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 Respect Life Week 2017

Grades 7-9

Monday, October 16th

Theme:  God's Grace is Enough
Topic:  Forgiveness and Mercy
Discipline:  Whole School

Overview:  Discussion at all grade levels about the role of forgiveness in our lives, about past choices and consequences, and about the benefits of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Additional Student/Classroom Resources

Music Videos

“Your Grace is Enough” acoustic  Matt Maher  4.5 minutes.  Great for all ages.  Good for reflection time. 
“Your Grace is Enough” video with lyrics  4.25 minutes.  Good for sing-along or use at Mass.  


  • "Pursuit" Fr. Rob Galea shares how God is ever in pursuit of us and wants us to experience His mercy.  4 minutes.  
  • "Signs of Forgiveness" Inspirational video about choosing to forgive because God forgave first.​ 2 minutes. 
  • The Power of Confession​:   8 minutes.  Why do we go?  What is it for?  What good does it do?  
  • "I Confess" Powerful video invites teens to the Sacrament of Reconciliation no matter how long they have been away or how big the think their sins are. 5.5 minutes.  
  • "Healing Through the Eucharist"​ 4 minutes.  Crystalina Evert explains how devotion to the Eucharist is essential in personal healing.  
  • “You’re Dead. Now What?”  ​​​Lighthearted video that discusses heaven, hell and purgatory.  Good discussion starter on mercy and forgiveness. 3.5 minutes.
  • "What You Should Know About Purgatory" Fr. Mike Schmitz clarifies the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory, and connects it to God's mercy.  7 minutes.   ​
​     Other
  • Matthew 18: 21-34  Hilarious video reenactment of the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.  6 minutes.  


Forgiveness is Waiting for You​  8 tips for an awesome confession.  Article.​
"The Permanent Wounds of Mercy" Just because our wounds persist does not mean that God has not forgiven us. Article.  

Church Teaching

The Power of Confession lesson with questions for discussion and catechism tie-in.
"Purgatory: Heaven's Waiting Room" Engaging article explains the Catholic doctrine of purgatory using Scripture references. 

Prayer Opportunities

"Restored" Story of forgiveness and introduction to the Divine Mercy devotion.  Article. 
Catholic Relief Services "Litany of Mercy"​ April 2017 monthly prayer handout.  

Service Opportunities

At School
  • The USCCB has pre-made images and suggested social media posts on their webpage.  Students can use these to raise awareness using the social media platforms they already have, or the images can be used for any creative awareness activity!​

The Corporal Works of Mercy are charitable ways in which we can help our neighbors. One of the Corporal Works of Mercy is to visit the sick.  Participating in the Corporal Works of Mercy can be a way of sharing God's mercy with others.

    Tuesday, October 17th

    Theme:  We Cannot Separate from God's Mercy
    Topic:  Post-abortion Healing
    Discipline:  Religion

    Overview: Students will learn about the difficult choices facing a woman in an unintended pregnancy.  They will confront personal testimonies to hear what why women chose what they did and what effect that has had on them.

    Additional Student/Classroom Resources 


    • My 21st Birthday Changed My Life Forever​ Raquel Kato’s positive story of how and why she chose life for her baby and what it has meant since.  3 minutes. 
    • Imaging Life if I Had Chosen Abortion​ Darby's story of becoming a 16 year old mom who reflects on what life would be like now had she chosen abortion instead.  Positive and powerful. 3 minutes. 
    • Brianna's Story, 3 minute video of Brianna's choice to parent her child after finding resources that supported her and provided her with the practical resources she needed.
    • "The Story of Jessica and Meghan" Heartwarming story of one college girl who helped a friend through pregnancy.  Students for Life of America.  6.5 minutes.  ​
    • Former Abortion Leaders Share Their Stories Including Norma McCorvey, Dr. Alveda King (niece of Martin Luther King, Jr.), and Dr. Bernard Nathanson.  Virtue Media.  Five 1 minute or less videos. 
    • "All Things New" Short film about a woman who experiences the hope God offers after abortion.  Live Action 5.5 minutes. ​

    • Why Bring a Child Into the World?​  Video with parents from around the world talking about the great courage it takes to have a baby when the world is apparently filled with problems.  Very positive and life-affirming.​ 4.5 minutes.
    • This is the Generation that’s Going to End It:  Chris Stefanick talks about the effects of abortion and the great groundswell of support from today’s young people to stop abortion in their lifetimes.  4 minutes.


