Edge Social Justice Semester Intro

This intro video features Mark Hart detailing some of the important aspects and topics of this Edge Semester on Social Justice. This video provides an easy way for the youth minister and Core Team to get acquainted with what is in the box and know what special resources to look for and how to utilize […]

The Do’s and Don’ts of Corporal Works of Mercy

Abrasive Abner is at it again! This comical short video reveals some of the common reactions that youth have towards the Corporal Works of Mercy. Featuring Timid Timmy as the example of common ways that youth fail to be charitable, Charitable Chelsea who is the perfect example of true mercy to those in need, and […]

Messtival: An Edge Social Night

The goal of this social is for the middle school youth to grow in community and get to know one another. It is also a great way to invite new youth and evangelize.

This is a super fun Edge Night that will require a lot of organization to run smoothly. The night begins with prayer and a brief introduction. Then the youth will break into teams and participate in a series of messy games. The youth minister or a designated Core Member should take the lead during the messy games and make sure that everything is explained well. Have the other Core Members facilitate the games and always be one step ahead in preparing for the next activity.

Before The Night

Send out some notice and tell all middle school youth to come dressed in clothes they do not mind getting messy and that are sports appropriate. All youth should wear a dark colored shirt (no white t-shirts). Have extra shirts just in case youth forget to bring an old one or brings a white shirt instead. Also, tell the youth to invite at least one friend who may not normally attend Edge, as this is a great way to do some evangelization and outreach.

Before the youth arrive make sure to have the environment set up and all the supplies for each game ready to go.

With The Eyes of Christ: An Edge Issue Night on Self Image

The goal of this Edge night is to lead the middle school youth closer to Christ by showing them how Christ sees them. They will learn that they are created in the image and likeness of God and that they are all unique.

This Edge Night will begin with a skit about self-image and then move into a talk about the importance of seeing ourselves through the eyes of Christ. The youth will have an opportunity to think of different ways that they define themselves and start to process ways to see themselves as perfect creations of God. They will also be given Bible verses to look up about positive self-image. The Edge Night will end with praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

Before The Night

Meet with your Core Team to plan out the Edge Night in a way that will work best for your parish and youth. Divide up tasks for the night, create the posters for the environment, and gather all of the needed supplies. Make sure to have enough bibles for the small groups during the break activity.

INSPIRE[D]: An Edge Night For Life Teen's Annual Theme

The goal of this Edge Night is to introduce the youth to Life Teen’s annual theme, INSPIRE[D].This night will help the youth understand what qualities make a truly inspiring person by looking at the lives of the saints. The youth will also understand that God is the one who ultimately inspires us through His gift of life and the way in which we choose to live.

This Edge Night begins with a game that challenges the youth to make their own hero. They will be encouraged to think of all the qualities that make a true hero. The Proclaim will focus on God as the true inspiration of all people and how He gives us the gifts to live extraordinary lives and achieve sainthood. The Break gives the youth a chance to learn the stories of a few saints and to see the characteristics that God gave them to become true heroes of the faith. The Edge Night will end with a prayer to the Holy Spirit to continue to inspire the youth and guide them according to the will of God.

Before The Night

Gather all the materials needed for the Edge Night. Watch the videos from Media Suggestions and decide which one to show during the Gather. Also, have the Core Members trace themselves on large sheets of butcher paper for the opening activity, there should be one paper with a traced outline per small group.

The Hunger Games: An Edge Night on Feeding the Hungry and Giving Drink to the Thirsty

The goal of this Edge Night is to broaden the youths’ perspective on the world, particularly by looking at poverty around the globe. This reality of poverty will then be extended to the idea that the deepest hunger in the world is the hunger for God, even if most people do not realize it. Christ calls us to feed the poor; the youth will see that this is not only in physical matters, but also in spiritual.

