Divine Appointment: Sacraments of Healing

The goal of this night is for the middle school youth to come to a greater understanding of what the Sacraments of Healing are and why they are so important. Not only will they learn how each Sacrament is administered, they will also understand the power of Jesus as the Divine Physician and the inner workings of grace in these Sacraments.

This Edge Night focuses on the two Sacraments Healing — Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick. Jesus desires to heal us both physically and spiritually, and He communicates this to us through these Sacraments.

The night begins with a game involving soap bowling. The Proclaim focuses on understanding the two Sacraments of Healing and God’s desire to be our Divine Physician. In small groups, the middle school youth will discuss the talk and write letters to parishioners who are sick or dying. The night will end with a funny skit and a recap of the night with encouragement for the youth to take time for the Sacraments of Healing, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Before The Night 

Talk to your parish staff and get the names of any parishioners who are sick or dying and have requested prayers. The youth will be writing cards of encouragement for them in the midst of their suffering during their Break activity. Ask parents to donate blank cards and envelopes for this activity. Also, create the prayer cards to hand out at the end of the night with the times for Reconciliation at your parish.

Help My Unbelief: Objections to the Sacraments

The goal of this Edge Night is to help the youth understand some common questions about the Sacraments and the role obedience plays in living a sacramental life.

This Edge Night helps answer some common questions many youth have about their faith in relation to the Sacraments. This Edge Night should also help the youth understand that doubt or questions of the Church’s teachings are opportunities for growth in faith and obedience to God. This Edge Night can also be used to recap some of the main teaching points of each Edge Night in the semester.

The Edge Night begins with a small group game that allows the youth to agree or object to a statement. Groups must also explain why they choose to agree or object. After a light-hearted skit, the Proclaim for the night will discuss the topic of doubt and common objections to the Sacraments. The youth will then break into small groups for a time of discussion and an opportunity for prayerful reflection asking God to help their unbelief. The night will close with a time of prayer asking God to help increase the virtue of obedience in the lives of the youth.

Before The Night

Before the Edge Night be sure to practice the skit a number of times. The skit will be better received if the people in the skit are not reading his or her lines. If necessary, have a teen help with the skit by playing the part of the young girl. Create two signs for the Gather activity, one that says “Agree” and one that says “Object.”

What is Love?: Sacraments of Service

The goal of the night is to help the youth understand that they are called to love fully. The night will discuss how the two Sacraments of Service are intended to aid us in learning to love and serve as we are called. An emphasis will be placed on the graces received in these sacraments and how each sacrament is lived out in being a selfless gift to others.

The night will begin with a few fun high-energy games where the youth will be challenged to find their “match.” It will then transition to a talk about the Sacraments of Service and the sacrificial love that is at the heart of both of these sacraments. During the Break the youth will be separated into guys and girls groups for a time of Q&A. The night will conclude with the washing of feet as a true sign of sacrificial love.

Before the Night

Cut paper into strips and put different animal names on each strip of paper for the Gather activity; make sure to have two strips of paper with the same animal name on it.  Pick out the people you want to participate in the girls and guys Q&A Session about vocations; make sure to have an array of married, single, and consecrated men and women to represent each vocation. Pick out a few people to take part in the washing of the feet for the Send activity.

The Pursuit of Happiness: Living the Sacraments

The goal of this night is to get the middle school youth excited about being Catholic and the opportunity they have to receive the Sacraments.

All semester they have been learning about the graces that they receive from each Sacrament, and now is the time to get them excited about actually living out their faith in the Sacraments. Grace is a free gift from God given to us especially in the Sacraments, and the youth should be excited to receive this free gift.

This Edge Night theme will be a game show to emphasize how much people like free things. It will begin with a game show trivia game about what the youth have learned about the different Sacraments. There will then be a teaching about the importance of receiving the free grace of God through the Sacraments. The youth will have some time in small groups to discuss the Sacraments and prayer. Small group time will conclude with the youth making gum sculptures. The Edge Night will end with a wrap up about the Sacraments and a prayer.

