Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Building Bridges: A World Religions Program for 8th-9th Grades

Alternate Activity 1: Engagement

Activity time: 90 minutes

Preparation for Activity

  • Arrange with a Catholic or Orthodox Church for your group to attend a Mass. Find out if services are in Latin, English, or another language. Ask if there is anything they particularly think your youth should know before attending.
  • Instruct participants to wear appropriate clothing.

Description of Activity

Youth attend a Catholic or Orthodox Mass and discuss the experience.

Meet beforehand to be sure participants are properly dressed and to review courteous behavior guidelines. Inform them that only Catholics in good standing are allowed to take communion. Suggest they look for elements specific to Catholicism: the crucifix, confessional booths, statues of the Virgin Mary or other saints, incense.

When the engagement is done, process the experience. Ask participants for their immediate responses.

What was the experience like for them? Did they find the less familiar elements (incense, for example) added to the experience or diminished it for them? How different was it from other visits they have made? Ask:

  • What did you see?
  • Was there an altar? If so, what was on the altar?
  • Who participated in worship and in what way? Were genders treated differently?
  • Were any special garments worn?
  • Was there music? What was it like?
  • What was the atmosphere like in the church? Was it more or less formal than your church? Did the atmosphere seem fitting to the worship service?
  • Were there children present? If so, were accommodations made for them? If so, what kind? Did they notice any youth? Was the group respectfully treated?
  • Were there familiar elements or themes in the sermon? Could it have been delivered from a Unitarian Universalist pulpit? Why or why not?
  • Were the teachings of Jesus in evidence in the behavior of church members? For example: did people treat each other kindly? Did there seem to be social services available for the less fortunate? Did this seem like the kind of church Jesus would have wanted to spread his teachings? Why or why not?