Saturday, August 6, 2011

How To Use Journey Home Episodes in Middle School and High School Classrooms: Mike Carlton Lesson Plan

I recommend setting aside two Friday's of the month for the Journey Home Lesson Plans. You will cover one convert during each of these Friday sessions. Here's how to do it:

  1. Click on the link.
  2. Preview the whole show OR simply view the recommended times. (The minute-segments are the PRECISE segments that I show to my classes.)
  3. Before the students view the suggested segments, pass out the following handout. You may cut and paste this handout and create your own document. The answers are given in italics. I recommend that you make one ANSWER KEY that contains the italicized answers and then delete the italicized answers and print a STUDENT COPY. Students will use their copies for note-taking while viewing the suggested segments.

I hope that your students enjoy these Journey Home episodes which have been distilled into a series of segments that will hold their interest while 1.)building up their understanding of the Catholic Faith and 2.)giving them a glimpse into the why&how stories of many converts. I will post another show and lesson plan in a couple of weeks. Love your Faith -- and give your middle school & high school students a reason to love it as well!

Journey Home Show

First Segment: 0:00-5:02 and 6:05-7:04
                (Terms for discussion: “River Tiber” and “Protestant” & “Protest”)
Second Segment: 8:30-14:30 and 15:20-16:31 and 17:00-18:32
Final Segment: 19:14-22:05 and 24:46-26:30 and 30:22-35:43
                (Concepts for discussion: “Early Church Fathers” and “Where did the Bible come from” and “Church definition of Scandal – CCC# 2284”)
*Bonus Segment on the Blessed Virgin Mary: 38:00-38:57
Total viewing time: approximately 24 minutes

Convert’s Name: Mike Carlton

1. What was this convert's early faith formation? (Answer in First Segment)
Mike Carlton was raised Presbyterian, and his family has a Scottish background. (Note the connection between Presbyterian and the Church of Scotland) Mike was very active in his Presbyterian congregation as a youth. He had some friends who were Catholic, but he never thought he would become Catholic. Mike went on (Presbyterian) youth retreats and enjoyed those. When he was a teen, he heard the word “Protestant” and wondered why his faith heritage was associated with the word “Protest.” He went off to college and attended Presbyterian churches often, but he began to realize that the people he was meeting in college had many different kinds of beliefs, and he began to wonder why one person believes as he does and another believes something different, and so on.

2. What event of thought process led to the beginning of the conversion process?.     (Answers in Second Segment)

Mike met his future wife in college. While planning their wedding, the question came up regarding whether or not they should have a wedding with the Eucharist or without the Eucharist (because his side of the family would not be able to receive the Eucharist as they were not Catholic). The couple decided to have a wedding without the Eucharist. Mike felt like outsider because of the closed Communion in his wife’s Church. At this point, Mike became overtly anti-Catholic.

PAUSE THE PROGRAM AT 12:20 and talk to the students about why we have a closed Communion in the Catholic Church.
“We believe this is really and truly the Body of Christ that we are receiving in Holy Communion. Only those who are in full Communion with the teachings of the Catholic Church may receive Communion. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our Faith. One must be in union with Our Eucharistic Lord and the teachings of His Church before receiving Christ in the Eucharist. For this reason, the Catholic Church has a closed Communion. It is the hope and the prayer of all Catholics that all people will come into complete union with Christ and His Church. God willing, this will happen, and when it does, the Church will receive them with open arms and invite them at that time to the Table of Our Lord. Other Christian communities have an open Communion. These faith communities permit everyone to receive the bread and wine (or grape juice). Typically, these Protestant denominations believe in a symbolic Communion – that the bread and wine do not change, but merely symbolize Christ’s Body and Blood. They also do not require that believers hold to a common set of beliefs.”

 During the first 8 years of their marriage, Mike and his wife looked at different faith communities, but Mike was really looking for reasons to not be Catholic during that time of his life. He continued to feel like an outsider at gatherings/holidays with his wife’s family. They moved to Atlanta where his wife met some Catholic neighbors, and his wife’s Catholic “seeds” from growing up as a Catholic started to come out.
He continued to ponder the problem with so many Christians believing so many different things. He realized “two things can’t be true and yet opposing.” Somebody had to be right. Some had to be wrong.

3. What obstacle did this convert have to overcome? What stood in his way in the process of conversion? What event finally prompted him to enter the Catholic Church?

Mike decided it would be okay to raise the children in the Catholic Church, but he would never become Catholic. One day, he was running on the beach and felt the Holy Spirit say “search for truth but be open.”

 He began studying the Early Church Fathers and started connecting the Catholic Church to the full Deposit of the Faith and combined that with reading some works by Dr. Scott Hahn. Even so, he still struggled with the scandals that were plaguing the Church at that time.

The final portion of his journey came when he was on his way home from Alabama to Georgia and, on a whim, followed a road sign that said there was a shrine ahead. He kept going, and the real journey ended at The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament where the final pieces came together. He was ready to come home to the Catholic Church.

*If there is time, play the bonus segment on the Blessed Virgin Mary and talk with the students about our veneration and devotion to Mary. Explain to the students that there are other Christian communities who do not have a place for Mary beyond her role in the Christmas story.


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