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The Scavenger Hunt

Last week, Partnership leader Liz Nuzzolese sent a scavenger hunt prayer tool to share with our families. This is Liz, by the way:

From Fall 2019

In keeping with our principles for distance learning, we remain communities of faith, even now. Our schools are figuring out neat ways to sustain students’ spiritual growth and the sense of community among our families, using ideas like St. Athanasius’ Monday Meditation:

To come up with even more ways, we suspected Liz could help—and the scavenger hunt prayer tool proved us right.

 A scavenger hunt prayer involves praying for a certain thing every time you see certain objects. Like:

  • every time you see a bird, offer God thanks for Creation
  • when you see a plane, pray for immigrants
  • when you see a door open, pray for people’s hearts to be open to each other.

And so on. A child could do it looking out a window or wandering around an apartment in PJ’s. A family could create a list with drawings and keep track of prayers–or it could just be in people’s heads–like the game Punch Buggy, without the hitting.

Just as physical distancing has upended education, it is challenging churches and the very rituals of our spiritual lives. As people of faith, we are on our own scavenger hunt on a massive scale, searching both individually and collectively for different ways to worship and connect. 

As an aid in that hunt, we’ve been grateful for the resources Liz and other Partnership leaders are providing, and for the site V Encuentro has developed. The national movement to continue developing the U.S. Catholic Church’s Hispanic/Latino ministry, V Encuentro has endeavored to provide in one spot—and in English and Spanish—a directory of online Catholic resources for individual prayer, family spirituality, emotional and economic support–exactly what churches have always done, but in a new way.

The scavenger hunt tool that Liz shared, though, reinforces the idea that simple tools can often work best for learning and for spiritual growth. None of us needs a degree in theology to add items to a prayer scavenger hunt. We just need to be open to the idea that the everyday world is “charged with the grandeur of God,” as poet and priest Gerard Manley Hopkins says–even in challenging times.

The COVID crisis invites us to see with fresh eyes the preciousness of everyday life–tree branches out a window, the nearness of those we love, the taste of a favorite snack. It calls on us to find holiness right around us.

Jesus encountered people in their everyday lives—at wells, near their fishing boats, over dinner. He encountered them not when they were all shiny and ready for church; he encountered them in the mess of their daily lives. As Catholic educators and faith leaders are finding new ways to remind us, holiness can happen everywhere, and to people with no special qualifications. 

Beth Blaufuss is Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at Partnership Schools