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Welcome to the P aum Gospel Weeklies Faith Formation Program:What the Church Believes and Teaches e sacred duty and the joy of each succeeding generation of Christian believers has been to handon the deposit of faith that was  rst entrusted to the apostles by Christ himself. We have received this gift, the deposit of faith—we have not conceived it. It is the heritage of the whole Church. It is our privilege and our responsibility to preserve the memory of Christ’s words and the words themselves and to teach future generations of believers to carry out all that Christ commanded his apostles.National Directory for Catechesis, #26For over a thirty- ve years the P aum Gospel Weeklies have provided schools and parish religion programs with a basic catechesis on the Sunday Gospels.  ese widely acclaimed magazines o er the  nest in up-to-the-minute catechetical re ections, exercises, and activities based on the words of Jesus Christ and on his Gospel as celebrated weekly in the Sunday assembly.  e P aum Gospel Weeklies have formed several generations of young people and helped bring faith to their lives and bring their lives to the Catholic faith. e basic teachings of the Catholic faith are seeded generously throughout each level of the Weeklies.  ese basic teachings are documented in an annual Scope and Sequence. Nonetheless, because of the very nature of a lectionary-based resource, the basic teachings do not occur in exactly the same way each year in the 32 issues of each level of the P aum Gospel Weeklies. erefore, P aum Publishing Group has undertaken to make part of each year’s subscription to the P aum Gospel Weeklies a student’s handbook of those elements of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that have been judged necessary and appropriate for the age group served byeach level. What the Church Believes and Teaches is a component for the P aum Gospel Weeklies. At the beginning of each year—with the  rst shipment of the P aum Gospel Weeklies—every child will receive his or her own book of basic Church teachings.  e content for this book is based on protocols established for the teachings to be learned and mastered at each level of elementary-age catechesis.  is handbook gathers under one cover the Church teachings presented in the 32 issues of the P aum Gospel Weeklies.  is Teaching Companion provides you with ways to help children master these teachings. In addition, the guide that accompanies each issue of the P aum Gospel Weeklies will point you to the handbook and to those teachings that are re ected in that issue. What the Church Believes and Teaches, together with the P aum Gospel Weeklies, can also be of great help to parents who want to take an active role in the faith formation of their children. e handbook provides, in one convenient publication,all the teachings that must be mastered.  e weekly issues provide the stories, exercises, activities, re ections, prayers, and challenges that show how a faithful Catholic can live out these teachings, celebrate them in the liturgy, and share them at home, at school, and with friends.Learning by HeartMuch of what you  nd in What the Church Believes and Teaches can be learned by heart. From earliest times, cat- echesis has used the formulations of the Creed, the sacra- ments, the Commandments, and prayers (especially the Lord’s Prayer) to transmit the faith.  e handbook a ords you the opportunity to help your students learn by heart the principal expressions of the faith, basic prayers, key biblical themes, personalities, and language. Such learning is not mere rote. Memorization is an e ective form of catechesis that nourishes the human heart and helps form the human spirit in Christ.ConclusionIt is our hope that this exciting addition to the wondrous experience of the P aum Gospel Weeklies will assist you in your ministry. It is our prayer that What the Church Believes and Teaches will give you the added assurance that you are indeed cultivating in your students the good soil in which the seed of the Catholic faith can take root and bring forth a lifetime of good fruit.A Few Guidelines for Teaching Young Adolescents• Your junior high students are early adolescents.  eyare undergoing tremendous physical and psychological changes.  ey were once rather well con ned to their fam- ily group, but they are now reaching out to the wider world and seeking to become members of other groups: sports teams, social groups, scouting groups, school clubs, and the like. Still, they are tied closely to their families and their families’ values. When their families’ values con ict with the values of the students’ new groups, con icts can result.• Youngadolescentsarebecomingmoreabstractintheir thinking and need to put aside some of their childhood notions of religion.  ey will sometimes assume that their childhood religious faith is the same as the faith of the adults around them. So catechists need to give them a greater understanding of what adult faith involves.• Yourstudents’bodiesarepreparingthemforadulthood.  ey are experiencing a  ood of hormones and emotions that are new to them.  ey are suddenly very self-con- scious.  e brash, con dent  fth grader has become a shy, awkward, self-doubting junior high student.5

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