Papal Notebook: The rest of the story

{no needle & thREAD today. I'll be updating here throughout the day. If you have links to add to our list as we teach our children about Pope Francis, please, please share in the comments! Scroll to the bottom for new links and ideas to celebrate Pope Francis)



As the next few weeks unfold, my children will create a notebook to honor Pope Benedict XVI and to document the election of a new pope. Here is a rough outline of that notebook, based upon the ones we did eight years ago. I am absolutely certain that this outline will change as I become more aware of new resources. Please, please, feel free to leave your ideas and resources in the comments and I'll update the post as we go.

First, some reading is in order:

Joseph and Chico 

Max and Benedict

Be Saints

Friendship with Jesus

We Have a Pope (Be sure to check the other buying options at Amazon. You can still get this one pretty quickly.)


For the teenagers:

Come Meet Jesus (reviewed a bit here)

God's Choice: Pope Benedict XVI


Beautiful Papal Lapbook

What will we call the pope when he resigns? End of pontificate details

Notebook ideas:

::A narration from each child who remembers when Benedict XVI was elected. We have our notebooks from last time to remind us of that day. For children to young to remember, we'll type a dictation of what they've learned in their reading and from brothers and sisters.

Coloring page of Benedict XVI

::A timeline of the life of Benedict XVI

Biography of Pope Benedict XVI


*Pope Benedict XVI's statement after the election. Since my children included this in the notebooks they made when he was elected, it will be fun to see how they've grown in their ability to capture the same message on paper now.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters: After the great Pope John Paul II, the Lord Cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.  

I am consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to act, even with inadequate instruments and above all I entrust myself to your prayers. 
In the joy of the Risen Lord, trusting in His permanent help, as we go forward the Lord will help us, and His Mother, Mary Most Holy, is on our side Thank you”.



*Prayer for Benedict XVI:

Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to Your shepherd, the Pope, a spirit of courage and right judgement, a spirit of knowledge and love.

By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care may he, as successor to the apostle Peter and vicar of Christ, build Your church into a sacrament of unity, love, and peace for all the world.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

*Copywork for big kids:

Dear Brothers, 
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. 

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. 

I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. 

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. 

For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is. 

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. 

And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. 

With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer. 

From the Vatican 
10 February 2013 


*Additional copywork will be taken extensively from these two books:

Be Saints

Friendship with Jesus

::Pope Benedict's Coat of Arms:

Pope Benedict XVI Coat of Arms (primary)

Symbolism in the Coat of Arms (upper elementary)

 Fr. Michael Gaitley on Pope Benedict and Lent


*Prayer for the conclave:< <to be added later>>

::The Election Process:

Electing a New Pope 3 page PDF for children, suitable to print and put in notebooks. alternatively, children who are old enough can narrate this process to be keyboarded by mom. If they are able, they can write it themselves.

Who Are These People? 1 page PDF on roles of specific cardinals in the conclave.

Conclave facts. Here, too. Design notebook pages to highlight some of the facts that most interest each child. 

Make black and white smoke.

Conclave resource for middle school students

Excellent resource on the Papal Election for older students.


Pope Francis

First on the agenda: Daily Mass. Won't it be wonderful to hear "Francis, our Pope..."? Can't wait!

Some copywork for the day: First address from St. Peter's (English translation)

Tim Gray on the significance of Francis' name

Cardinal Dolan on the "gentle breeze of the Holy Spirit" in the conclave.

 Dr. Alan Schreck on the Election of Pope Francis (note: he says "Francis the First." There has never been a Pope Francis, but we won't call him Francis I until there is a Francis II.)

On the night of the election, we had empanadas for dinner (and Malbec for the grownups). I didn't make them from scratch. Mike picked them up from his favorite hole-in-wall empanada place in DC. But here are several recipes and thoughts on freezing. Might be nice on March 19, the date of the installation.

So many want to know: "Will Pope Francis be a traditionalist or a reformer; will he focus on orthodoxy or social justice; will he emphasize the truths of the faith or the necessity of serving the poor? But these are the wrong questions. The fact is that Pope Francis will remind the world that Catholicism rejects those dichotomies as false and proposes a both/and approach. Anything less is simply not Catholic. "

Teenage reading: Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church 

Some Pope Francis Printables

More notebooking pages, printables.