An historic event starts March 12, 2013. The Catholic College of Cardinals begins it papal conclave at the Sistine Chapel to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. Benedict resigned due to ill health last month, says Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. The Catholic Church, in fact the entire world, awaits the cardinals’ election. Parents, educators and homeschool families, if you’re looking for activities to explain papal selection process to kids, here are free printable lessons to help.
* Edupics has over 60 Christian coloring pages, relating to many aspects of Catholic faith: trinity, Jesus, Holy Spirit, sacraments, Bible, altar, holiday, Eucharist and saints. There’s a coloring page of Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger). Young children, non-readers and special needs kids might use these to supplement religious education. Print a coloring book for mass or devotions so children can explore spiritual concepts in age-appropriate, hands-on ways.
* EWTN, the children’s ministry of Eternal Word Television Network, maintains the EWTNKids site, with online games, puzzles, activities, worksheets, crafts and coloring pages. The website follows the papal conclave in child-friendly ways. Watch EWTN children’s shows The Roamin’ Catholic, The Friar, Truth in the Heart, We are Catholic and the Divine Mercy Chaplet for Kids (St. Faustina’s prayers). These activities will help children of all ages explore faith more deeply.
* CNN Student News is a good resource for public and parochial schools. CNN SN is covering the conclave and provides information on the process, history and significance. They explain the white vs. black smoke signals and other related information.
* Catholic-Kids has printable prayers, devotions and Bible quizzes to enrich children’s faith.
* Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry based on the teachings of St. Ignatius Loyola, this website is brimming with printables for kids: Bible crafts, lenten activities, a Story of Mary coloring book, weekly gospel lessons and crafts, prayers, books, posters, saints’ games and more. Kids of all ages can use these materials to grow in their relationship with Jesus.
* Watch “In the Shoes of the Fisherman” a film that shows the College of Cardinals’ selecting a pope. The movie is long and set in the then-future 1980s, but has merit for helping kids understand what goes into the process. “The Borgias” mini-series shows papal conclave in medieval Rome.
* Catholic Mom this comprehensive website features worksheets and puzzles from Sunday mass readings. There’s a database of coloring pages and activities for all sorts of Catholic vocabulary and concepts: altar vessels, ciborium, saints, God the Father, crucifix, rosary, Holy Mary Mother of God, the many apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, Holy Days of Obligation, Stations of the Cross, parables and miracles of Jesus, holidays–plenty to help kids immerse in Catholic faith.
Parents and educators, as a teacher and former homeschooler, I encourage you to follow this papal selection with kids. Vatican conclave is a rare enough occurence let alone the historic resignation of Benedict XVI. Catholic or not, the selection of the Pope a world event. Kids will have questions about the process.