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Gospel Theater for the Whole Community 92 Plays for Education and Worship

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Gospel Theater for the Whole Community
92 Plays for Education and Worship

Hear yel Hear yel Let the action begin!

Want to involve your whole parish community in *gospel theater*? Want to turn your faith formation gatherings into fun and interactive teachable moments? This invaluable resource will do both. Its 92 short and easy-to-stage gospel plays can be reproduced—whenever you need them—for all your parish catechetical gatherings.

Each play is accompanied by Background Notes that situate the gospel message for catechists, teachers, and parents. They also include directions and recommended props. There are For Discussion questions, one before the play and one after. Each play also has a Prayer Experience that relates to the scriptural theme of the play, and a Follow-Up Activity that can be done by an individual, family, or a group to further develop the theme from the gospel. Extras include 1) a chart that lists Sunday and feast day gospels in each liturgical cycle that have a corresponding play in the book; and 2) a topical index that correlates the plays with the curriculum being used.

These short gospel-based plays are perfect for faith formation sessions, intergenerational gatherings, all-school assemblies, summer Bible school, and family faith sharing. it's a great asset for whole community gatherings of every kind!

Gospel Theater for the Whole Community contains plays for 92 events from the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus. It is a new edition of my books Acting Out the Gospels and Acting Out the Miracles and Parables, both favorites among catechists and teachers. The playlets are a boon for many forms of religious education. Because they are short and ready-made, they are ideal for whole community catechesis, such as the Generations of Faith program. Learners can put on the plays for the assembly, or members of the whole group can perform them. Gospel playlets have long been an effective tool in traditional religion classrooms where teachers know that people learn more from what they do than from what they hear or see. Home schoolers, too, can benefit from the playlets as they bring stories about Jesus to life and make them more memorable.

You might incorporate the playlets into sessions or lessons on related topics. Or you can use them as an alternative to having learners merely reading or listening to the religion text or the Bible. Certainly having the learners themselves write gospel plays is an interesting, fun, and effective learning activity, but it consumes a lot of time. The material accompanying each playlet, as well as the plays themselves, provide an original approach.

The ready-made plays in this book are based directly on Scripture. These brief plays can be used in a session as

  • a lively introduction,
  • a method of developing a Bible story, • a review activity,
  • a culminating activity, or
  • a lead into a prayer experience.

They can be presented

  • for another class or other group,
  • as part of a program for families and other guests, or
  • within a liturgical or paraliturgical service.

The playlets are suitable for learners of any age for several reasons. The gospel stories themselves are simple and so is their vocabulary. Most of them will already be familiar to your learners. Furthermore, the faith sessions (the context of the playlets) provide you with the necessary preparation and follow-up that suit the playlets to the learners’ developmental stage.

Most of the wording of the playlets is based on the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. The playlets for events that appear in more than one gospel account are a blend of those accounts. Where dialogue is described in the Scriptures or merely implied, it has been supplied.

Each playlet in this book can be easily duplicated for the actors and others involved in staging it. The number of characters in a group marked (+) can be more or fewer according to the size of the group, to allow as many as possible—adults and children—to participate.

Helpful Features

Catechists and teachers, especially “novice” producers and directors, should not miss the “Ten Tips for Putting on Playlets.”

Certain features in the book alert you to the most appropriate time or use for each playlet. A chart lists Sunday or feast day gospels in each liturgical cycle that have a corresponding play in this book. It facilitates preparing liturgies enhanced by a play or helping learners derive more from the Sunday liturgy. The information that precedes each play also cites the Sunday or feast day of that gospel. Each gospel event is explained briefly under “Background Notes.” These notes clarify what took place, supply background information, and indicate the event’s significance. Themes for each gospel play assist you in correlating the play with the topics being studied. In addition, for each play discussion questions are suggested for before and after the performance. Some questions focus on the main message of the Scripture passage. Others are intended to help learners explore concepts that they might find puzzling or might overlook. Most importantly, some questions lead learners to relate the gospel events to themselves and their world. Choose or adapt the questions to the age level and needs of your learners.

In addition, the book offers two means for reinforcing the message. For each gospel event you’ll find a prayer—a traditional prayer, reflection, imaginative prayer, or other form—that can be prayed any time during the session. Also included are activities that can be carried out by a family, a group, or individuals of different age levels. For some activities it will help to have a model or sample pre- pared ahead of time.

This resource will be an invaluable aid to all catechists and teachers in providing the variety and involvement that are essential ingredients of good teaching. The playlets will enable you to teach creatively without undue time spent preparing plays. Moreover, your learners will encounter the Scriptures and Jesus in an enjoyable way, through an experience they will remember more than reading a page in a book.

Previously published by Twenty-Third Publications (ISBN 9781585955633).

Product Preview

This is a downloadable, reproducible product sold with a lifetime parish or school license. Please read the full license terms below.

Product License

This reproducible eResource is sold with a lifetime license for use within a parish, school, or diocesan office. You are allowed to make unlimited copies for use within your own community. You may also email these to members of your team or participants in your program. If you serve more than one parish or school, each should purchase its own license. You may not post our eResources to any web site without explicit permission to do so. Please contact us if you have any questions. Thank you for cooperating with our honor system regarding our product licenses.

Format: eResource
Product code: GUC804
Dimensions: 8½" x 11"
Length: 222 pages
The Pastoral Center
Written by Sr. Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND


Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND, is an editor, speaker, and the author of eighty-plus books on religious education and spirituality, including a novel, The Fisherman's Wife: The Gospel According to St. Peter's Spouse.  A Sister of Notre Dame, of Chardon, Ohio, she was a pastoral associate at St. Dominic Church in Shaker Heights, Ohio. She has taught every grade from first to twelfth and has been vocation director for her community and for the Cleveland Diocese. Learn more about Sr. Kathleen at

View all resources by Sr. Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND