For many children, the Apostles’ Creed is just a very long string of sentences that adults say in church; they may pick up a word or two every now and then, and most learn to memorize it at some point. Teachers and parents can help children learn the meaning behind the words and lay a foundation for understanding the beliefs our Church was formed upon.
History of the Apostles’ Creed
The Apostles’ Creed is said to have been composed by the twelve Apostles. It is basically a summary of what the Apostles believed to be the most important aspects of their faith and is still recited by Catholics today. The beliefs expressed in this concise statement include events of Christ’s life on earth, belief in one true God, and that of the Resurrection. It is important to discuss the separate parts of the Creed with children and explain their meaning, so a deeper understanding of our Catholic faith will be nurtured in them.
- Begin with a short story about the history of the Apostles, such as "The First Christians: The Acts of the Apostles for Children" by Marigold Hunt or "The Apostles" by Pope Benedict XVI (for older kids). "I Believe in God: The Apostles’ Creed" by Fr. Lawrence Lovasik is a picture book and more appropriate for younger kids. Read aloud together; it may be a good idea to summarize lengthier sections or select a few chapters to read.
- Encourage kids to ask questions about the components of the Apostles’ Creed. Try the following for discussion starters:
- What is a creed? (a statement of beliefs)
- Why do you think the Apostles wrote down a creed? (to make a statement about what they believed and to encourage unity among believers)
- Why do you think the first part of the Creed deals with belief in God? (we are to love God above all things)
- Do you think the Apostles said this Creed just among themselves or shared it with others? (accept all reasonable answers)
- Make a copy of the following kid-friendly version of the Apostles’ Creed (see below). Cut each section into strips, to form puzzle pieces. Read the Creed aloud to kids a few times and practice reciting it together. Then, give each child a baggie with the puzzle pieces and have them try to put the pieces in order. Check each to make sure they are in the correct order.
- Have children glue their puzzle pieces to a piece of construction paper and decorate it, if wanted. Make sure they write the title "Apostles’ Creed" and encourage them to display it at home.
The purpose of this activity is to help kids become more familiar with the Apostles’ Creed and to gain a better understanding of what it means. By making it into a "puzzle," kids will have fun learning it and are more likely to retain what they have learned.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Copyright 2010 Kristi McCabe
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