Sunday, August 7, 2011

How To Use Journey Home Episodes in Middle School and High School Classrooms: Mark Kurowski 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: 0:00-13:30 and 20:00-21:30 and 22:32-23:41
Second Segment: 25:39-26:03 and 30:20-35:00
Third Segment: 38:40-42:40
Bonus: 46:25-47:30 How we, as Catholics, can help converts.
Bonus: 49:48-50:48 Mark describes what it was like to receive the Eucharist that first time (very moving clip).
Total viewing time: approximately 26 minutes

Convert’s Name: Mark Kurowski
1. What was this convert’s early faith formation? (Answers in First Segment)

There was no faith formation in this convert’s early years. His parents were divorced. He was the ninth and youngest child in the family. Even though the family did not have a formal faith home, his mother was pro-life and placed a high premium on living out her values. There was much anger in the children as they were growing up, and this convert battled anger issues. As a child, he wanted to make people happy, but he struggled with insecurity (due to the lack of a father’s love and presence in his life). His mother was a big part of his life, but he felt a mother “was supposed to love you.” His insecurity made him an angry kid with a foul mouth. He describes himself as “just a mess.” His grandfather tried to fill the void.

After his grandfather passed away, Mark had the same dream five times, in which his grandfather came to him and told him that God had something very important for him to do.

Mark went to Mass as a young teen – on his own – but nobody reached out to him, so the Catholic faith didn’t take hold at that point. In fact, Mark fell away from God and the pursuit of holy living. He did like to sing. In high school, a teacher invited him to sing in the church choir at the Methodist church. It was in that church that Mark had a kind of 1st conversion – to Christ.

Mark sensed a call to become a minister. In this final portion of the first segment, Mark talks about the call and has a great quote about discernment by St. Ignatius of Loyola.

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

Mark worked on a political campaign and met his future wife at that time. She was a Catholic. The two eventually married, and they bounced between churches for a while.

While in seminary, Mark wrote a paper about Wesley (Protestant theologian associated with the Methodist denomination). In the paper, Mark traces Wesley’s concept of sanctification to a Catholic monk by the name of Macarius. This patristic father explains that the path to holiness comes by putting into place holy practices in daily living. This is how we become holy people. Mark realized that the Book of Common Prayer (Protestant) is based on the Catholic tradition of the Liturgy of the Hours. At this time, many beautiful Catholic practices became part of his daily life.

 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? (Answer in Third Segment)

This convert did not express describe obstacles to conversion. His journey seems to be a progression of revelations on the beauty of Catholic practices and the connections he made between Wesley’s concept of sanctification and the Catholic theology it was based upon. Mark and his wife moved to Gary, Indiana, where he served a multi-ethnic parish. There was a group of priests in the area who worked in this part of the city. They opened Mark’s eyes to the beauty of the Catholic Church and the writings of St. Justin Martyr on the Eucharist and the order of the Mass.

It might be helpful at this point to discuss the need for Holy Orders for the Consecration in the Mass. While the convert was beginning to understand the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, he does not point out the essential element of the priest and the indelible mark God places upon him in Holy Orders. Be sure to point out to students that the Eucharist comes to us in the Mass through the words of Consecration, spoken by a validly ordained priest.

If you have time, consider playing the two bonus clips and discussing the topics listed with the given time frame for each bonus segment.


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