord as they visit Him truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.
The success of this project relies on the support of pastors and principals. It is a great opportunity for eighth grade leaders and a way to foster the devotional of the life of church in our classrooms.