Faith First

Faith First – Published in 2000 by Resources For Christian Living, Allen, Texas
Elementary School Grade 2 & 6

By Ann Hill, BS in Education


Elementary School Grade 2 – Prepares Students for The Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion

At the beginning of each Unit, the parents are given an overview of the goals that this particular section is emphasizing. The parents are also given direction as to how they can reinforce the educational studies.

The workbook itself contains softly colored pictures on nearly every page, some of which are sketches and others are photographs. Lessons include vocabulary words and key concepts highlighted in boxes on the side of the pages. The key vocabulary words are reviewed at the end of each lesson. And the main concepts are reviewed at the end of each chapter. Prayers are listed at the end of the book.

The publisher divides the curriculum into five units:

  • Unit I—We Believe; which teaches the Creed, that God is a loving Father and Creator, Who invites us to know and trust Him, The Trinity in discussed, The Blessed Mother, And the Church as the people of God. Extensive vocabulary includes: Creation, Faith, Belief, Bible, Trust, Church, Trinity, Pray, Soul, Sign of the Cross, Almighty, Psalms, Covenant, Nativity, Disciple, Jordan River, Savior, Crucifixion, Crucifix, Resurrection, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Communion of Saints, Catholic, and Body of Christ.
  • Unit II–We Worship; teaches about the “church community” that gathers to celebrate the Liturgy and Sacraments. Baptism and Confirmation are discussed, and the meaning Of the Mass. Vocabulary includes: Worship, Sacrament, Deacon, Godparents, Holy, Confirmation, Parable, Rejoice, Sin, Reconciliation, Contrition, Confess, Penance, Absolution, Mass, Liturgy of the Word, Gospel, Processions, Last Supper, Liturgy of The Eucharist, Eucharistic Prayer and Holy Communion.
  • Unit III—We Live; focus on morality, with the Greatest Commandment, helping the child to Develop a conscience, the 10 Commandments are generalized but not specifically Listed. The vocabulary includes: Honor, Temple, Jerusalem, Steal, Lying, Proverb, Heaven, Conscience, Grace, Mortal Sins, and Venial Sins.
  • Unit IV—We Pray; this Unit focuses on the importance of prayer in our lives, it is important To pray throughout the day, and we talk to God in many different ways. Vocabulary includes: Galilee, Hallowed, and Epiphany.
  • Unit V—We Celebrate; covers the seasons of Advent, Christmas Lent, Holy Week and Easter.

There are discussions of a number of well-known stories from the Bible interspersed throughout the book. The major teachings are: Psalm 148, The Road To Emmaus, Raising Jairus From The Dead, The Prodigal Son, The Last Supper, “Let The Children Come Unto Me,” The Great Commandment, and The Sermon On The Mount.

Throughout the book, examples of the lives of various Saints are described, such as: St. Francis, St. Joseph, St. John The Baptist, St. John Vianney, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Catherine of Siena, and Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.

Accurate Points Of The Textbook

*Creation is everything that God has made.
*The Bible is the Holy written Word of God.
*Having Faith in God is accepting Him and trusting Him.
*There is an accurate explanation of the Trinity.
*Jesus is the Son of God.
*The Great Commandment is to Love God first, and then your neighbor as yourself.
*The Sign of the Cross is taught.
*God the Father created all there is, and everything He created is good. We are created in His image and likeness.
*The Our Father prayer is taught.
*Psalms are songs of prayers in the Bible.
*A “Covenant” is a special promise God has made with His people.
*The story of the birth of Jesus is told.
*Everything Jesus did in His life on earth showed God’s love for us.
*God loves us and is always with us.
*We can show our love for God by showing our love for others.
*The Crucifixion is not the end of the story of God’s love for us, because Jesus was raised from the dead. And the Resurrection is the heart of our faith in Jesus.
*In the breaking of the bread, Jesus is alive with us in a new way.
*Bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ.
*Pentecost is the birthday of our Church.
*The Communion of saints is described.
*The Church is the community of people who believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
*The Sacraments are named and described; they are “signs” of God’s love for us and there are words and actions given in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
*The book gives an accurate descriptions and pictures of Baptism and Confirmation.
*Sin is doing something wrong that hurts our friendship with God and others. We need to be sorry and ask forgiveness.
*We confess to the priest, receive a penance and absolution.
*We can go to confession behind a screen or sin facing the Priest.
*The Priest leads the Mass, and the colors of the vestments indicate the liturgical season.
*The readings at Mass are from the Old and New Testament.
*When we celebrate at Mass, we do what Jesus did at the Last Supper.
*The book uses the term, “Catholic Christian,” which is an accurate and true term.
*The book discusses making good decisions, morning and evening prayers, and forgiveness of others and being a peacemaker.
*The Way Of The Cross is mentioned.
*The Liturgy of the Hours is mentioned (Lauds & Vespers) to indicate that prayers are to be prayed throughout the day.