The night will begin with a tangible breakout of how the population of the world is divided, and how the majority of the world actually lives in poverty. The Proclaim will express the duty we have to feed and care for our less fortunate brothers and sisters, not only in meeting their physical hunger but also their spiritual hunger. The youth will also have an opportunity to make sack lunches to send to the local homeless shelter. The night will end with the story and prayer of Blessed Pier Giorgio, who gives us a model of how we can feed the hungry in word and deed.

Before The Night

Ask a Core Member to prepare a brief talk about the life of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati to be used at the end of the Edge Night.

Contact your local homeless shelter or homeless outreach program and arrange to bring sack lunches for the homeless and poor that they serve. Be sure to get an estimated number of how many lunches they need and if there are any restrictions on what foods can be put in the bag lunches. If your parish does not have the budget to provide all the supplies for the sack lunches, a few weeks prior to this night, give the youth and their parents a list of things you need for lunches and have them each bring an item.

Just Visiting: An Edge Night on Visiting the Imprisoned

The goal of this Edge Night is to teach youth about the call to be compassionate and forgiving by practicing the Corporal Work of Mercy of visiting the imprisoned.

Jesus teaches us and shows true compassion, redemption, and forgiveness. Those who have broken the law are often sent to jail or prison. As Christians, we are called to practice compassion by the work of visiting the imprisoned, which is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy. During the night, the youth will explore how to act with compassion and how they can practically participate in this Work of Mercy.

During the Gather, two games will be played to get the youth thinking about the imprisoned and how they can step outside of their comfort zones to reach out to those people. This transitions into the Proclaim, which teaches the power of forgiveness and compassion to help those who are imprisoned. The Break offers an opportunity for discussion with an activity for small groups to write a letter to an inmate. The Send reminds middle school youth of the need to pray for the imprisoned, ending with reciting the Prayer of St. Dismus.

Before the Night

Collaborate with the parish or diocesan jail/prison ministry coordinator to find out practical ways the youth can help in this particular ministry. Ask the coordinator to brief you on local jail/prison and juvenile detention policies and procedures.  Be sure to find out what the regulations and processes are about sending letters to inmates. Collect all the materials for the environment and prepare for the opening Gather game, be sure to read through the game well ahead of time to know what you need to make.

Also, as a Core Team, check out and read the article in AMPLIFY 6 entitled “Breaking Through Shackles” which discusses a personal experience of a young woman as a prison minister.

For The Love of God: An Edge Night on Clothing the Naked

The goal of this night is to invite youth into a deeper relationship with God and community, recognizing the many gifts in their lives and the universal call to share those gifts with our brothers and sisters in need, in particular through the Corporal Work of Mercy clothing the naked. The hope of the night is that the youth will see the need of those around them for the essential necessity of clothing and be more willing to give throughout the year.

This night will begin with handing over an article of clothing that they have brought to donate as admission into the night. In a small group competition, the youth will write down as many personal clothing articles owned as possible in ten minutes. This activity will lead into a teaching on the Corporal Work of Mercy to clothe the naked. The youth will then discuss ways they can be generous out of their surplus. The Edge Night will end with the story of St. Vincent de Paul and a prayer to him for those in need.

Before The Night 

Prior to the night, tell the Edge youth to bring an article of clothing as a donation and admission into the Edge Night. Get the word out about this clothing drive in whatever mode of communication works best at your parish so that they whole parish can participate. If someone shows up without an article of clothing, have extras on hand to give to him or her for admission.

Operation Body and Soul: An Edge Night on Burying the Dead

The goal of this Edge Night is for the middle school youth to understand the sacredness of the human body, which incorporates the Corporal Work of Mercy to bury the dead. Although decisions about burial and funerals are left to adults, there are practical ways middle school youth can practice this work of mercy.

The call to bury the dead as a Corporal Work of Mercy offers an opportunity for us to look at the sacredness of the body. Even after death, the body is not disregarded and discarded, it is treated with respect and care because we have faith and hope in the Resurrection of the body. During this Edge Night, the youth will come to a better understanding of the sacredness of the body (even after death), while learning ways to live out this Work of Mercy.

