Hunger: Concupiscence, Lust, Spiritual Hunger

The goal of this Life Night is to introduce teens to the virtue of chastity as it stands in opposition to concupiscence. It will challenge teens to recognize their desire for relationships, and to act on that desire in a healthy and chaste way.

This Life Night introduces the virtue of chastity to the teenagers and explains how it can help them overcome concupiscence and experience true freedom. The Life Night begins with a meal that everyone experiences differently. This meal illustrates the three responses we can have to our desire for relationships — starvation, junk food, and a banquet. After the meal teens will process their experience and then hear a teaching about chastity and how the virtue allows us to control our desires and have a healthy relationship with God and others. This teaching leads into men’s and women’s-only sessions where teens will discuss the challenges they face to living chastely and ways to avoid sin. Teens will have an opportunity to pray over each other during these sessions, and will close the night as a large group in prayer.

Liberty: Homosexuality and Freedom

The goal for this night is to present the Church’s teaching on homosexuality in a loving and pastoral way within the context of the Theology of the Body. This Life Night will challenge teenagers to see that freedom is found in obeying God’s will, rather than working against it.

This Life Night addresses the important topic of homosexuality within the context of the Theology of the Body. It is within this context that teenagers will most effectively understand the Church’s teaching, so it is recommended you do not use this Life Night outside of the Theology of the Body curriculum (please see Pastoral Note).

The Life Night begins with a small group activity that challenges teenagers to come up with a definition of “freedom.” This sets up a large group discussion that will challenge teenagers to question how they understand freedom as the ability to do whatever they wish, rather than what is right. The teaching uses the responses that the teenagers give to open up a discussion about the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. There are two options for the Break: The first is to have a panel discussion with various members of your parish community. This panel can field questions about sexuality in general from the teens. The second option is to have a large group discussion with the teenagers about the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and respond to any questions or concerns the teenagers may have. The Send for the Life Night is a prayer around the altar for an increased understanding of the sanctity of marriage in our world, especially among married couples.

Pastoral Note:

This topic is extremely sensitive and is often approached in a non-pastoral way. This Life Night requires a great deal of advanced preparation, prayer, and research. It should not be done outside of the context of the prior four Life Nights in this curriculum (Life, Death, Hunger, Love). The teaching for this Life Night builds on these concepts, and if the prior four Life Nights have not been implemented, there will be too much material to cover.

It is also extremely important to be sensitive to teenagers’ experiences with other teens that are attracted to members of the same gender, or teens that may experience same-sex attraction themselves. This Life Night can evoke a wide range of emotions, so it is important that Christ’s love for all people is repeatedly affirmed along with the Church’s love for all people — and that this love includes calling people toward holiness. Teenagers should not leave the Life Night feeling condemned. The Core Team should be prepared with prayer prior to this Life Night, and be ready to field any questions or responses from the teenagers.

One of these responses may be teens “coming out” to Core Members. It is important to have an action plan on how to handle this situation prior to the Life Night so Core Members are prepared for this scenario. Take time to talk with Core Members about how to respond pastorally with the truth of the Church to a teenager “coming out.” The response should include

  • Listening to the teen
  • Responding with compassion and charity
  • Encouraging the teen to reflect on how God is calling him or her to holiness within that same sex attraction and inviting the teen into the Truth of the Church
  • Committing to talk with the teen over the coming weeks

This may look slightly different in every parish; it is important that in these discussions you remain affirming of the person, without being affirming of homosexual actions. These are challenging conversations to have, and it will help to discuss them prior to the Life Night so Core Members are prepared to respond in a positive manner.

Love: Love as Self-Gift, Definition of Love

The goal of this Life Night is to help teenagers understand the definition of true love, especially as it is expressed within the Sacrament of Marriage. This night will encourage teens not to settle for a lesser form of affection and will challenge  them to live the two great commandments of love.

This Life Night begins with a challenge for the teenagers to define love by listening to popular music. This Gather activity asks teens to listen to music and discuss how each song portrays love, and if they think this is an accurate description of love. This leads into a humorous video that features a camera crew “hunting” for love. The teaching for the Life Night distinguishes between several kinds of love, and why we need to be striving toward a love that gives ourselves to others in sacrifice. It will break open why sex can only take place within marriage between a man and a woman as an expression of conjugal love. The Break and Send for this Life Night allow teenagers to experience Christ’s love through the Eucharist and veneration of the cross.

Death: The Fall, Original Sin

The goal of this Life Night is to explain the effects of the Fall of Adam and Eve and the doctrine of original sin. This Life Night will challenge the teens to recognize the effects of original sin on God’s intended plan for the world, and recognize the necessity of Christ in their redemption.

This Life Night is the second night of the Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness curriculum, and continues where the first Life Night, “Life” left off — in the Garden of Eden. The night begins with an exciting announcement from the youth minister and a simple rule that ultimately gets broken. This transitions into a teaching about the Fall and original sin. During the Break teenagers will have an opportunity to discuss the effects of original sin and concupiscence within the world today. During the Send, the teenagers will renew their baptismal promises and be reminded that Christ has won the victory over sin and death, and that our hope is Him.

Life: Creation

This Life Night will introduce the concept of the complementary nature of the sexes and challenge teens to see members of the opposite sex as reflections of God and as a “help” for their own gender.

This night begins the Life Night series “Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” which has been based around Bl. John Paul II’s audiences, “Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body.” It begins with a fun game that illustrates that men and women complement each other and are better together than they are alone. This game transitions into a video that provides a humorous look at things that do not complement men and women and this provides a foundation for the teaching of the Life Night. The Break gives teens the opportunity to break open the teaching through small group discussion and allows them to build community and trust with the other teens who will be in their small group this semester. The Send is a time of prayer that will give each gender the opportunity to pray over the other for the grace to live as holy disciples of Christ.

The Pursuit of Happiness: Marriage and Celibacy for the Kingdom of God

The goal for this Life Night is to help teenagers understand how the vocations of marriage, holy orders, and the consecrated life all lead us to fulfillment in Christ. It will challenge teens to discern their vocation and how they will offer their lives as a self-gift.

This Life Night concludes the Life Night series “Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” The Life Night begins with a fun game that challenges students to figure out their “secret” identity and then find their pair. The Proclaim and Break for this Life Night are combined into two sessions — the first is about the Sacrament of Marriage, and the second is about celibacy for the kingdom of God, specifically in the Sacrament of Holy Orders and in religious life. Teenagers will switch between these two sessions, will have an opportunity to hear a teaching and testimony, and then ask questions. The Send for this night is a time of prayer for the teens’ future vocations and a challenge to be open to God’s will in their lives.

Liberty Teaching

Jackie Francois shares the beauty of human sexuality, the truth of homosexuality, and the virtue of chastity

Hunger Teaching

Fr. Matt Henry shares the importance of a relationship with God and the struggle with desire and concupiscence

Courting Futility

Examine the attempts of a man and a woman as they search for their perfect match

Love Hunt

Bill Underbight is on the hunt to find a glimpse of true love