Church History 101
Edge Night Outline
Goal of this Night
The goal of this Edge Night is to introduce the middle school youth to the history of the Catholic Church and to help them to see the unbroken line of the papacy from St. Peter to Pope Benedict XVI.
About this night
As stated in the goal of this Edge Night, the topic for the night is on the history of the Catholic Church. There are a million things to discuss when thinking about the history of the Church, but there has to be a focus. A reminder, that you only have an hour and a half and middle school youth have short attention spans. We have a rich history in the Church of men and women serving, teaching, praying and leading, even in the midst of persecution, war, famine and disaster. Our focus will be on the papacy. The history of the Catholic Church can be traced directly back from Pope Benedict XVI to St. Peter, who received his commission from Jesus Christ: “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church and the powers of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). The leaders of the Catholic Church are human, but they are guided by the Holy Spirit who instructs and leads the Church and the faithful to holiness.
Have fun with the beginning portion of this Edge Night. The idea is to discover an unbroken line of keys that will tie into the Proclaim about the papacy. Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God (Church) is like a treasure that is found in the field and a man sells all he has so he can buy the field. Get the youth thinking about the many uses of keys, but direct them to the importance of being the one who holds the key(s) to their home. The Proclaim will discuss the papacy and the meaning behind the symbol of the keys. Conclude the night by praying for the pope and your local bishop(s).
You will need to gather a lot of keys or cut out keys from construction paper for the opening skit. Each key will represent one pope in the unbroken line from St. Peter to Pope Benedict XVI.
Tonight’s Edge Night was called “Treasure Hunters: Church History 101.” It would be impossible to cover 2,000 years of history in an hour and a half. Our focus tonight was on the history of the papacy from Pope Benedict XVI to St. Peter. At the beginning of the semester, we discussed that Jesus instituted the Catholic Church. Tonight we learned that Peter is the rock, the foundation stone for Jesus’ Church. After Jesus declared Peter as the rock, Jesus gave him “the keys to the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19). The keys of the kingdom represent authoritative teaching, leadership and interpretation of Sacred Scripture. During the week, take some time to read through and discuss Matthew 16:13-20 as a family. Also, remember to pray for Pope Benedict XVI and all the bishops as they seek to lead the Catholic Church to greater holiness.
• Papal flag
• 266 Keys (real or cut-outs)
• String • Poster Board
• “Letter to the Pope” (Handout A page 66)
• Notebook paper
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