The Gather has youth playing a game involving Cavity Sam from the board game Operation©. It is followed by the Proclaim, which focuses on the sacredness of the body and respecting the body after death. The Break offers a time of discussion that leads to a card-making activity for the deceased of the parish. The youth will pray for the dead during the Send with a Litany for the Dead.

Before the Night

Contact the person at your parish who oversees the funeral Masses. Ask them for some names of the families of parishioners who have recently passed away for the youth to make cards for at your upcoming Edge Night.

Love One Another: Introduction to the Corporal Works of Mercy

The goal of this Edge Night is to introduce the youth to the semester on the seven Corporal Works of Mercy.  The night will emphasize the call to love one another and the dignity of every human person.

This is the introduction night to the semester on the Corporal Works of Mercy.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “by his reason, man recognizes the voice of God which urges him ‘to do what is good and avoid what is evil.’  Everyone is obliged to follow this law, which makes itself heard in conscience and is fulfilled in the love of God and of neighbor. Living a moral life bears witness to the dignity of the person” (1706).  This Edge Night is an opportunity to guide the youth to a fundamental understanding of the call to love one another.  It is through the fulfillment of this call that we meet Christ in our neighbor and fully function as brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.

The Edge Night starts with a fun and simple physical challenge where the youth will explore whether a task is easier to accomplish on their own or with a partner/group.  The teaching gives a brief overview of the seven Corporal Works of Mercy and focuses on what it means for the middle school youth to love their neighbor as Christ calls them to.  The small group time is an opportunity to answer some challenging questions about why we sometimes do not help those in need.  The youth will also be asked to identify and pray for some individuals in their lives with whom they can share the love of Christ. The night ends with a personal testimony and song.

Before the night

Pick out a Core Member, preferably a high school teen, to give a testimony during the Send about what it means to them to love others with the love of Christ. Be sure to hear the testimony before the Edge Night. Gather all of the supplies needed for the activities and for the environment.

Living The Option: Serving The Poor

The goal of this Edge Night is to help the youth grow in awareness of what our Catholic faith teaches about serving the poor. This night will help the middle school youth see what the poor can teach us about loving God.

The Catholic Social Teaching we will focus on for this Edge Night is called “preferential option for the poor and vulnerable.” Blessed John Paul II wrote: “By virtue of her own evangelical duty, the church feels called to take her stand beside the poor…” (On Social Concerns). The Church calls for us not only to have a charitable heart, but that we ensure that the rights and needs of the poor protected and provided for. The Church believes strongly that it is our responsibility to stand beside the poor and to help defend the most vulnerable in our society.

The topic of this night is about serving the poor. The night will begin with an activity focusing on six of the seven corporal works of mercy. The night will transition into the teaching with the gospel reading from Matthew 25:31-46. The focus will be on feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, sheltering the homeless, and clothing the naked. In their small group discussion, they will talk about ways they can be of service to the poor. The closing prayer will challenge the youth to see what the poor can teach us about loving God.

Near And Far: Solidarity

The goal of this Edge Night is to help the youth understand the Catholic Church’s teaching on solidarity and call them to action in living it out. The night focuses on love of neighbor and how Jesus Christ shows us not only the dignity of humanity, but also how to respond the needs of those around us.

This night is closely connected to the “Dignity of the Human Person” Edge Night, but focuses more on love of neighbor as the middle school youth explore solidarity. To help the youth better understand solidarity, the night focuses a lot on the teachings on Blessed Pope John Paul II and the example of Christ in loving our neighbor. In becoming man, Jesus shows us the importance of humanity and also how to live our shared humanity. Jesus was present as a human person in the world and clearly taught us to treat one another as brothers and sisters. Because of this oneness of man, we are called to help those around us. Solidarity is a firm commitment to the common good, not simply when there is a tragedy or when feeling sorry for someone we encounter. Solidarity, which flows from our faith, is an understanding that we are “the body of Christ” and we are united by our humanity and dependence on God.