Problems With The Text

p.154 *Most troubling is the text missing the entire point of the Mass. The priest is called a “Presider” rather than the “Celebrant.” It further states, “The Eucharist is the meal we share when we come together for Mass.” There is nothing stated about the Mass being a Sacrifice and the re-enactment of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary.

p.116 *The“Eucharist” should be discussed as “Holy Communion,” because it is also a coming together, a co-union with God, and is Holy.

p.234 *Grace is not explained very well, but it is a difficult concept for such young children.

p.268 *”We share food and clothing with people who need it.” References to social justice must be connected to bringing the Faith to those in need.

p.176 *The term, “Eucharistic Minister” is used, when there is no such title; there are only extraordinary ministers who may be utilized to distribute the Eucharist in extra- ordinary circumstances.

*Throughout, references to God are not capitalized. He is referred to as the familiar “you” or “your,” rather than formally addressed. The Blessed Virgin is called only, “Mary” and saints are not addressed as saints, but only by name.

p.275 *A Risen Christ is shown on a cross at the beginning of the chapter; this is not accurate, since scripture is clear that Christ did not rise from the cross.

p.63 *When Jesus was baptized by St. John the Baptist, the text says, “This is the one I told you would come.” It could just as easily have used the scriptural, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” And p.316 could just as easily use the term, “Apostles” instead of simplistic, “followers of Jesus.”

p.196 *The Great Commandment is taught, but has left out the last part of, “Love God with your whole strength.”

*Literally every other page has an activity for the child to write what they think about the lesson just covered. This is far too many subjective of these activities.

*The prayers listed at the end of the book are reworded just enough so that when people try to pray together, it would not easily be possible

Elementary School Grade 6

At the beginning of each Unit, the parents are given an overview of the goals that this particular section is emphasizing. The parent is also given encouragement to work with the 6th grader, since this is the time in their lives when the opinions of the child’s peer group begins to become more prevalent. Parents are challenged to be the primary educators of their children and base their guidance for the child on the wisdom of the Church, personal experience and love for their children.

The workbook itself contains most colored photographs on nearly every page, and some sketched pictures. Lessons include vocabulary words and key concepts highlighted in boxes on the side of the pages. The key vocabulary words are reviewed at the end of each lesson. And the main concepts are reviewed at the end of each chapter. A number of prayers are listed at the end of the book.

The publisher divides the curriculum into five units:

