Saturday, March 03, 2007

Arma Dei - Resources for Catholic Families, Schools and Parishes

I am always in awe when I see the talent, ingenuity, and hours of work dedicated catechists, whether they be professional teachers or stay-at-home parents, expend on preparing resources to help nurture the faith of their children.

A treasure trove of such resources has crossed my desk lately. These were sent to me by Monica and Bill McConkey of Markham, Ontario. These parents of four children have founded a family ministry called Arma Dei, dedicated to creating educational materials for Catholic families and educators.

I am impressed by the quality of what they have produced and now publish and sell. The materials are not only beautifully presented and illustrated, but sturdy and meant to survive handling by children. They are also very practical for parents and teachers looking for concrete ideas to use in specific situations.

For example, the 304 page A Treasure Chest of Traditions for Catholic Families is indeed a "treasure", full of craft ideas for parents, information on saints, and suggestions as to how to present Catholic traditions, practices, and faith content to children. A wonderful resource on creative ways to celebrate the various Seasons and Feast Days of the year.

Among the suggestions for the Lenten and Easter Seasons one could find out how to make: a crown of thorns out of dough, a resurrection crown out of artificial flowers, a Lenten calendar, a passion play with clothes pegs, an easter mosaic made of egg shells...

The Catechism Cubes, another resource, also struck me as both very creative and effective. They are 3-dimensional, colorful cubes, packed with Catechism terms and corresponding graphics, offering a random quizzing tool or classroom decoration. I suspect that some of the older elementary school children would even be able to assemble these themselves and enjoy doing so! Themes covered by the various Catechism Cubes includes: the gifts of the Holy Spirit; the sacraments; the fruits of the Spirit; the Commandments; Virtues.

For more information on these resources and others produced by Arma Dei contact Monica and Bill at

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