teach the conclave2With the beginning of the conclave soon upon us, this historic moment in time is the perfect opportunity to teach our children (and ourselves) about the process of selecting our next Pope. As my friend and fellow blogger Rocco Palmo said recently, this is the "first social media conclave of the Church".

The good news about so much media attention shining upon the Vatican is that this is a perfect chance for families to really learn about and become prayerfully engaged in the selection process. Obviously we do not have "votes", but our Cardinals need and have requested our intercessory prayers. I thought I'd share some amazing tools I've found to help you bring the conclave to life in your home or classroom:

Screen-Shot-2013-02-27-at-2.37.40-PM1. Adopt a Cardinal -- I enjoyed this one for myself last week, being technologically matched with my new adoptive Cardinal, Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston. The process is simple: visit AdoptACardinal.org, answer a few questions online and be matched with a Cardinal. To date, 287,808 people have signed on to pray for our Cardinals. "Adopting" a Cardinal helps your child to learn about him, to find his home diocese on a map, and to prayerfully remember someone who will actually be at the conclave. You might even have your child write his or her  Cardinal a letter.

Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 5.11.30 PM2. Fantasy Conclave - Think "March Madness", but with a different set of brackets. FantasyConclave.com is the brainchild of three trusted Catholic apostolates and encourages you to engage in the process by imagining the outcome of the papal election process. Have questions about the whole "pick a pope" thing? Visit the website and find out why they think this is a great tool to learn about and to share the conclave process.

3. How to Become a Pope Video - This one is simple: watch a simple five minute video that spells out in simple terms the conclave process.

[youtube_sc url=http://youtu.be/kF8I_r9XT7A]

conclave-lesson-plan4. Papal Conclave Lesson Plan - From TheReligionTeacher.com, one of my favorite online resources for great catechetical tools, comes a fully-appointed Papal Conclave Lesson Plan. Jarod Dees has done all of the heavy lifting to put together a tool that will help you educate your children or students.  Be sure to check out the comments on the post for some additional tools to use in your home or classroom.

Guess Who cardinals5. Guess Who The Cardinals - Our friends at EquippingCatholicFamilies.com have created a downloadable template for you to use with your "Guess Who" game to get to know all of the Cardinals who will be attending the conclave. Free to download with a code that you'll find in this post, Guess Who The Cardinals will be a super fun way to learn the names and stories of the electors.

6. Hold a Mock Conclave of Your Own - Always one to share great information, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (aka "Fr. Z") has a post at his blog about the amazing faculty and students at St. Louis Catholic School in Virginia and the "Mock Conclave" they held at school. Click through to see the amazing array of photos of young Swiss Guard members, Cardinals, and even the newly (MOCK) elected pope. Obviously this school went to some pretty amazing lengths to realistically follow the process - this is a lesson these young students will remember for a lifetime.

Are you teaching your children about the conclave process? Please share your ideas, great tools you've found, and questions you've encountered in our comments section below. 

Copyright 2013 Lisa M. Hendey