Faith that Works

Teaching middle schoolers how to live and practice their faith

The fourth time Mary speaks in the Gospels is at the Wedding in Cana, which is found in John 2: 1-12. This is the only time that we can hear Mary speak in Jesus’s adult life and ministry, and I love the way the interchange goes between the two of them. The story is a …

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Right now, this third word of Mary in the Gospels is resonating strongly with me. After spending time in Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover, Mary and Joseph head back to Nazareth, only to realize that 12 year old Jesus is not with the travelling group. They make their way back to the temple, …

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When I teach the gospels to my seventh graders, we often make lists of the things that make each gospel distinct. For example, Matthew uses the literary form of midrash to show numerous connections between Jesus and the Old Testament promises God had made to the Israelites. Mark is the shortest gospel, and also all …

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It’s May! This is the month devoted to Mary in the church, so it only seems fitting to dedicate the blog posts this month to learning more about our Blessed Mother. As I’ve been developing teaching resources for distance learning, I’ve been trying to deepen my understanding of Mary: who she is and what she …

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“I am the true vine.” John 15:1 Growing up in New Jersey, I didn’t have a lot of experience with vineyards, although the wine industry is really taking off there now. However, moving to the heart of Washington wine country has taught me a lot about agriculture in general and given me a new insight …

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“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6 Praying the Stations of the Cross has always been one of my favorite Lenten practices. One of my earliest school memories was gathering in the auditorium on the Fridays of Lent to pray through the stations together. As we walked from station to station, …

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“I am the resurrection and the life.” John 11:25 The last few years have been filled with a lot of loss in our family- my father-in-law, a dear friend from grad school, my husband’s aunt, my friend’s daughter, two friends from our parish, and a much hoped for baby. Many times in the last two …

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“I am the gate.” John 10:7 This is the I am statement of Jesus that I probably know the least, and in my research for this post, I realized/learned that this I am statement is very connected to tomorrow: I am the good shepherd. They both come from Jesus’s words to the Pharisees immediately after …

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As promised, I want to share some of my favorite online resources for middle school aged kids. Many of the amazing resources floating around on Facebook right now seemed aimed at younger children or for other academic subjects than religion. So here’s what I’m going to be sending to my students in the days ahead. …

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