  • Unit I—We Believe; which focuses on beliefs of the faith, the Mystery of God, God’s plan Of salvation, and Jesus Christ as Son of God. Vocabulary includes: Trust, Faith, Creed, Hope, Redemption, Bible, Yahweh, Prophet, Covenant, Fidelity, Exile, Prudence, Wisdom, Mystery, Revelation, Holy Trinity, Creation, Soul, Eternal, Sin, Original Sin, Temptation, Salvation, Epistle, Pentecost, Church, Four Marks Of The Church, Encyclical Letter, Vow, Kingdom of God, Annunciation, Gospel, Evangelist, and Compassion.
  • Unit II–We Worship; discusses the Liturgy, Sacraments, and the Mass in greater detail, Reviews the Sacraments, liturgical year starting with Passover and the importance Of Tradition. Vocabulary includes: Paschal Mystery, Liturgical Year, Epiphany, Leviticus, Pentateuch, Sabbath, Passover, Unleavened Bread, Sacramentary (Roman Missal) Confirmation, Gifts Of The Holy Spirit, Chrism Oil, Manna, Pre-Figure, Melchizedek, Eucharist, Annointing With Oil, Parables, Sin, Penance, Amendment, Act of Contrition, Absolution, Communion, Consecrate, Holy Orders, Matrimony, and Sacramental.
  • Unit III—We Live; talks about what it means to be Holy, the Works of Mercy, Good and Bad Decisions in our lives, how Conscience helps us to discern this, and reviews the 10 Commandments. The Vocabualry includes: Holiness, Intellect, Free Will, Theological Virtues of Faith & Hope & Charity, Grace, The Corporal Works Of Mercy, The Spiritual Works Of Mercy, Moral Decisions, Morality, Conscience, Capital Sins, Mortal and Venial Sin, Natural Law, Precept, Idol, Precepts Of The Church, Simony, Respect, Sins Against Sexuality, Reparation, Wisdom, and Proverb.
  • Unit IV—We Pray; covers Prayer and How To Pray, Jesus as Mediator, and an Explanation of the Our Father. Vocabulary includes: Prayer, Book of Psalms, and Adore.
  • Unit V—We Celebrate; covers the seasons of Advent, Christmas Lent, Holy Week and Easter. There are discussions of a number of well-known stories from the Bible interspersed throughout the book. The major quotes are from:

Ex:3:4, 3:6 & 3:10– Ruth and Naomi
Baruch 3:9-15, 3:32-38 & 4:1-4,
Ephesians 1:1-14—God’s belongs to us, and His desire for us to be with Him
Matthew 5:3-10—the Beatitudes
Matthew 25:31-46—We will be judged by what we have done
Leviticus 23:1, 3, 5-6, &9-14
1 Samuel—King David
Luke 14:15-24—Men were invited to a feast and made excuses why they could not come; People from the streets were invited, but one came without proper dress.
Matt 25:1-13—The maidens without enough oil for their lamps missed the groom
Gen 12:1-3–Abraham

Throughout the book, lives of various Saints are described, such as: St.Martin de Porres, St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, Sts. Benedict & Scholastica, St. John Bosco, Hildegard of Bingen, and Mary is called the “Seat Of Wisdom” and “Mother Of Good Counsel.”

Accurate Points Of The Textbook

*There is a connection between what we believe and how we act.
*The Trinity is explained and discussed.
*Our creation begins at conception through the creative direction of God.
*There is an Ignatian-type of mental prayer exercise.
*Jesus is like us in all things except sin; He is true God and true man.
*There is a basic explanation of Pentecost.
*The 4 Marks of The Church are taught, but needs a better explanation of “holy,” and needs to state that “Catholic” means “Universal.”
*The Church is the Bride of Christ and is our Mother.
*The Communion of Saints is mentioned, but no mention of “purgatory.”(since members of the church are there too)
*The Church is made up of lay faithful, Consecrated Religious, the Ordained and the Pope.
*St. Mary is the Mother of God and of The Church; She is the Immaculate Conception, and that She shares in the glory of Her Son’s Resurrection in Heaven. There is a good explanation as to why we honor Her and have Feast Days.
*The text covers the four gospel evangelists.
*There is a particular judgement and a last judgment, but there are no vocabulary questions at the end of the chapter on this.
*The Beatitudes are included.
*There is review of the Sacraments, with reminders that Sacraments have signs and symbolic actions.
*There is review of the Liturgical Year.
*Current-day liturgy begins with understanding the Old Testament Passover.
*The books of the Mass are discussed: the Sacramentary (Roman Missal), Lectionary, and Book of Gospels.
*Baptism removes Original Sin, and we are “adopted” children of God, but needs an explanation of why we needed to be adopted.
*Baptism is given only once, and the correct wording of Baptizing in the name of the Trinity.
*In order to be Confirmed the individual must be a member of the Catholic family, be old enough to appreciate what Confirmation is about, be in the state of grace, and have the will to receive the Sacrament. Confirmation is received only once.
*In Confirmation, there is an anointing with oil which brings the Spirit of God upon them and consecrates and empowers them for special service among God’s people.
*Anointing is used for Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination of Priests, and Sacrament of the Sick.
*There are 3 oils that the Church uses.
*The Word of God feeds us through the reading of scripture at Mass. The parts of the Mass are explained.
*The Sacrament of Reconciliation is described and the benefits of the spiritual effects.
*The Anointing of the sick strengthens the individual’s faith and trust that God is with them in their illness. They sometimes are healed of their illness. It is used again only if the medical condition worsens.
*The importance of serving others rather than following the ways of the world is discussed.
*Jesus Christ is the one true Priest.
*Divorced members of the Church are stilled called to lead Christian lives, but may not receive the Sacraments.
*Both husbands and wives are called to love and serve one another and to be examples for their children.
*There is encouragement to follow the call to Holy Orders.
*We are destined to share in God’s Holiness.
*Our lives are a either responsible and striving for holiness, or we can be people who fail by being far from God, and miss the point of our existence, which is to be with Him.
*The text talks about how God sustains us throughout our lives.
*The ability and freedom to live a holy life is a gift from God.
*Our responsibility to our fellow neighbor are covered in the Corporal Works of Mercy, and is a part of our personal holiness.
*Standing up for our faith can earn ridicule and rejection and be painful.
*Morality is defined as, “The goodness or evil of human actions.”
*There are 5 forms of prayer: Blessing and Adoration, Petitioning, Intercession, Thanksgiving, and Praise.
*There is a statement that Satan desires to lead us away from God.
*The story of Jesus is the story of God’s compassion for us.
*From 1 John, “If we refuse to love a person we can see, how can we say that we love God, whom we cannot see.”

