Dear Parents and Family,
This week at Edge your son or daughter learned about the structure of the Church. After a recap of what it means to be Catholic through a Catholic Central video, we divided by grade level to move through three activities. In the first station, students had to create a business plan for a new dance club and used that to discuss the importance of structure. At the second station, we learned a bit more about the hierarchy of the church (popes, cardinals, bishops) and about apostolic succession and the papacy by watching Catholic Central’s “Pope-isode” (pope episode). In the final station, the youth then built a web with yarn thrown across the circle to see how everyone is connected and understand their role as part of the Church. Throughout all this, we focused on the structure of the Church and how the roles of the hierarchy and laity help carry out the mission of the Church.
• Structure is important for many areas of our lives and structure is important for the Church. Jesus gave the Church a specific purpose and mission to accomplish, but He also gave the Church a specific structure so that these things could be accomplished. (CCC 874)
• The hierarchy was established first by Jesus, who gave Peter the role of leading the Church and, along with the other apostles, His authority to forgive sins, lead, and govern His people in the faith. (CCC 875-887, CCC 976-983, Matthew 16:18)
• The hierarchy is not the only structure that is essential to the Church to accomplish her mission and purpose — the laity are also an essential part of the Church.
“The Christian faithful are those who, inasmuch as they have been incorporated in Christ through Baptism, have been constituted as the people of God; for this reason, since they have become sharers in Christ’s priestly, prophetic, and royal office in their own manner, they are called to exercise the mission which God has entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world, in accord with the condition proper to each one.” (CCC 871)
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
Family Reflection Questions:
• Why is it important for most things to have a leader?
• Why is it important for the Church to have a clear leader?
• What is one thing you learned about the pope from the “Pope-isode”?
• What role do you play in the Church?
Fun Family Activity:
Tangibly see how we can trace the papacy all the way back to St. Peter, the first pope and “Rock” upon whom Jesus built the Church. Take a Virtual Reality Tour of The Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome to see the portrait of every pope in order from Pope Francis all the way back to Peter. By clicking into the “Central Nave” and “Tomb” and looking up, you will get the best views of all the circular portraits and can trace the succession of popes throughout history. You can learn more about the history of this basilica and St. Paul here and here.