Connecting your Students with the Catholic Church When You Can't be There in Person

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When the coronavirus hit in 2020, the unthinkable happened. Our churches shut down. Who would have ever thought that would happen? It was weird enough a few weeks before that we stopped shaking hands during the sign of peace and the holy water was removed from the church. But then the churches were closed and we could no longer receive the sacraments or attend Mass. Parishes scrambled to try to offer remote options to finish up religious formation classes. It was completely unexpected and in parts of our country and world, this is still the reality.

So the question is, how do we connect our students to the Catholic Church when they can't be in the actual building? With many programs using a distance learning approach this year, here are some ideas for ways to connect students to your church during Zoom calls/video calls or things they can do from home.
Help your students stay connected to their Catholic Church even when churches are closed during the pandemic with these ideas. Perfect for distance learning, remote classes, or students learning in a homeschool environment but could also be used when we are back to in person learning.

Virtual Tour

If possible, get permission to film or ask a priest or support staff member to film a virtual tour of the church. Kids LOVE getting to see behind the scenes, so not only a tour of the main parts of the church that they are familiar with, but maybe some behind the scenes like the sacristy. 

Last year, before the shut down, we invited one of our deacons to take our first grade class on a tour of church. We were talking about and looking for specific items used during Mass. This was awesome but our students REALLY loved getting to see where the priests get ready and all of their garments hanging up. They also loved seeing where the bread and wine are stored before they are consecrated and the safe that holds the chalices. I had never seen these parts of our church, so it was interesting for me too.

If you could get someone to film something like this, there could be lots of teaching points as students learn the different names. It would also be a great way for them to see their church when they can't be there.

Mass Item Coloring

Help your students learn about the items used during the Catholic Mass with these fun color by mass item coloring pages.

Using these Mass Item Coloring Pages would be a great way to learn the names of items commonly found at Mass. Then whether they can attend Mass in person or if they are watching/streaming from home, they can look for the items. You could also share an actual picture of the item or even better see if someone on staff will allow you into the church to take pictures of the actual sacred vessels used in your church. A great way to connect them to what is familiar to them and teach them the specific names and uses for these items.

Play Mass Item Bingo

Help your students learn about the items used during the Catholic Mass with these fun mass item bingo cards

Along the same lines, you could play Mass Item Bingo to help students become more familiar with these sacred items used in Mass. As often as possible, connect it back to a picture or video of the real item in your church. You could print off bingo and send it home for families to play together. You could also play it remotely as a class during a Zoom call. Just send them the bingo boards (either a printed version if they have some sort of supply pick up or the digital version for parents to print out) ahead of time for students to have ready to go.

Mass Item Boom Cards

Help your students learn about the items used during the Catholic Mass with these fun, interactive & self checking Boom Cards. Perfect for in person learning or virtual /distance / digital learning.

Another easy way to practice the items used during Mass is to assign Boom Cards to your students. These are digital task cards where students are shown a picture and then have to choose the correct word. There is sound included so even non readers can still try these. Students just have to have some type of modern device to use them - phone, tablet, computer, etc. To assign these to your students, you will need at least a free account on the Boom Learning Platform. You can purchase these Mass Object Boom Cards on Boom Learning or on TeachersPayTeachers.

Not sure what Boom Cards are? Check out my post here all about boom cards.

Stream What You Can

If your parish is offering anything through streaming services, encourage your students to watch those or watch as a class during a Zoom call. If they aren't, check around with other parishes near you or even further out. Throughout the pandemic we have found options for streaming Mass, praise and worship, the Rosary and Adoration. Some parishes are even streaming classes, talks or videos helpful to their parishioners. These might not all be appropriate for your students, but just know there are lots of options out there, even if your actual church isn't providing any online options.

Support Your Staff

Help your students stay connected to the members of their church with these FREE thank you cards for priests!
Another way to connect your students is to talk about the different roles people have in your church during normal times and what they are doing now. Throughout this pandemic, there has been so much creativity by the priests and lay people to minister to their flock in a safe way. There has also been reductions in staff as money isn't coming into the churches every week. Everyone is overworked and stressed.

Have your students show some love and support to these hardworking staff members. This could be in the form of pictures, notes and letters. It could be prayers and spiritual bouquets. Depending on the area you live in, it could mean writing messages in sidewalk chalk outside the church or rectory/parish offices. If you want to send thank you notes specifically for priests, check out these free thank you notes that you could use.

Free Catholic Church Scavenger Hunt

Help your students connect to their Catholic church and the Mass with these FREE scavenger hunts.

Here is a free way to help your students connect to your church - send home these scavenger hunts. It has the items that are included in bingo, BOOM cards and the coloring pages. It can be used as they watch a streamed Mass or even during a virtual tour. And once they are allowed back in the church building, they can take it to Mass with them.

To download your free, Catholic Mass Scavenger Hunt, enter your name and email in the form below and then check your inbox. These should be automatically emailed to you. If you have any problems, check out our FAQs section first. 

Need More Virtual Ideas?

Still need some more virtual learning ideas for your Catholic students? Check out these 10+ ideas for your Catholic virtual calls.