    Prayer Opportunities 

    Prayer for Holy Innocents Scroll down for a brief prayer for unborn children and their mothers.  
    "Intercessory Prayers: Post-Abortion Healing" Pre-written intercessory prayers from the USCCB for use at Mass. 
    Spiritual Adoption Spiritually adopt a baby to pray for nine months.

    Scripture and Church Teaching 

    Life Matters: God's Final Word on the Subject LifeTeen article uses Scripture to explain the truth about abortion.  ​

    Service Opportunities

         At School
    • Students for Life of America provide downloadable flyers that can be used to raise awareness for the pro-life cause or advertise an event.  ​
    • The USCCB has pre-made images and suggested social media posts on their webpage.  Students can use these to raise awareness using the social media platforms they already have, or the images can be used for any creative awareness activity!
    • Pregnancy Resource Centers: All Archdiocese, age requirement varies.
      • Volunteers can sort baby clothes, handle clerical work, and more.
      • ​Contact: Visit the site to find a location near you.
    • 40 Days for Life: All Archdiocese, all ages. 

    External Resources

    Know someone making a pregnancy decision​?  Connect with prolife pregnancy centers and clinics throughout Southern CA for free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and counseling.

    Resources for women and men hurting from a past abortion:

    Wednesday, October 18th

    Theme:  Slaves Among Us
    Topic:  Human Trafficking
    Discipline:  Social Studies/History

    Overview:  Students will learn about the growing problem of human trafficking, both domestic and international. They will learn what trafficking victims experience, how to recognize the victimization of a modern-day slave, and how to keep themselves safe from predators.

    Additional Student/Classroom Resources​


    • ​"Jeanita's Story"​ Jeanita tells her story of being trafficked unknowingly and expresses gratitude towards the people who saved her.  6.5 minutes. 
    • Kelly, Britt, and Amy share their stories of using their careers to help trafficking victims, and prevent future trafficking.  3-4 minutes each.  
    • "Turn on the Light"  Inspirational video about making the truths of human trafficking known.  Catholic Relief Services.  1.5 minutes. 
    • End It Movement​ 2 minute video introducing modern slavery as an extension of historical slavery. Good conversation starter.​
    • Not My Life video produced by UNICEF.  32 minutes.  Incredibly moving video depicts the topic of human trafficking on a global scale.  Has an accompanying study guide.  ​

    "St. Patrick and Slavery" Article and human trafficking resources from Catholic Relief Services. ​"St. Josephine Bakhita" Biography of St. Josephine and reflection from Franciscan media.  Includes an audio recording.  ​

    Prayer Opportunities

    Prayer card with St. Josephine Bakhita, patron saint of slaves and trafficking victims.​
    Catholic Relief Services Prayer to End Human Trafficking Brief prayer handout for victims of trafficking.

    Service Opportunities

         At School
    • The S.O.A.P. Project helps trafficking victims by putting the number of a human trafficking hotline on the back of a bar of soap.  These bars of soap are then distributed to bathrooms in places where there are likely to be human trafficking victims, so that they have access to the hotline phone number.  You can organize a S.O.A.P. event at your school by contacting the organization.
    • The Archdiocese offers flyers and resources students can share at their church or school about human trafficking.
    • Shareables Compilation of inspirational anti-trafficking images from Destiny Rescue for use on social media or other awareness activities.  ​
    To directly assist with trafficking victims:
    Serving the Homeless and Poor can be a great way to help prevent human trafficking, since these people are at risk to be trafficked.  Here are some ways to help our most vulnerable neighbors. ​

    Resources for Teachers and Parents

    FOR TEACHERS:Stop-the-Demand.pdfStop-the-Demand.pdf document with background information, statistics, and follow-up resources illuminating the link between pornography and human sex trafficking.  Resources are not age appropriate but may be used as background for a teacher-led discussion.