Before the Edge Night

Create all the necessary element for the game show. Gather all the pieces for the set and create cue cards for the host. Additionally, create and print cards with the times of Mass and Reconciliation for your parish for the youth to take home.

What’s the Catch?: Sacraments and Grace

The goal for this Edge Night is to give the youth an appreciation for the wonder and awe of the Sacraments. They should come to a deeper understanding that grace is a free gift from God that is offered to us and is necessary for us to live lives to the full. This night is also an introduction to the Sacraments and will briefly introduce the idea that each Sacrament has graces to help us at each stage of our lives.

This night should be a fun first night of the semester. It will hit on the main theme for the semester, which is the role of grace in the Sacraments and the importance of that grace. Emphasize the fact that we get excited to open presents on our birthdays and on Christmas and should be even more excited to receive the gift of grace in the Sacraments.

This night will begin with a fun relay race and some funny YouTube videos of kids opening presents. Then there will be a teaching on the importance of grace and how we receive it in every Sacrament as free, undeserved help from God. Then there will be a time for small groups and the night will end in prayer and an ice cream sundae party.

Before the Night

Wrap clothes and accessories for the relay race at the beginning of the night. You need to have at least one item for each youth in attendance so be sure to collect enough things either from donations or a thrift store. Buy all the supplies for an ice cream sundae bar. Make sure to have the tables set up and all the toppings and ice cream put out before the youth are sent over at the end of the night.

Mysterious Signs: Christ and the Sacraments

The goal of this night is to help the youth understand that the Sacraments come from Jesus Christ and are continued in and through the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church professes that “the sacraments of the new law were…all instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord” (CCC 114). Our Lord did not only institute the seven Sacraments, but is Himself a Sacrament of salvation because He is the perfect revelation of the Trinity. Jesus Christ also completely and perfectly offers Himself as the willing victim, so that those who are dead to sin might have life-everlasting. The mysteries of Christ’s life become the foundations of these seven Sacraments that Jesus entrusts not just to anyone, but only to His apostles. These signs have been faithfully handed on to every bishop and priest for the last 2000 years.

This Edge Night will be themed around “signs.” The night will begin with the youth playing a new twist on the old game “Simon Says.” Instead of them having to use their ears to pay attention, they will have to use their eyes. The Proclaim will focus on the fact that Jesus gave us the Sacraments and will highlight the Scriptural foundations of each of the seven Sacraments. After the Proclaim, each small group will have the opportunity to discuss the main points of the talk and how it relates to them. After the small group questions, each small group will make one collage based on the Sacrament assigned to them. The night will conclude with the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, allowing the youth to focus on the mercy and grace that Christ wants to bestow upon them.

Before The Night

Every small group will need at least a couple of age-appropriate magazines. Ask the Core Team or parents to bring in/donate any extra or unneeded magazines. Also create the signs that will be used for the “Simon Says” game in the Gather activity; these signs should have various actions written on them like “sit,” “jump,” “spin in a circle,” etc. Print off copies of the Litany of the Name of Jesus so the youth can follow along, or be prepared to have it projected or up on a screen.

Full, Active, Conscious: The Mass

The goal of this night is to teach the middle school youth the necessity of full, active, and conscious participation at Mass. The night will include a brief overview of the Mass, emphasize Christ’s true presence at Mass, and give the youth the tools and encouragement they need to fully enter into the Mass every time they attend.

The Constitution on Sacred Liturgy from Vatican II tells us that “all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations” and that “such participation […] is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.” This night breaks open the beauty and richness of the Catholic Mass for our young people. Middle school youth today have many things grabbing their attention — friends, school, media, the newest app, etc. This night will give them the time and opportunity to intentionally focus on the Mass. It will enhance their understanding of the ways in which we encounter God’s true presence in the Eucharist, and how grace and life flows from this source and summit of our faith.

