Sunday, July 5, 2015

#Altaration - The Mystery of the Mass Revealed by @AscensionPress #Catholic

altaration_studysetAltaration: The Mystery of the Mass Revealed
  • Created by Ascension Press and Presented by Dynamic Speakers
  • Five Lessons on 3 DVDs  - Each Designed to Capture and Hold the Attention of Teens
  • A Detailed Leader's Guide to Assist in Lesson Plan and Flow
  • Accompanying Workbooks Make it Easy For Students to Follow and Keep Notes
  • Bonus Material in Student Books Makes a Great Resource for Future Reference
  • Starter Set: $99 (Includes DVDs, Leader's Guide and a Workbook)
  • Student Workbooks are $14.95 Each 
  • Visit the Altaration Webpage For More Information
  • See All the Great Ascension Press Programs at
  • Like the Facebook Page and Follow @AscensionPress on Twitter
I have been teaching Religious Education to teens for awhile now.  Each year when I get a new group of students, I learn that the majority of them do not attend Mass regularly (if at all) and the ones who do often have no idea what is going on.  My priority from the first day of class is to make the Mass understandable and relevant to them.  The Mass is our greatest prayer, and where we find the Eucharist.  The Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic faith.  Therefore, I talk about Mass in every class.  It thrills me to see my kids bringing their parents back to the pews, especially when I see their attitude shift from having to go to mass to wanting to.   Unfortunately, I cannot claim one hundred percent success - there is, sadly, only so much one oldish woman can accomplish with an old blackboard, lame textbooks, and ninety minutes a week.

Wouldn't it be great if I could bring some of the most dynamic Catholic youth speakers into my classroom, add a great soundtrack, special effects, and a well produced and edited lesson?  That would get their attention!  Ascension Press knew that would be the case so they worked with Mark Hart to make it happen.

Here is a peek at Altaration: The Mystery of the Mass Revealed

This five part program brings Mark Hart, Jackie Francois Angel, Father Mike Schmitz, Chris Stefanick, and Father Josh Johnson right to your classroom or parish.  

Because participants will get the most out of the sessions by spending some time in small groups, the facilitator will want to assemble a team who can act as table leaders.  The leader's guide makes it easy to jump right in to this role, so recruiting should not be difficult.

The sessions have a simple format:

You will begin with a greeting, a Scripture passage, and a prayer.  Then someone will read the provided story for the "Dive In" portion of the lesson.  This only takes a few minutes and works to set the tone for the class.  

After the story, the DVD presentation begins and takes about thirty minutes.  Each lesson is broken down into small segments and after each one there should be a pause for reflection.  The student workbook includes writing prompts, and during this quiet period they will be used for journaling thoughts.  

Following the DVD, the participants break up into small groups to share and build upon some of their responses to the work text questions.  Give the groups about 20 minutes before reconvening.

Following small group discussions, there is another story under the heading "Entering the Mystery".  These vignettes are designed to be thought provoking and at the conclusion there are some questions. The leader will read these aloud and accept a few answers.  

Before closing, there is a challenge posed that will help participants to apply the lessons to their lives.  There is an area in the workbook for them to complete this challenge, and it is to be completed before the next class.

To close, have students read the "Wrap Up" section, remind them to read the extra material titled "Any Questions" and "What's the Word?" at home, and then say the closing prayer.

The first four sessions lay the foundation for the final class which is an in depth discussion by Father Schmitz  about the Mass.  This is a slightly different format and a longer DVD.  Participatns will spend about an hour  watching this one.  In it they will hear an explanation for every part of the Mass from the priest's vestments, to the dismissal, and everything in between.

I really like how this is done.  I have been to teaching masses before and they make me vaguely uncomfortable.  The interruptions seem just wrong.  In this case, instead of saying an actual Mass and stopping to explain each segment, Father gives the explanations and then there is footage of a Mass to accompany his words.

Check out this clip to give you a better idea.

This is a great choice for teens looking for meaning in the Catholic Mass - the ones who are bored and still do not understand the Real Presence.

Of course, this is not the right fit for every kid.  The premise of the series is that many young people do not enjoy going to Mass and are terribly bored and feel put off by this obligation.  The teens in my parish youth group would not relate at all.  These young people are amazing evangelizers who spend their summers volunteering to run a VBS for 200 little ones and spending weeks away at Catholic camp trading in phones and video games for Adoration and Mass.  If you are blessed to know more teenagers who fit this description, you might be more interested in the Ascension Press program A Biblical Walk Through the Mass by Dr. Edward Sri.