Two of my favorite resources for teaching the Catholic faith to children are Catechism of the Seven Sacraments and The Holy Mass, both part of the Building Blocks of Faith Series by Kevin and Mary O’Neill.
One might think that a series of books based on using building bricks to teach the faith would be light on substance, but nothing would be further from the truth. These books are full of solid theology and parents will no doubt learn much reading with their children. They especially focus on showing the connections between the Old and New Testaments (typology) and how God has worked throughout salvation history.
Cynthia and Fulton are the minifigure guides to the series, explaining the faith to children as they discuss it among themselves. The books are written in graphic format with images and text bubbles. Children can learn much from the pictures even if they are too young to fully understand all of the concepts.
Catechism of the Seven Sacraments explores the sacraments from a biblical perspective. There are also explanations of the rite of baptism, how to go to confession, the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, the purposes of marriage, the various degrees of holy orders as well as a discussion of other forms of religious life. The physical and spiritual effects of the anointing of the sick are also covered. Students who use this book will have a solid understanding of the sacraments and their role in our spiritual life.
The Holy Mass on Earth as it is in Heaven provides an in-depth look at the concept of sacrifice as it is developed in the Old and New Testaments especially as it culminates in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The Exodus experience and the significance of Passover is covered in great deal. Clear parallels between Passover and the Catholic Mass are explained. The images of the Mass reflect the Traditional Latin Mass with the priest with his back to the congregation but all of the explanations are appropriate for all Catholics regardless of whether they attend the Novus Ordo or the TLM.
This series is highly recommended for children (and adults!) of all ages. Different ages will gain different information from the presentation. There is so much information included in these pages that more than one reading is needed to truly learn the material. These are books that can be treasured for years.
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