    FOR TEACHERS:  End Trafficking: A Middle School Educator’s Guide from Teach UNICEF​.  A comprehensive curriculum for teachers who wish to dig deeper into the topic.  Offers complete lesson plans with survivor stories, discussion questions, and action suggestions. ​ Beyond the scope of study for Respect Life Week, but may be of interest to teachers later in the year for further study.

    FOR TEACHERS: Website with teaching materials for all grade levels on internet safety and keeping kids safe from traffickers.  Includes handouts, exercise suggestions and online resources.  From the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  

    FOR TEACHERS AND PARENTS:  Project iGuardian​ offers practical solutions for teens, parents, and educators for keeping kids safe from online sexual predators.  Online resources as well as information on booking school presentations and a local tipline.  Created by Department of Homeland Security.  

    FOR TEACHERS AND PARENTS:  Why I Stopped Watching Porn​ Ted Talk from international educator on the link between porn and human trafficking with eye-opening insights into the destructive effects of porn, particularly on youth.  Contains EXPLICIT language.  This video does NOT portray Catholic sexual teaching, but it is helpful information for parents and educators. ​

    FOR PARENTS:  Covenant Eyes​ internet accountability and tracking software for purchase that can help keep kids safe from pornography online.

    External Resources

    Polaris Project offers links to local organizations that help survivors of trafficking.  They run a national hotline.  
    CAST​ (Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking) LA runs a local hotline and case management for survivors. 

    Thursday, October 19th

    Theme:  My Life is in Your Hands
    Topic:  Depression/Addiction/Suicide
    Discipline:  Science

    Overview:  Students will learn about depression, addiction, and suicide as life issues, from the perspective of faith.  They will explore the understanding that God has a plan for each person, and that our responsibility is to respond with respect for ourselves.  These topics are sensitive and will be covered with clarity and compassion.

    Additional Student/Classroom Resources​​

    • "Talking About Suicide"​ Fr. Mike Schmitz explains Church teaching on suicide and talks about hope being the best remedy for suicidal thoughts.  8.5 minutes. ​
    • "Hope in the Face of Suicide"​ Fr. Mike Schmitz explains the Church's sanctity of life ethic and how important it is that we treat all life as sacred, even when people feel that life is not worth living.  7.5 minutes.  
    • ​​​"God Cares About Your Suffering" Mark Hart explains how God cares about our suffering; He suffered worse.  2 minutes.  
    • "God is Bigger Than Our Fears" Mark Hart explains how we shouldn't tell our God how big our problems our, but tell our problems how big our God is.  3 minutes.  
    • "How Do I Build Virtue?" Ascension Presents explains how holiness and virtue go hand-in-hand, and holiness leads to happiness.  6 minutes.  
    • "The Problem of Suffering" Ascension Presents tackles the problem of suffering by recognizing that God is with us in the midst of our troubles.  6.5 minutes.  
    • How to be Courageous  Justin Fatica shares using God’s love to make us overcome our fears.  3.5 minutes
    • "Where Are You Going?"​  Chris Stefanick invites us to think about where we are going and where we will end up.  Great as the beginning of a discussion about why this life is not all there is.  3 minutes.
    • "Why Does God Let Us Suffer?"  This is the reason so many people lose faith and hope in God at their darkest moments.  Chris Stefanick shares insights that help put suffering into perspective of our faith and the example of Christ.  5 minutes.
    • "Addiction" Fr. Rob Galea discusses overcoming addiction from a Catholic perspective.  5.5 minutes. 
    • "Looking after Your Body" Fr. Rob Galea highlights the importance of taking care of our bodies, but also of maintaining perspective and making sure that we do not idolize doing so.  3 minutes.  



