Wow, where did the summer go?
Of course the biggest theme for August is back to school. On a spiritual note it is not only time for school teachers to get their lesson plans laid out, but catechist too. Our church designates this month as a dedication to The Immaculate Heart of Mary. Additionally, August 15th serves as a Holy Day of Obligation to attend Mass.
Whether you are in a classroom teaching reading, writing, arithmetic, STEM or catechesis finding ways to engage the digital native students can be a challenge for baby boomers or even GenX aged teachers. This year joining the Digital Discipleship Network opened up a whole new well of resources to share. There is a great Facebook Group for Catholic Directors of Faith Formation / Religious Education that share tips for creative ways to serve as a catechist simply visit the page and request to join. The Catholic Teacher and Catechist magazines are online and provide resources to help engage students using digital tools. I work a lot with Holy Cross Family Ministries who has a great You Tube channel titled that is chock full of short videos explaining elements of our faith in 6 minutes. Selecting a book or two as summer reads is a long standing tradition for many.
One of my selections, Edrenaline Rush: Game-changing Student Engagement Inspired by Theme Parks, Mud Runs, and Escape Rooms was chock full of really great ideas. The author of the book John Meehan has a website with free access to resources to help teachers and catechist to design more engaging lesson plans.
As is customary for my posts I use the “5 Things Every Parish Should Post Strategy”. If this is your first time reading my monthly posts here is a recap of the strategy. You post about the Clergy (Pope, Bishop, Pastor, Priests and Deacons), Saints,Daily Inspirational Messages, Behind the Scenes and Parish Community Life.
This month we observe the Feast day of St. John Mary Vianney, patron for priests on August 4th. Sharing prayers for your priests would be a great share on your social media pages. Pope Francis shares a monthly prayer intention in the form of a You Tube video that is easily shared with your followers. This month the intention is connected to a school theme and is “Families, Schools of Human Growth: That families, through their life of prayer and love, become ever more clearly “schools of true human growth”.
St. Alphonsus Liguori (August 1), St. Eusebius of Vercelli and St. Peter Julian Eymard (August 2), St. John Mary Vianney (August 4),Dedication of St. Mary Major (August 5), Transfiguration of the Lord (August 6), St. Sixtus II and Companions and St. Cajetan (August 7), St. Dominic (August 8), St. Teresa Benedicta (August 9), St. Lawrence(August 10), St. Clare (August 11), St. Jane Frances de Chantal (August 12), St. Maximilian Kolbe (August 14), Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15), St. Stephen of Hungary (August 16), St. John Eudes (August 19), St. Bernard (August 20), St. Pius X (August 21), the Queenship of Mary (August 22), St. Rose of Lima (August 23), St. Bartholomew (August 24), St. Louis of France (August 25), St. Monica (August 27), St. Augustine (August 28) and the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist (August 29).
Daily Inspirational Messages
There are many observances honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary this month. Starting with the Dedication of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome, the Assumption and the Queenship of Mary. Sharing a daily Inspirational Message about the Blessed Mother would be an awesome theme with many resources to share across your pages. Create engaging content to have your followers pray the rosary as a community. A Friday Facebook Live that becomes a watch party. An Instagram Story that depicts saying the rosary in your church, adoration chapel, campus grounds or unique ways your Marian ministries honor our Lady.
Behind the Scenes
Capture the back to school preps at your parish! The first faculty meeting, teachers decorating classrooms, books arriving and other happenings. Introducing new teachers and celebrating the new student council plans for the year ahead. Think about what your parish would love to see and share it on your social media.
Parish Community Life
If your parish is like mine your pastor or associate priests took a little summer vacation themselves and will return in the next week or so. Make a big deal out of their return by sharing posts about them saying mass that first weekend back from vacation. Also, welcome back the many parishioners who are returning from extended vacations during the summer. It is also a great time to add to the prayers of the faithful a prayer for college students heading off for the first year through their senior year. Create graphic that shares that message with followers across your social media pages.
Also, remember to start countdowns to fall parish events. Instagram has a countdown sticker that you may use to promote the fair, dance, graduation and let’s not forget we’re only 125 days away from Advent!
Enjoy the rest of your summer!