Sept 17-24, 2017 – Death Penalty – K-6 & the Domestic Church


Opening Prayer

Oh my God, I am heartily sorry,

for having offended thee.

And I detest all of my sins because of the loss of heaven

and the pains of hell.

But most of all,

I offended thee my God

Who are all good and deserving of all of my love

I firmly resolve with the help of they grace

to confess my sins

to do penance

and amend my life.


(“Act of Contrition”)



Matthew 18:21-35

Catechesis video on forgiveness and mercy

k-6 grade

  1. Have you ever had someone hurt you? Was it difficult to forgive them?
  2. Did you ever want to get back at someone for hurting you? Why is this not the way Jesus wants us to treat others who have hurt us?
  3. There are people who hurt others with violence, murder and other sins. Why do you think the Church teaches that their punishment shouldn’t include the death penalty in our country?
  4. Jesus was a victim of the death penalty. The people didn’t like what he was doing and saying because it went against the laws of the people of Israel at the time. How should the crowd of people have responded to Jesus, even though he was breaking the religious law?

Domestic Church – the family

  1. What does forgiveness have to do with how we punish people who commit crimes?
  2. How does mercy connect with people who have committed violent crimes?
  3. Is it easy to forgive those who hurt us?
  4. What does God want us to do with people who hurt us or others?

Witness Video (warning, graphic story of violence. please review and decide if your group is mature enough for the video. If not, share the story of Maria Goretti and Alesandro in a more appropriate way through discussion)

St. Maria Goretti was an 11-year-old girl who was attacked by a man named Alessandro Serenelli. He attempted to rape her and when she fought back, he stabbed her and left her for dead. She died from her wounds shortly after.  Before she died she proclaimed her forgiveness of Alessandro ““I forgive Alessandro Serenelli … and I want him with me in heaven forever.”

Alessandro went to prison but his conversion is a miracle.


Witness Video Questions

k-6 grade

  1. What can we learn from St. Maria Goretti’s love and mercy towards Allesandro?
  2. Allesandro went to prison but was given the chance for conversion. How did he grow to become a better man after he did such a horrible thing?
  3. Allesandro seemed like a hopeless cause, blaming Maria for her own death for many years afterwards. What changed?

Domestic Church – the family

  1. St. Maria Goretti forgave Allesandro for what he did to her. How did Maria’s forgiveness affect Allesandro?
  2. What is the most difficult thing about forgiving someone who has hurt us or others?
  3. What can we do to live the corporal work of mercy “visit the imprisoned” for those who have harmed other people?

Take Action

k-6 grade

  1. Learn about Restorative Justice and discuss how it fulfills that commandment to love our enemies.
  2. Pray for the children and families of people who are imprisoned.
  3. Pray for victims of violence.
  4. Invite someone who has successfully completed a restorative justice program to speak to your class.

Domestic Church – the family

  1. Learn about Restorative Justice and how it relates to ending the death penalty.
  2. Pray for the families of those who are victims of violence as well as the families of those who are in prison.
  3. Write a letter from your whole family to legislators to support restorative justice programs.
  4. Spend 4 Fridays in a row fasting and abstaining from meat, praying to end the death penalty in the United States and across the world.

Closing prayer

Response: Lord protect all human life.

For the men and women who sit on death row,
awaiting the end of their life:
that we might pray for them
with compassion and care;
We pray to the Lord:

For those who have lost hope,
and especially for those condemned to die:
that we might work to save their lives;
We pray to the Lord:

For those condemned to die,
and especially for men and women on death row:
that their plight might move the hearts of the people of this nation;
We pray to the Lord:

For guards on death row,
and all who touch the lives of those condemned to die:
for compassion, respect,
and an appreciation of the dignity of all human life;
We pray to the Lord:

homebutton - washington