The Edge Night starts with a fun, interactive trivia relay game that will challenge the small group teams to see how much they know about certain aspects of the Mass. The Proclaim will give a brief overview of the parts of the Mass and explain how we encounter Christ in the Mass. The teaching will also challenge the youth to understand why Mass is essential to their faith and how they can and should participate fully. The Break of the night gives the youth the opportunity to reflect upon and rate their participation in specific aspects of Mass. Then, with their group members, they will discuss and come up with ways to work on having full, active, and conscious participation at Mass. During the Send the youth will be challenged to make a “Mass Commitment” by choosing one specific challenge to work on over the next four weeks.

Before the Night

Prepare the questions for the opening trivia game by cutting them into strips and putting them in an envelope for each small group (see page 58). Invite the First Communion students to make posters about the Mass to use as part of your environment for the night (you may need to do this a few weeks in advance so that they have enough time to prepare). The environment requires the set up of an altar to help teach the youth; ask your priest for permission to borrow the different supplies and ask him or a deacon to help you set everything up properly and name each piece.

General Admission: Sacraments of Initiation

The goal of this night is for the middle school youth to have a greater understanding of the Sacraments of Initiation and how they work together to form the foundation of the Christian life. While each Sacrament will be briefly discussed, the emphasis of the night is on the graces received in each Sacrament, how they affect our lives, and why they are so important.

Using an “Admission” theme, this Edge Night will explore the Sacraments of Initiation. The night will begin with a few carnival-like games. After a teaching on the three Sacrament of Initiation — Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation — the youth will have an opportunity to share about the graces they receive from the Sacraments in their lives. The night will end with a time of prayer before the tabernacle.

Before The Night

Create an admission ticket for the youth for this night and hand them out at the previous night; tell them to bring their ticket with them to this Edge Night. It will be their ticket into the night! (Be sure to have some extra on hand at the Edge Night in case the youth forget their ticket; you don’t want them to think they can’t come if they don’t have one.)

Have raffle tickets separated out and ready to give to each youth. Prepare all the games and materials ahead of time (see Gather for more detail) Get carnival-like prizes: bubbles, chalk, huge inflatable hammer, candy, etc.

A Sacramental Life

Follow the journey of a priest as he remembers his life through experiences of the Sacraments

Eucharist Teaching

David Mares teaches about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

A Day In the Life of a Priest

Have you ever wanted to know what a priest does all day? Fr. John Muir allows us to follow him around for a day to see what his day is really like. A day in the life of a priest is full of surprises and joy.

The Return: The Sacrament of Reconciliation

The goal of this Edge Night is to increase the youth’s understanding of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the necessity of this sacrament in our lives. The night will also address some of the misconceptions the youth have about Reconciliation.

This night is going to focus on the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the importance of this sacrament in our lives. Jesus gave the apostles the authority to forgive or bind sins and the sins that are forgiven on earth are forgiven in heaven. This authority is given to the priest to forgive our sins. The Church calls us to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least twice a year, but as we grow and develop in our faith, we should receive the sacrament with greater frequency. Please note, we often hear the words confession or reconciliation in regards to this sacrament. Throughout this night, we will use the word “reconciliation,” but please use the word (confession/reconciliation) that your youth are most familiar with in your community.

This night will start with a fun competition to see who can “Do the Dishes” the fastest to call to mind that we are stained by sin and need the Lord to forgive our sins. This competition will be tied into the Proclaim as an example of what happens to our souls in Reconciliation. The Sacrament spiritually cleanses our souls similar to the way we wash dishes to make them clean. After the competition there will be a skit titled “I Don’t Give a Darn.” This will start out kind of funny with three teens making fun of Confession, but it will end on a serious note. During small group, the youth will be able to discuss their thoughts and possible fears about going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Finally, there will be an examination of conscience to help the youth understand their need for God’s mercy.

Before the Night
You will need to prepare the dirty plates for the opening activity. You want to make sure the plates are dirty and the food dried on the plates.

You will also need to communicate with your pastor about the night so that he can be present if there are any questions and/or provide the opportunity for the youth to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Comfort and Joy: The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick

The goal of this Edge Night is to help the youth understand the Sacrament for the Anointing of the Sick as a sacrament of strength and healing of body, mind, and soul. The Edge Night will also clarify misconceptions about the sacrament.

