This week’s SPIRIT tells us the story of Father Tolton, the first African-American priest, whose dedicated ministry wore him out too young. Racism and white privilege persist—Jim Crow laws, current incarceration levels, the death of too many young African Americans. Black Lives Matter. Accepting all who are different from us challenges us every day. Father Tolton gives an inspiring example of persevering against ignorance to serve Black Catholic parishes. The song “Better Than Today” is reminds us all of the strength we have inside of us and create positive change within our community and the people around us.
Key Lyrics: I don’t read the headlines / And I don’t watch the news / ‘Cause silence faith in something every time I do / Well I don’t need to bury / My head in the sand / But I’m just tryna live this life as best as I can / Times get tough / But I don’t give up / ‘Cause I know I’m not alone
Questions: When have you experienced prejudice? How did it make you feel? What did the experience teach you? When have you recognized prejudice in yourself? Who in your school or city have you seen disrespected? How did you handle it? What are some ways you can combat prejudice in your school or city?
Food in the fridge, money in our bank accounts, security of a home, and the loving protection of our family and friends—these easily make us forget that not everyone has stable home and family environments, education, or financial resources. Jesus aims to free people from poverty and reach out to all his mission. We can begin with respect for all, interest in who each person is, and expanding our circles of friends. “Swan Song” is about holding on to hope, even in the bleakest of moments, and breaking free from all that holds us back from reaching our fullest potential.
Key Lyrics: I, I can’t lie / I’m scared to open my eyes / ‘Cause what if I find nothing at all? / Nothing at all / What is the point of my lips / If they don’t make noise? Oh / What is the point of doing nothing at all? / Watching it fall / ….This is not a, this is not a / Swan, swan song / We just gotta, we just gotta hold on tonight / This is not a, this is not a / Swan song, swan song / Swan dive (Yeah) / It’s a new life
Questions: When you look around your school and community, what communities do you see lacking necessities, such as food, clothing, shelter? Who can you greet and show you know them? What community projects can you get involved in or start to help encourage those who need a helping hand?
Currently, immigration dominates our news headlines and politics. Poverty, violence, war, displacement, no work—all can force people to move. These conditions separate many refugees and immigrants from families and friends for long periods of time. They have to navigate cultures, laws, and languages that they don’t know. They start anew in the hope of achieving a better future for themselves and their families. The song “You Belong” reminds us that everyone belongs and deserves the chance to thrive.
Key Lyrics: You belong / The whole world is waiting / No one else can sing your song / You belong / The lie that’s been chasing you / Love’s gonna prove it wrong / Open your eyes / Breathe in the light / You don’t have to hide / You belong
Questions: Visit un.org to learn more about why people may be forced to immigrate. How can you reach out to new students or neighbors different from you? Whose voices in your school or community are others not hearing? When do you listen to the voices of people who appear different from you?
This week’s SPIRIT is about walking a mile in another person’s shoes. Every year, the students of St. Paul High School walk 26 miles to raise money for a local soup kitchen. They walk through different communities and meet new people, wealthy and poor. Their journey also gives the students time to reflect and change their perspectives on how the less fortunate exist in our communities or what the caravan of migrants walking to the U.S. border experience as they seek a better life. Lauren Daigle’s song “Rescue” is about hearing someone’s call of need and answering them, whether it’s by listening, walking, or simply volunteering time and resources.
Key Lyrics: I hear you whisper underneath your breath / I hear your SOS, your SOS / I will send out an army to find you / In the middle of the darkest night / It’s true, I will rescue you / I will never stop marching to reach you / In the middle of the hardest fight / It’s true, I will rescue you
Questions: Who like those in the migrant caravan are on a journey in our world? How can you learn more about why migrants or immigrants are walking and help them? When have you taken a difficult journey? What did you learn from this experience? What can you do to help people rebuild their lives?
This week’s SPIRIT explores the message and values of Pope Francis. He believes in creating a compassionate and merciful world, one that embraces social justice initiatives regarding climate change and poverty. He is also listening to the voices of young people as they share their concerns for their communities and the world at large. The song “Cover The Earth” is about embracing a similar message, breaking down walls, and letting the Spirit rise up and move us toward into a more inclusive and caring world.
Key Lyrics: Let the Spirit rise up, let it break through the walls / And beat down the doors, and crash through the windows / And cover the earth, the earth, the earth, the earth / Let the Spirit rise up, let it break through the walls / And beat down the doors, and crash through the windows / And cover the earth, the earth, the earth, the earth
Questions: What values does Pope Francis represent? How are his values like yours? Where do you see Jesus’ values at work in our world? How do you imagine the kingdom of God? What would you like to take part in building to make our world better?
“Whoever among you wants to be first must serve the needs of all. The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” This week’s SPIRIT focuses on service and the ways we can use our gifts to serve people who need our skills or help put food on the shelves for hungry people or organize a sleep out to raise money to shelter homeless people. Hearing Jesus’ call to serve means finding ways to share our resources and sustain our neighbors and community. TobyMac’s song, “It Starts With Me” reminds us that a movement to help others can start from one small spark, one person.
Key lines: Cause we can be free, yeah I know that / Let’s try to fix the things that’s been broke down / ‘Cause we can be free, yeah I know that / And it starts with me / This language that I speak / This dream on you and me / But one choice from together / It starts with me
Questions: What service to others would like to do or start in your community or school? What has past experience working on a service project taught you or how has it changed your perspective? How do you define “greatness?” How does Jesus define “greatness?” What kind of community do you want for yourself and the world?
Jesus calls forth their best selves in his disciples and sends his friends forth to spread the good news of his resurrection. Thomas touches the risen Jesus’ wounds and believes. SPIRIT extends the call that echoes down the centuries to continue Jesus’ mission, to go forth, and help our neighbors during times of need and crises. The song “We Got the Power” is an anthem about loving each other and working together towards a better future.
Key lines: We got the power to be loving each other / No matter what happens / We’ve got the power to do that / On a le pouvoir de s’aimer, okay? / We got the power to be ringing the great bell out there above us / We got the power for that / We got the power to do that
Questions: When have you experienced a community in crisis from tragedy or disasters? What did people need? What ways did you find to help people? When have you seen a community stand together? What initiatives would you like to start or volunteer for within your community?