Patron Saints Activity for Christmas

image of Paul viAre you looking for a cool Christmas activity? End of the year activity? In this activity saint cards are distributed randomly to teens. Each saint card displays a saint’s picture, name and virtue for the teen to imitate for the rest of the year. Here you can download FREE saint cards for your own group! Includes new saints: JPII, John 23rd and Bl. Paul VI.

Introduction

Are you looking for a cool Christmas activity? Why not give them the gift of a patron saint for the year? In this activity, saint cards are distributed randomly to teens. Each saint card displays a saint’s picture, name and virtue for the teen to imitate for the rest of the year. I’ve also included this year’s three pope saints: John Paul II, John XXIII, and Paul VI.

These saint cards are produced by the Challenge and Conquest youth programs. They make new cards every year. Below you can download one year’s batch! I’ve also included a file that you can format.

image of Paul vi

How it Works, Step by Step

Step 1: Timing

An excellent time of the year to do this activity is at the end of the year in December, just before Christmas break. This becomes an activity where your Christmas gift as youth minister or youth leader to the teens is a patron saint for the following year (explained below). It’s also good to note that by Christmas your youth group or club has already met a few times, so there should be more family spirit to help boost enthusiasm. The emphasis here is to receive a saint to imitate for a whole year.

Note that this activity follows the Church’s year, which begins the first day of Advent. But since it’s close to Christmas, and Advent is all about Christmas, I added a Christmas theme to it too!

Another moment to do this activity is towards the beginning of the year for the youth group. This way all the teens receive a saint for the whole school year. This is good, but it’s no longer a Christmas “gift”.

I think the best setting is within the youth group or club. If the same group goes on a weekend retreat or summer camp, that’s another good setting. However, I’m not sure if it will have the same effect in a weekend retreat or summer camp that involves all kinds of groups coming together. 

Step 2: Preparation

Download the saint cards from the links below. Print them. Then you’ll have to cut them yourself. Unless you don’t mind having saint cards made out of paper, it’s a good idea to paste them to something more substantial. Here there is space for creativity!

Keep in mind that there is a set of cards for girls and another set for boys. Why? It’s a good idea to give girls female saints as a models, and boys male saints, even if they share the same virtue. Also, sometimes girls need and value different virtues than boys, and vice versa. It’s easier to tailor to the needs of each gender this way. It also helps with gender-specific groups, such as Boys and Girls Scouts, and Conquest and Challenge, and others.

Whether a mixed group or a gender-specific group, you’ll need to print enough cards for the girls and the same for the boys. Pretty easy so far…

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Step 3: Explain the Activity to the Teens

Before the teens arrive for the activity, you’ll need to prepare a table with all the saint cards and also seats for everyone. In short, regardless of the setup, I’ve found the best way to do it is to have the saint cards face down on a table.

Once the teens are all seated and ready, the explanation of the activity is very important! The better explained, the better the effect. You can communicate the purpose of the activity using these ideas:

  • The Church gives us saints to imitate and to pray to for specific intentions. This is a small activity that helps teens experience this aspect of the Church’s life.
  • The saints want us to grow in our image and likeness of Christ. That’s why each saint will help us with a specific virtue he or she lived during his or her life.
  • Saint cards encourage us to learn more about some of the thousands of holy men and women that have made their way to Heaven and have given us a model to live by.
  • The Church has a tradition of assigning saints, called “patron saints”, in a few rites, such as Confirmation.
  • This is a small means by which the Holy Spirit will communicate the need to grow in a specific virtue. Careful! The Holy Spirit may choose exactly the virtue you need to work on!
  • These virtues were chosen because of the relevance to the life of teenagers. These are virtues that teenagers today should strive to live out in order to grow closer to God as they mature.
  • Keep this card with you, such as in your room and in a place where you’ll see it often. Ask the saint to pray for you, especially for the virtue highlighted.
  • This is a Christmas gift from the youth group to each one of you!

announcing the virtue

Step 4: Leading the Activity

Once you’ve explained the activity, now lead a prayer to the Holy Spirit asking Him to guide each of us to the right virtue. I suggest a spontaneous prayer by the group leader.

There are various ways to choose saint cards. Here are two suggestions.

A) You could print a list of teens in your group, and then simply read the names one by one. It’s best to read it randomly for suspense! This is my preferred choice.

B) Or, as the teens are seated and look on, start asking for volunteers to come up one at a time. This option may instill some courage, but teens that are more bashful or less integrated with the group might shy away and dampen the moment.

As each one comes up to the table, they pick a saint card (face down, they don’t see it) and point at it. The group leader picks up the card and tells the group what saint it is and its corresponding virtue. These could be interesting moments for the teens, especially if they get something like “love for study”!

Note, it’s important that the group leader picks up the card. That way, the teen is left in suspense. The group leader can also make some helpful (and funny?) comments to add to the fun of the moment. Once read, the group leader gives it to the teen.

Step 5: Afterwards

It’s up to you how you want to emphasize the patron saints once they have been chosen. You could ask each teen to make a short presentation of their saint during the year, especially around the saint’s feast day.

If you are getting your group ready for confirmation, the teens may already have another patron saint they have chosen already. So you might not make a big deal of the saint cards during the year. But if they haven’t chosen one, this may help them choose one!

Enjoy the activity! God-willing He will make this a memorable event for you and your group!

Download the Saint Cards and Empty Formats

Saint cards for girls:

CH Patron Saint Cards- Girls

Saint cards for boys:

CQ Patron Saint Cards – Boys

Empty cards for formatting (Powerpoint): 

Empty Format for Patron Saints

The Challenge and Conquest club programs make new cards every year. You can inquire about these cards by visiting their website (Challenge or Conquest), or by emailing them here: customerservice@missionnetwork.com.

Other Options

  • Do this activity within the classroom, for one of your CCD classes!
  • Use these for religion class at Catholic school!
  • Use these for a family activity(each person can pick 3-5 saints, with 3-5 virtues to work on for the year!)
  • Or, several families can come together. As long as you have enough people, it can work great. Who says these cards (and virtues) are only for teens??
  • Any other ideas?

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If you liked this post, please, please share it with others that may benefit from reading it. Others may want to use this activity! Thank you!!!

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[ Click here to learn about my book series on the Adolescent Jesus]