    Service Opportunities

    The USCCB has pre-made images and suggested social media posts on their webpage.  Students can use these to raise awareness using the social media platforms they already have, or the images can be used for any creative awareness activity!

    13 Reasons ​Why 

    This spring, many students may have watched 13 Reasons Why on Netflix which brings up many topics including suicide, substance abuse, sexual assault, bullying, and others.  Unfortunately the show portrays suicide as the fault of suicide survivors, while in reality the vast majority of suicides are committed by people with mental illness.  The show does rightly point out that we all have a role to play in preventing suicide, however it is important that those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts receive the proper help that they need.  Here are some resources to help students who have already watched the show or who may be interested in doing so discuss its content from an educated and Catholic perspective. 
    Resources for Teachers and Parents

    FOR TEACHERS AND PARENTS: information on Teen Depression and Suicide.  Good resource for parents and educators to understand symptoms and warning signs and know how to help. 

    External Resources

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ offers a hotline and online guidance for anyone suffering from depression or having thoughts of suicide.​ ​


    Friday, October 10th

    Theme:  The Power of Home
    Topic:  Adoption and Foster Care
    Discipline:  English/Language Arts

    Overview:  Students will learn about the number of infants and children available for adoption or in the foster care system.  They will explore adoption as a loving option for unexpected pregnancies. Activities and personal testimonies will reinforce the need of each person to have stability, love, and family.  They will be presented with practical opportunities to help kids find homes and/or mentors.

    Additional Student/Classroom Resources


    • "A Birthmother Story: Grace" A birthmother shares her moving story of choosing adoption for her baby.  Adoption is chosen because birthmothers​ love their children more, not less.  4 minutes.  
    • ​Jessica's Story​ of being a birthmom and placing her child for adoption with a loving home.  Jessica is an important part of her daughter Macy's life and her new adoptive family. 6 minutes.  
    • iChoose Adoption stories of birthmoms who chose to place their children for adoption.  Videos: Miranda's story, 1 minute.  Cristen​'s story, 1 minute.  Angela​'s story, 6 minutes. Articles: Adoption Stories
    • College student Callie Mitchell​'s story of placing her son Leo in an open adoption.  NBC Rock Center story.  7.5 minutes.
    • I Like Adoption  Video about a family who adopted nine children from around the world, several of whom have special needs.  Very positive.  6.5 minutes
    • Generation Black: Veronica's story of adopting 3 boys​ in foster care.  Heartwarming and fun, this is a look at the difference one person can make in the lives of so many others.  9 minutes.
    • The Dropbox is an amazing idea one man created in South Korea to care for that nation's unwanted babies.  3 minutes.
    • "Adoption Montage" From Students for Life of America, a birthmother, adoptive mother, and adoptee all share their stories.  10 minutes.  

    Adopted and Loved  Great website with resources and information for birth moms and people looking to adopt.  
    Brave Love - gorgeous website highlighting the stories of brave love shown by birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees

    Exodus 2:1-10 The adoption of Moses by Pharaoh's daughter.  

    Prayer Opportunities

    "Intercessory Prayers: Adoption" Pre-written intercessory prayers from the USCCB for use at Mass in English and Spanish.  

    Service Opportunities

         At School
    • ​​​
      Students for Life of America provide downloadable flyers that can be used to raise awareness for adoption or advertise an event.  
    • The USCCB has pre-made images and suggested social media posts on their webpage.  Students can use these to raise awareness using the social media platforms they already have, or the images can be used for any creative awareness activity!


    ​Helping children with disabilities or children who are poor or homeless will help students recognize that all children deserve a stable and loving home.  Note that these activities do not involve working with adoption or the foster care system directly, but are meant to help students understand the power of and need for adoption by coming to understand the rights of children and what the love of a family and friends can accomplish.    

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