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Holy Cross, ACE Develop Free Vocations Curriculum for Elementary, Middle-school Students

Published: February 5, 2014

Author: Stephanie Sibal

Vocations Curriculum Cover

A new vocations curriculum developed by the Congregation of Holy Cross, U.S. Province Office of Vocations and the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education has received an Imprimatur from Most Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades, bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese.                                

“To Make God Known, Loved and Served” is a free, downloadable vocations curriculum (curriculum.holycrossvocations.org) for grade-school teachers and catechists to help students come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Church’s vision of vocation for the faithful. By using this curriculum, the goal is for elementary and middle-school students to become engaged and begin to consider God’s call in their own life. That can be a committed single life, marriage or vocations to the priesthood or religious life.

“We saw a need when visiting our schools and in talking with our lay teachers. Many teachers are excited about the possibility of helping to encourage their students to consider a vocation to the religious life and priesthood. Yet, we would often find that they were not confident in talking about it, as it was not their own vocation. They did not know the inner workings of what draws someone to religious life or the priesthood,” said Rev. James Gallagher, C.S.C., director of the U.S. Province Office of Vocations. “Instead of focusing specifically on the religious life and priesthood, we wanted to cover all vocations, knowing that all of the students would benefit from looking at God’s call in their life.”

“To Make God Known, Loved and Served” makes that engagement with students easier. Each grade-level curriculum includes an introduction, supplemental materials, lessons and activity pages and builds on the previous year’s study. Holy Cross’ own Rev. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., is used as an example of the priesthood; and St. André Bessette is highlighted as a saintly model of the male religious life. While the program does feature Holy Cross examples, other religious heroes are noted, such as Mother Teresa.

The curriculum was the collaborative effort of many, not only within the Holy Cross Office of Vocations, but also with ACE educators. ACE developed the individual grade-level lesson plans based on Holy Cross’ theology of vocations.

Along with making the curriculum available for free to any Catholic educator, the program was also sent directly to all Holy Cross parishes with schools (grades K-8). It was also made directly available to ACE schools, PACE (Pacific Alliance for Catholic Education, which is administered by the University of Portland) and Notre Dame’s ECHO’s Faith Formation Leadership program. The Office of Vocations has also alerted vocations directors at the National Religious Vocation Conference and the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors.

An Imprimatur is official approval from the Catholic Church. Bishop Rhoades gave the Imprimatur on Jan. 14, 2014. Prior to approval, the curriculum was reviewed by Monsignor Michael Heintz, director of the Master of Divinity Program at Notre Dame and rector of St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend. Msgr. Heintz teaches undergraduate and graduate theology courses at Notre Dame.

The free material can be downloaded for use as individual lessons, or printed and assembled into resources for ongoing use. The entire curriculum is available at curriculum.holycrossvocations.org.