Problems With The Curriculum

p.44 *Original Sin is described as: “A combination of pride, ambition and selfishness.” The Church has always taught the cause of the Fall was Pride, period. After all, many other Characteristics could be added, such as rebelliousness, arrogance, greed, and envy. This Version bends the teaching of the Church.

p.134 *The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit are listed as being: “Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Right Judgment, Courage, Reverence, and Wonder & Awe.” However, upon checking the Catechism Of The Catholic Church, the 7 Gifts are listed as: “Wisdom, Knowledge, Under- Standing, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear Of The Lord.” There are no such Gifts Of The Holy Spirit as RIGHT JUDGMENT, REVERENCE, or WONDER AND AWE. These are Simply made up, and there is no authority whatsoever to have changed these.

p.20 *We are to “Know, love and become one with Him,” but we are also to “Serve” Him, of important note in these days of rebelliousness among God’s people, desiring to have things our own way.

p.246 *The text suggests closing our eyes, and silently repeating word such as “Abba” during prayer. Which is using a Mantra, such as in Eastern religions. Catholicism does not “blend” with other Religions, and this is inappropriate teaching of prayer in the Catholic Church.

p.252 *This page proposes using the technique of breathing in-and-out slowly while praying. This is also Eastern, and does not belong in Catholicism.

p.172-3 *It is very good that the text talks about sin and confession. However, it doesn’t spend much time telling the kids examples of what is right and wrong. Sin in talked about mostly in general terms and the kids need many specific and exact examples in order to understand how to apply what they have learned in order to form their consciences.

p.157 *The priest is not a “presider;” he is the “celebrant” of the “sacrifice” of the Mass.(also p.312)

*It should be stated that Bible “stories” are retellings of true events that actually occurred, and are not just made-up stories, as some in the Church today claim.

p.45 *The test states that Jesus is the New Adam, but does not explain the statement. Also, it should be added that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the New Eve, and why She is.
*The book talks about the Magnificat, but the prayer is nowhere in the book, and cannot be referenced for learning or studying.

p.132 *An explanation of being “adopted children”of God, and why it was necessary should be included.

*Although the book lists the Blessed Mother’s feast days, they call Her only, “Mary” and do not give her the title of “Blessed Virgin Mary,” to which she is entitled. Pronouns used to describe God, are familiar and not capitalized.

p.50 *The Covenant God made with David was left out, although the Covenants of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus are accurately listed.

p.133 *When explaining that we receive a “mark” at Baptism, the word, “indelible mark” could just as easily be used, a term the Church has always used.

p.30 *References to social justice must be connected to bringing the Faith to those in need.

*There are far too many non-academic exercises, literally one on every-other page.

*The Angelus, and other prayers at the end of the book such as the Glory Be, have been reworded, and therefore, cannot be prayed with those who know the traditional form of the prayers.