Access your Middle School or K-5 Educator’s Guide for your classroom by filling out the form below. You will then be directed to a page where you can download a high quality PDF file to print out or share digitally.
OBJECTIVE: Students will DISCERN how God is calling them to mission. EXAMINE a 15 year old boy’s life in Kenya in order to connect it with their own. USE scripture and church teaching to understand the “why” of mission. MAKE a mission plan for their summer. ENGAGE with their families in living compassionate lives in mission.
WATCH Maryknoll’s video “Answering the Call”. In the video Fr.Michael Bassano, M.M says, “I simply want to be a living sign of God’s compassion to the whole world. To be a healing presence to people who are suffering.”
PRAY the words of St. Teresa of Ávila
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He looks compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which He blesses all the world.
SHARE with God through silent prayer or journaling how you feel right now. Ask God for any help you may need to courageously live as God’s hands and feet in our suffering world.
READ THE MISSION STORY
A friend introduced Maryknoll Fathers and Brother’s Fr. Lance Nadeau MM to Gabriel, a 15-year-old about a year ago in Kenya, Africa. Gabriel was born HIV+ meaning that he had the virus, which causes AIDS. Gabriel’s father died with AIDS when he was 5, and his mother, who is HIV+, abandoned him when he was 8. Fr. Nadeau said when he met him he noticed that, “Gabriel was living with his elderly grandmother in abject poverty. He was not receiving HIV meds nor did he have an adequate diet. Gabriel was anemic, suffering from malnutrition, and had a high viral load. The cause of his father’s death was known in the village and, consequently, Gabriel experienced stigmatization in school and in his village. Neighbors once burned down the house Gabriel and his mother were living in. Nonetheless, Gabriel remains courageous in facing HIV and stigmatization.
With Gabriel’s hard work, and Fr. Nadeau’s financial assistance Gabriel was accepted into a private secondary school that accommodates students with HIV. The hope is that Gabriel will be able to go to college next. Fr. Nadeau says, “Gabriel is a living example of hope for poor people with HIV.”
Besides helping him go to school, Maryknoll has been able to provide a lifesaving opportunity for Gabriel and for 28,000 to 30,000 other patients with HIV in Eastern Nairobi this year. Because Maryknoll supports an HIV/Aids program, Gabriel is able to receive the Antiretroviral medications, and the counseling that he needs. Fr. Nadeau explained, “Before moving to Nairobi and receiving counseling at the Eastern Deanery AIDS Relief Program (EDARP), Gabriel could not speak about his medical condition. If asked about his health, he would break down in tears. Because of the regular sessions Gabriel has with the EDARP social worker and psychologist, he is now able to speak about his health, and because of his medical care he can tell others that he is healthy.” Now, Gabriel should be able to live for many years and to have a lifegiving future.
ANSWER the questions in a small group or in a journal.
- In what part of Africa is Kenya?
- What are some of the difficulties Gabriel has had
- in life?
- How has Gabriel’s life changed since he was provided with new opportunities?
- Courage has helped Gabriel in his life. How can courage help you with some of the difficult challenges that you are faced with?
READ THE FOLLOWING:
Old Testament: Isaiah 6:8
Life of Jesus: Mark 6:7-13
Christian Living: James 2:14-18
REFLECT ON THE FOLLOWING:
Scripture tells us that we have been chosen to live with compassion and as a missionary disciple. Jesus lived it, and showed us what to do. ANSWER the following questions by sharing with a partner or in a journal,
- How did Jesus respond to those who were sick or suffering, particularly those who were shunned or avoided by others?
- Who are those who are shunned or avoided in your school and community? How might you respond to them as Jesus did? How do you know that someone is being shunned or avoided/ what are the signs?
- What does it mean for me to be chosen and sent by God? What gifts do you have that would be helpful in mission?
WHAT DOES THE CHURCH SAY?
The Church which “goes forth” is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice. (Pope Francis EG 24)
- Think about those who are sick/excluded/shunned in your local, national, and/or international community. What are some steps you could take this summer to open up opportunities for them?
- Could you envision yourself one day using your gifts in service to others as a Maryknoll missioner? Why or why not?
On Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Vocation website they say, “We are Maryknoll. We’re nomad people stirred by a passion stronger than ourselves to travel unknown trails and share our soul with people we don’t know. We say goodbye to family to go out and find a home among strangers. We go off to preach a God who rules and discover a God in pain, to announce a God of power and find a God of tears. And when we listen to suffering people sing and watch the downtrodden dance, We Meet A God Who Laughs.”
We all can travel unknown trails and share ourselves with others. For this summer, PLAN an adventure. USE the following questions to help shape your plan. WRITE the answers to the questions. Then DISCUSS with a partner or a small group to determine your next steps.
MAKE A SUMMER MISSION ADVENTURE PLAN (using the see, judge, act methodology)
- Who are the suffering people in your community that would like to connect with better? Make a plan to meet them and listen to their stories. Do research to understand their circumstances. Pay attention to their challenges and how others, including you, can help or accompany them.
- Who will be part of this plan? Will you do it alone or with a group?
- In a journal write down your thoughts and feelings, reflecting on your encounters with people and their situation.
- Reflect on why you have chosen this person/or group to reach out to? What is it in your heart that makes you want to spend time and help them?
- Reflect and listen to what God is telling you or asking you about these encounters. How are the encounters changing your understanding of God, others or yourself?
- What is it that you can do next for this group? (i.e. teaching, cooking, babysitting, building, yardwork, spending time listening).
- What help or resources do you need to make this happen? (i.e. do you need to connect with an agency, someone to go with you, do you need supplies)?
- How will you implement your plan? How will you get started?
- When will you implement your plan? Will it be a one-time plan, or will you want to continue it in the fall?
Maryknoll’s mission bell rang to announce the first mission sending to the orient in September 1918 and has continued to ring announcing the mission sending of each missioner for over 105 years.
Once your Summer Mission Adventure Plans are ready, gather as a group to celebrate your mission ahead. Have each person share what they plan to do this summer. After the announcements ring a bell or bells to celebrate the mission ahead. Invite others to participate in your celebration. Share your celebration on social media or in newsletters.
BE A GLOBAL NEIGHBOR
You can help support the Eastern Deanery AIDS Relief Program (EDARP) that is helping Gabriel with his medical care. EDARP is presently one of the largest multifaceted treatment and prevention programs in Kenya. Visit Maryknollsociety.org/project website to help provide medical care for thousands of people in Eastern Africa.
ENGAGE YOUR FAMILY
As a family WATCH the Maryknoll Where do we go? video. Then DISCUSS these questions:
- Do I know someone at work or school who would benefit from kindness and/or compassion? How can we offer this compassion and kindness to them?
- How can we better incorporate living with compassion and as missionary disciples into our daily lives going forward?
- Make a list of characteristics you noticed in those who engaged in mission in the story or in the video? Which of these characteristics do you have? Which would you like to develop? How can you begin this summer?