Anointing of the Sick is one of the two Sacraments of Healing (Reconciliation is the other). In the past, Anointing of the Sick was thought of as “Last Rites” and only received if one was about to die or the person was really old. Receiving an anointing is one way to the Church helps us prepare for death; however, the sacrament is also a sign of Jesus’ healing presence in the world. Tonight, we will discuss who can receive the sacrament and when and for what purpose. Read paragraph 1532 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church carefully to better the effects of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

From the beginning of the Edge Night, the youth will have a sense that this sacrament of healing is meant to bring comfort to the body, mind and soul. The opening activity will allow them to talk about how they feel when they are sick. The Proclaim will give the youth background on the sacrament as well as how and when the sacrament is administered. Use the two media suggestions to give the youth visual examples of the topic during the Proclaim. In small group, the youth will discuss their own fears about being sick and how they can rely on God for strength. Close the night with the Edge group praying with someone as he/she receives the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

Before The Night
Prepare a list of the people from your parish’s prayer line who are sick and have asked for prayer. If your parish does not have a prayer line/list, ask for permission to place a notebook/journal in the church so parishioners can write his/her own name and/or the name(s) of others in need of prayer for healing. Have a Core Member at each Mass who can encourage people to sign the book.

One possibility is also to celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick with someone (possibly a youth/teen) who is ill and/or will have surgery soon. Check with your priest before scheduling the sacrament. This will be a part of the Closing Prayer at the end of the night.

Two Become One: The Sacrament of Marriage

The goal of this Edge Night is to discuss that marriage as a sacrament and a covenant between one man and one woman. The youth will learn the importance and significance of the vows and symbols used during the marriage ceremony.

Marriage is a covenant made between a man and a woman. The sacrament mirrors the relationship between Jesus and His Church, but we see the design for marriage and the family from the book of Genesis. Marriage is the oldest institution in human history. It is the institution of one man and one woman joined together in union “until death do us part.” Man was created in God’s image and from man came woman – they were of one flesh. Although there have been many views of marriage throughout the centuries, as Catholics, we believe that through marriage the two become one. The discussion for this Edge Night is to focus on marriage as a sacrament between one man, one woman, and God.

This night has a lot of possibilities depending on what you are able to accomplish prior to the night. The Edge Night begins with a fun three-legged race to help the youth see how “two become one.” Next, the youth will see a clip from the animated movie Up by Disney/Pixar. Process with them the life-long commitment the couple makes to each other. There will be less time in small group tonight because of the activities at the beginning of the night. However, be sure to break into small groups so the youth can process what they are hearing and learning. The night will conclude with a couple from the parish (possibly from Core Team) renewing their wedding vows.

Before The Night
Ask a couple from your parish, possibly from your Core Team, to renew their wedding vows during the Edge Night. Contact your pastor and/or a deacon to be present to officiate the ceremony.

Also, ask the Core Team to bring popcorn or another easy-to-share snack for the youth to have during the movie clip (see Media Suggestions).

Not by Bread Alone: The Sacrament of the Eucharist

The goal of this Edge Night is to grow not only in our understanding of what the Eucharist is but to fall more in love with the person of Christ in the Eucharist. The group will make a transition in discussion from the bread that we need to physically sustain ourselves to an appreciation of the Eucharist being our spiritual nourishment.

The topic of this night is the Sacrament of the Eucharist: the source and summit of everything we do as Catholic Christians. The Eucharist is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation where we become initiated into the life of the Church and into the very life of God Himself. It is in the Eucharist where we become united with Christ and are nourished to live like Christ in all that we do. As Catholics, we believe in the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. At the Last Supper, Christ instituted the Eucharist and gave the apostles the command, “Do this in memory of me.” Through our receiving of the Eucharist, we become a living tabernacle because Jesus’ very life is within us.

