We've been using the Faith and Life series for years and I continue to find it solid and dependable. We don't use the activity book. First Son would read one chapter about once a week then narrate it to me. We have the second edition, without the changes due to the Missal's revision. The helpful people at Ignatius provided a document listing all the changes to I could adjust the text myself.
This book has 31 chapters plus two additional chapters devoted to Advent and Christmas to schedule at the appropriate time (found at the end of the book). There's also an appendix on liturgical colors and vestments.
The first sixteen chapters focus on The Ten Commandments. They include examples of saints appropriate for each commandment. There are also examples of sins against each of the commandments that might be committed by a late elementary or early middle school aged child. Chapter 13 covers adultery and coveting. Though there is nothing explicit in the chapter, it won't make much sense or will lead to questions if the subject of marital intimacy and conception have not been discussed or explained. St. Maria Goretti is mentioned in this chapter, which frustrates me a little. I prefer her example as one of forgiveness rather than purity as I worry a young girl who is overpowered and attacked may erroneously blame herself.
There is also a small paragraph on secrets in chapter 15 that's not exactly bad, but I wish it had specified not keeping secrets about someone being hurt or hurting someone else. It might also have mentioned that discussing something uncomfortable or distressing with a priest can be helpful. The Confessional is protected by a vow of silence and the priest can help discern if someone else should be told.
The remaining chapters address the Mass, walking the student through each part of the liturgy. The Mass is placed in relationship to the Old Testament sacrifices.
The lamb was slaughtered to offer it up. But this was not all. To complete the religious ritual or celebration of the sacrifice, the people would eat the lamb. The gift that they offered was received back as a gift.Mass is even greater sacrifice, but the ritual is not complete without receiving the Eucharist.
We join the priest in offering Jesus to the Father; the Father accepts our gift and gives it back to us to eat....Holy Communion is normally meant to be received in the communal religious service which is the Mass. We are to go forward as God's family--not alone but in company.Later, in chapter 20, the discussion of the Mass continues.
Those who feed on his Body and Blood have life in him--Christ's life, which does not destroy our personality, but perfects, enriches, and preserves it to life everlasting.First Son reads well but not particularly quickly and he was usually able to read a chapter in ten to fifteen minutes followed by a few minutes of narration. We participate in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and CCD classes at our parish, but I believe the Faith and Life books complement those classes with excellent material presented clearly in a small amount of time. Every time I consider dropping them, I decide to continue.
The italic print: I received this book for free from our parish when they purchased the third edition for each of the classes. Links to Amazon are affiliate links. As an affiliate with Amazon, I receive a small commission if you follow one of my links, add something to your cart, and complete the purchase (in that order). Every little bit helps - thanks!