The night will begin with a fun game that introduces love of neighbor. Following the icebreaker game, the Proclaim will start with love of neighbor, explain Christ’s example of that love, and challenge the youth to live out solidarity locally and globally. The talk also includes the story of the Notre Dame boxing team’s annual charity intramural tournament that donates proceeds to impoverished Bangladesh. As the youth will see in the YouTube video, the story was filmed as a documentary to show the connection between the college boxers and the people they are helping halfway around the world. After the Proclaim, the middle school youth will break into small groups for discussion and brainstorming on solidarity. After the small group activities, the night will move into a time of prayer to show the youth that prayer is always a true sign of solidarity and one action we can take every day.

Needs and Wants: Greed and Materialism

The goal of this Edge Night is to help the youth keep in perspective the things they want and desire in life. If they can recognize the difference between wanting and needing something, they can avoid falling into traps of greed and getting caught up in the materialism of the world.

Greed and materialism is a difficult topic for us to explore because it challenges all of us to take stock of what we have, what we want, and how blessed we truly are. We read in Scripture, “Do not love the world of the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). To have material goods is not bad, but the Church warns us that we should not be consumed by the desire to have material goods. Greed and materialism take our focus off of loving God and our neighbor and place it on loving “things.” The focus of tonight will be on differentiating between our needs and our wants – and on sharing the excess that we do have.

For the Edge night tonight, we will start out by making commercials trying to sell something the youth come up with. This will give a glimpse into how we are all convinced we need things that we really do not need. It would be great for someone who has been on a mission trip to give the Proclaim for this night – to help give the perspective of how blessed people who have less than us truly are. The youth will be creating lists of what they want for their birthday, what they own now that they truly need, and what they own now that they do not really need. Those lists will lead to a reflection on recognizing how much we do have and a challenge to share with those who have much less.

With All Your: The Greatest Commandment

The goal of this Edge Night is to show that God is first and foremost commanding us to love Him and make Him the center of our lives. Our love of others and of ourselves will flow correctly when we keep God first in our lives.

All of the laws and all of the prophets hang on what we call the Greatest Commandment – and the Greatest Commandment centers around making God the center of our lives. If we truly love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength then our lives will be correctly ordered. What Jesus was saying when He said this was the Greatest Commandment is that if we love God, then we will want to follow His other commands – we will want to attend Mass each week, we will keep God’s name sacred, and we will love God more than we want what other people have. God wants to be the top priority in our lives, and He wants us to say yes to Him with our entire being.

Honing in on this idea of having God as the top priority of our lives, we will start out by listing the things that we love – paring these down with our small groups to a top ten list. After this first small group time, there is an opportunity to talk about what we love – and how we sometimes have our lives out of order. The Proclaim will flow from this idea as it focuses in on God as a jealous God who wants to be our top priority. In the Break, the youth will take this to a practical level when they schedule out their days so they can see where they spend their time – and how they can fit in more time for God in their daily lives. The Send will reflect upon loving with our whole heart, whole soul, whole mind, and whole strength.

Life Is Wonderful: Life Issues

The goal of this Edge Night is to teach the youth that human life is sacred at all stages and to help them understand the Church’s moral stance on the major life issues. The night will concentrate on God as Giver of Life and our role in overcoming the culture of death.

This Edge Night is all about life issues and helping the youth understand the dignity and sanctity of human life. Our Church teaches us that life is a gift given by God. From the moment of conception to natural death, all life is sacred and should be protected. As Catholics, we are called to see life as precious and to speak up for the most vulnerable in our society. This Edge Night will cover several important topics and give the youth an understanding of why the Catholic Church rejects any attack on human life: abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, and the death penalty.

The session uses Christmas as a theme to help the youth relate to the joy of life and to convey the truth of God as giver of life. After creating a collage showing life in small groups, the topic is further introduced in the unwrapping of gifts containing symbols of the various major life issues. The Proclaim begins with a video clip from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, which will point to the joy of human life and its God-given nature. After the talk, there will be small group discussions reflecting on the topic, during which each group will pray the “Prayer for Life” together. When the youth gather back for the Send, they will reflect on the Annunciation and Mary’s life, which will lead into a prayer asking for her intercession.

Around The Table: Dignity of the Family

The goal of this Edge Night is to teach the youth about the dignity of the family so that they learn that in the community of the family we are called to love, forgive, and pray. The youth will also learn that we are all part of the larger family of God.

Before The Night:

  • Get volunteers to help with the opening dinner activity.
  • Preview and set up the video clip for the teaching.
  • Have the teen giving the witness practice it for you and other Core Members ahead of time.

Tonight we will talk about the dignity of the family. In a document from the Church called Gadium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World), the Church tells us this about the family: “The well-being of the individual person and of human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life.” The family is the first and most basic unit of society. The family unit is where we are to come to know God and to be nurtured and thus form communities of faith. The Church teaches that the family is the “Domestic Church” and the foundation for Christian life starts within the family. Jesus came into the world through the way of the family. The Holy Family is an example to every human family to learn about love and charity. As Catholics, we are called to defend the dignity of the family.

This night starts off with a family dinner where each small group will have the opportunity to share around the table. As we move into the teaching for the night we will discuss the dignity of the family, the example the Holy Family gives us, and that each person is part of the family of God. The break will give the youth an opportunity to reflect on their family relationship. The night will close with a prayer for the family.

Made For More: Human Dignity

The goal of this Edge Night is for youth to recognize God’s divine image in every human person and identify ways to honor this dignity in themselves and others each day.

This night focuses on the dignity of the human person. The youth will learn that they are created in God’s image and likeness. Our human dignity comes from God and rests in Him alone. When we struggle with self image (a human condition), we fail to see that we are deeply known and loved by God. We are created in the image and likeness of God and therefore are good – very good. We are all encouraged to recognize our dignity and identify ways to uphold of the dignity of others.

The Edge night starts out with a fun game for each youth to get to know one another better. This will transition into the teaching about how God knows us intimately and how we are called into relationship with Him. The small group time gets the youth talking about ways that we sometimes compromise our dignity and/or devalue the dignity of others. The small groups will take a look at how Jesus related to those who were looked at as “the least” in society and sets an example of how we are called to treat all with dignity. The night ends by giving the youth the opportunity to pray a decade of the rosary for those who may be seen as “the least” in our own society.

Defeat For Humanity: War

The goal of this Edge Night is to help the middle school youth understand the effects of war on a person and the need to be catalysts for peace in a world filled with violence. The middle school youth should develop a desire for peace above war both in the world and their own lives.

Blessed Pope John Paul II said, “War is always a defeat for humanity.” This Edge Night will help the middle school youth understand the gravity and severity of war and that we, as Catholics, are always called to strive for peace. The night will also outline the conditions in which war can be morally legitimate. The tone for this Edge night is deliberately serious. War is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly.

The night begins with a skit in darkness and silence and then transitions into the Proclaim. The youth will learn about the effects of war, the Church’s teaching on peace, and the conditions for just war. In their small groups, the youth will discuss fostering peace in their own lives because peace in the world begins with peace in our hearts. They will make a spiritual bouquet for American soldiers in their small groups as well. Finally, the Edge Night ends with a reflection on Blessed John Paul II, a witness to hope in a land ravaged by war, and prayer through his intercession.

Matt Maher Bus Tour

Matt Maher lets our camera guy follow him around his tour bus. If you’ve ever wondered how musicians can live on a bus, let Matt Maher introduce you to his home away from home.