This night begins with a service project where the whole group will put together bag lunches for the homeless in the area. Each person will have a task so that everyone is involved in this project. It is important to note that our call to serve comes from the Eucharist – Jesus gave His very life so that we may live. The night will transition into a teaching on the Eucharist focusing on the Eucharist as being central in our life. During small group time the youth will be able to discuss the main points of the Proclaim. Also in small groups, they will discuss and create an Outreach Ministry. This is a way for the youth to find a way to serve others in their community. For the Closing Prayer, the youth will move into a time of Adoration. Because this night is on the Blessed Sacrament, it will be important to have enough time to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. This time will end with the Litany of the Blessed Sacrament.

Before The Night
You will be preparing several bag lunches. Before the night you should decide whether or not you will donate these lunches to a nearby homeless shelter or pass them out to homeless people in the area. If you are donating them to a homeless shelter then you will want to contact them prior to the date to ensure that your donation will be accepted. Also, ask the shelter the best types of foods to be included in the bag. Often people in shelters have poor dental hygiene and cannot chew or bite into some foods like apples. Ask the parish to donate items needed for the service project – this would be a great way for the parish to help your Edge ministry. At the conclusion of the night, recruit adult volunteers to drop off the bag lunches with you.

Also, since you will be closing with Adoration, invite a priest or deacon to be present to expose the Blessed Sacrament for your group.

Welcome to the Party!: Introduction to the Sacrament

The goal of this Edge Night is to introduce the middle school youth to the seven sacraments and for the youth to begin to see them as gifts from God that make present here on earth a reality of his life and grace within us. The youth will understand that sacraments do something in our lives and that they are a way for us to experience God more profoundly.

Some of the middle school youth may feel that this semester topic on sacraments has been done before and they “know it all” when it comes to these topics. This night will reintroduce the idea that God is trying to break into their lives through seven particular ways. This night is meant to build upon the foundation they have received from previous formation on this topic and leave with a better understanding of how the sacraments are meant to experience God and receive His grace.

The night begins with the youth being greeted by the various “sacraments” walking around the room. The youth will compete in a small group scavenger hunt based upon items used in each of the sacraments. The teaching tonight will unveil the new semester topic and will present an overview of sacraments and why we have them and what they do. There will be an opportunity in small groups to find in Scripture where the sacraments come from and how Christ instituted them. The night will conclude with a challenge for all the youth to frequent the sacraments at their parish as much as possible.

Before The Night
Fill out the “Sacrament Pledge Card” (Handout C on pages 13-14) with your parish’s information on the sacraments. Be sure to list pertinent information (websites, phone numbers) to provide the youth with as much information as possible.

Marked by God: The Sacrament of Baptism

The goal of this Edge Night is to allow the middle school youth to grow in their understanding of the Sacrament of Baptism. They will understand that through this sacrament, they are “marked by God” with an indelible mark and will also understand that this sacrament is the foundation for all the other sacraments.

The Sacrament of Baptism is one of those sacraments that we hear a lot about, but often we forget about the true importance of the sacrament. There are a lot of signs and symbols used during the Sacrament of Baptism that point to the deeper realities that we are washed clean of our original sin, we become a new creation, we become adopted children of God, we become members of the Church, and we receive an indelible mark on our souls that claims us for God. It is through this sacrament that we first receive sanctifying grace to live our lives as Christ has called us.

The night will begin with a game called Jenga. The game will illustrate the firm foundation of Baptism for the other sacraments. For the Proclaim, there are a couple of options. If you are able to have an actual Baptism during the Edge Night, then the majority of the night will be the Baptism with the priest or deacon instructing as necessary. If not, then a full teaching and witness is recommended. Small group time will include some questions as well as an opportunity to create a song, rap, or poem. The conclusion of the night will be a renewal of Baptismal promises.

Before The Night
Collect and scan baby photos of your Core Members for the Environment. Be sure to put them into a digital photo display program or PowerPoint with their names on the photos so that the middle school youth may know whose picture belongs to which Core Member.

