Homelessness K-6 and Domestic Church

Those leading discussion please note that some of the students in your classroom may be experiencing homelessness or have experienced it in the past. Be compassionate and avoid making students share their experience. If a student offers their experience voluntarily be sure to instruct other students about respecting the student’s privacy and be mindful not to press for more information in front of the other students. If your school/parish was unaware of the student’s situation follow local policy on addressing student and family needs.

 

If you are a member of your family is experiencing homelessness contact your local parish/school or a local non-profit that works with homelessness to find out what resources may be available in your community.

 

Opening Prayer

Incline a merciful ear to our cry, we pray, O Lord,

and, casting light on the darkness of our hearts,

 

visit us with the grace of your Son.

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

Amen

(from the collect of prayers Proper of Time: Monday of the Third Week of Advent ; Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved.)

 

Scripture ReadingGospel Reading – Third Sunday of Advent  Luke 3:10-18

Catechesis Video

 

 

Grades K-6

  1. Mary gave birth to Jesus in a manger. God came to us as a poor child with no place to stay. Would you have welcomed Jesus and his family if they came to you in need?
  2. Those who are homeless are the face of Jesus. What does Jesus instruct us to do for those who are homeless/poor?
  3. Does Jesus say some people who are in need are more deserving than others? Why wouldn’t he say that we should only help some people?

Domestic Church (the home)

  1. Mary gave birth to Jesus in a manger. God came to us as a poor child with no place to stay. Would you have welcomed Jesus and his family if they came to you in need?
  2. Those who are homeless are the face of Jesus. What does Jesus instruct us to do for those who are homeless/poor?
  3. Does Jesus say some people who are in need are more deserving than others? Why wouldn’t he say that we should only help some people? Instead the Gospel teaches us that there is no “deserving and undeserving” poor?

Witness Video 

Saint Benedict Joseph Labre – https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-benedict-joseph-labre/

Witness Video Reflection Questions

Grades K-6

  1. After hearing children speak about being homeless, what are your feelings right now?
  2. What are ways you can help those who are homeless?
  3. Every person has a human right to have a home. How does having a home make lives better?

Domestic Church (the home)

  1. After hearing children speak about being homeless, what are your feelings right now?
  2. What are ways you can help those who are homeless?
  3. Every person has a human right to have a home. Has your family ever talked about the reality of homelessness and our call to do something about it? How does having a home make lives better?

Action Steps

Grades K-6

  1. Consider participating or organizing a school activity that serves the homeless and poor like a food drive, serving a meal at a local organization, etc.
  2. Put together gifts bags for the homeless that include toiletries and socks and donate to a local shelter.
  3. If you donate used items to a shelter make sure they are something that you would still wear in public. Often times people donate worn out clothing, clothing with stains, rips, etc. How might you feel if someone was donating this for you to wear? Even though homeless, people deserve to be in nice clothing.
  4. Those who are homeless often lack basic undergarments. While shirts, pants, coats are often available at shelters or discount clothing stores undergarments are not. New undergarments are expensive and donating used undergarments leaves those in need feeling undignified. Organize a sock, underwear, t-shirt drive and donate to shelters. (make sure it is for brand new, in the package items and not used)

Domestic Church (the home)

  1. Talk about homelessness as a family and discuss ways to make sure that when you encounter a homeless person you treat them with respect, kindness, and charity (whether you donate to them or not).
  2. Put together gifts bags for the homeless that include toiletries and socks and donate to a local shelter.
  3. If you donate used items to a shelter make sure they are something that you would still wear in public. Often times people donate worn out clothing, clothing with stains, rips, etc. How might you feel if someone was donating this for you to wear? Even though homeless, people deserve to be in nice clothing.
  4. Those who are homeless often lack basic undergarments. While shirts, pants, coats are often available at shelters or discount clothing stores undergarments are not. New undergarments are expensive and donating used undergarments leaves those in need feeling undignified. Organize a sock, underwear, t-shirt drive and donate to shelters. (make sure it is for brand new, in the package items and not used)
  5. As a family, look up the causes of homelessness in your area and consider discussing these causes with local officials and ways to alleviate homelessness such as more affordable housing, increasing minimum wage, access to healthcare, domestic violence assistance, among others.

Closing Prayer

God of Justice,
open our eyes
to see you in the face of the poor.
Open our ears
to hear you in the cries of the exploited.
Open our mouths
to defend you in the public squares
as well as in private deeds.
Remind us that what we do
to the least ones,
we do to you.
Amen.

—from Being Neighbor, the Catechism and Social Justice,Catholic Campaign for Human Development, ©1998 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

 

Bonus video. Pope Francis speaks on homelessness: