Sts. Peter and Paul, A-C, Intermediate

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Intermediate Session
Acts 12:1-11
Matthew 16:13-19

Opening Prayer
Let us pray.
Loving God, bless our Church family.
Help us to love and support one another.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Opening Life Reflection
The topic for today is the Papacy and Collegiality. Begin with a “getting to know you” ice breaker. On a sheet of white paper have the children make a list of qualities such as: funny, smart, caring, musical, artistic, athletic, kind, friendly, etc. Invite the children to go around the room and find people to sign their names next to one quality that they have. Gather the children together after they have found a different signature for each quality. Discuss:
• Who helps you to recognize your best qualities?
• Why is it important for members of a family to support one another and recognized each other’s best qualities?
• How do you show love and support for your family and friends?

Allow time for discussion. All members of our Church family are called to love and support one another. Together we help make God’s love visible in the world.

Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from Acts listen to how Peter is rescued from prison.

Read Acts 12:1-11.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters
• Who has Peter arrested?
• How is Peter rescued from prison?
• When does Peter realize that he is freed from prison?

In the gospel today listen to find out why Jesus gives Peter the title, “rock.”

Read Matthew 16:13-19.
Allow for silence.

• What does Jesus ask his disciples?
• How does Simon Peter answer Jesus?
• Why does Jesus give Peter the title, “rock”?

Scripture Background
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings using the Catechist background section.

In the first reading from Acts of the Apostles, Peter miraculously escapes from prison. An angel appears to Peter and guides him to freedom. It is all like a dream to Peter until he walks through the open gates and realizes that he is free. Then, Peter understands that the Lord sent an angel to rescue him. In this passage we hear that the Church prays for Peter when he is put into prison. The prayer of the Christian community during this hard time shows the power of prayer in the face of evil.

In today’s gospel, Peter identifies Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God. Jesus understands that Peter’s insight is a blessing from God. Jesus responds by giving Peter a new title, “rock,” and he announces that “on this rock I will build my Church.” Jesus also gives Peter teaching authority through the passing of the “keys” and he is given the power of binding and loosing. Peter is given this special role because of his ability to proclaim the true identity of Jesus.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• How does the Church pray for people today?
• Who helps you get to know Jesus?
• How does the Church teach the truth about Jesus?

[If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.]

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
The Papacy and Collegiality

Because both Peter and Paul, the two major leaders of the Church, were martyred in Rome, we believe that the responsibility for preserving the faith has been handed on to the bishop of the local Church of Rome. Catholics believe that the charge of shepherding the Church has passed down from Peter to successive holders of the office of bishop of Rome. The Pope preserves and proclaims the teachings of Jesus and is chief shepherd of God’s people.

The responsibility for shepherding does not rest with the Pope alone. Jesus called twelve apostles and the Church believes that the bishops are successors of the apostles and they have leadership responsibilities. A bishop is pastor and teacher of the faith in his diocese. Together with the Pope, bishops have the duty to preserve the truth Jesus has entrusted to the Church. The Pope and bishops serve the People of God throughout the world. The People of God along with the Pope and bishops carry out the mission of the Church.
• How is the Church like a family?
• What is the role of the Pope and the bishops?
• What is the role of the People of God?

Sacrament Connection
The Sacrament of Holy Orders consecrates a man to a life of servant leadership to the Church. This sacrament continues the work Christ handed on to his apostles.

The Gospel in Life
Pray for someone in need this week?

Posted in: Sessions A , Sessions B , Sessions C