Baptism: This portion of the night will take some preparation beforehand to secure a couple that is willing to have their child baptized during an Edge night. It may take some work, but it is well worth it. If you are able to do this during the night, consider having this part of the night (or the whole night) take place in the Church or chapel, whichever setting would work best for your group.

Be sure to have the priest and/or deacon include the middle school youth when appropriate during the Baptism. Ask the priest/deacon to explain what is happening during the Baptism, especially the various signs and symbols used. This will help to keep the youths’ attention during the Baptism.

Called By God: The Sacrament of Holy Orders

The goal of this night is that the middle school youth will come to a better understanding and appreciation of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. They will learn about the path to ordination, understand their parish clergy better, and begin to pray about their own vocation.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders is a “Sacrament at the Service of Communion” and towards the salvation of others. This night will introduce the youth to the ordination of a man to the diaconate, priesthood, and episcopacy. When Jesus appeared to the apostles after the Resurrection, He gave them the authority to continue the ministry of the priesthood – to offer sacrifice, to preach, and to grant forgiveness of sins. This ministry has been passed on from the apostles to the bishops with the authority to ordain men to the priesthood through the Sacrament of Holy Orders. At a Life Teen training convention, a priest shared the following: “I didn’t become a priest because I couldn’t get married. I became a priest because I felt the Lord calling me to serve the Catholic Church through the priesthood.”

The night begins with a small group game that allows the youth to see their priests and deacons in a human light. The teaching of the night will break open the message of this Sacrament, followed by an opportunity for a priest or deacon to share with the youth the joys of their service to the Church. The youth will have a unique opportunity to express their appreciation for their priests by writing letters or making cards. The conclusion of the night will allow the middle school youth to pray for their own vocation, as well as for vocations to Holy Orders for people in their parish.

Before The Night
Ask your parish clergy to be present for the night. Also, get with them beforehand to prepare the “Name that Clergy” game to be used for the Gather portion of the night. If possible, invite the priest(s) to offer the witness talk during the evening.

Wait, Didn’t I Graduate?: The Sacrament of Confirmation

The goal of this Edge Night is to explain to the middle school youth that Confirmation completes their Baptism and that it is not a graduation from Church. The youth will learn that an outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurs at Confirmation and they will understand that the important role the Holy Spirit plays in their lives and how they are now responsible for spreading and defending the faith.

The Sacrament of Confirmation is another outpouring of the Holy Spirit that follows Baptism. It is important to note that we receiving the Holy Spirit at our Baptism; we do not receive “more” Holy Spirit at our Confirmation. At our Confirmation we receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that stirs up the seven gifts of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, courage, reverence, wonder and awe, and right judgment. We also receive the grace to carry out the Christian life. The night will concentrate on the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the duty we have to defend and protect the faith, and the commitment one has when confirmed to live out the faith. Due to the fact that many dioceses confer the sacrament at different ages, it will be important to tie your local custom in when discussing the Sacrament of Confirmation.

The night, all done with the backdrop of a graduation, begins with a silly and fun game that uses fruit to focus the youth on the fruits of the Holy Spirit that we experience as we live out our Catholic faith. During the Proclaim, there will be a skit that shows a few people talking about graduating from church as a false understanding of this Sacrament. The teaching will convey the graces that are received from this Sacrament to help us grow in our understanding of being Catholic, to defend the Church, as well as the courage to be a witness of the Gospel to the world. There are a few options for small group. The night concludes with a large group prayer service praying for certain gifts.

Before The Night
Ask a recently Confirmed teen to offer the witness talk for the night. The witness talk should focus on his/her experience and how he/she has grown in faith. Be sure to have the teen practice his/her witness with you prior to the night to ensure the content is correct and the message is delivered well.

The Divine Life

This video of the seven Sacraments contains graphics that make Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s voice.

Papa Say!

This is the game that when the Papa says something, you do it. Don’t get this confused with Simon Says… because this is PAPA SAYS.

Sacraments Loop

This loop is of the Sacraments. It can be used during an Edge Night about the Sacraments.