Cincinnati, OH – Parma Boyle knows the power of a good idea. As the Director of Religious Education at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Cropwell, AL, Boyle is responsible for the “Sunday School” program for 150 students from kindergarten through 12th grade. She understands that sometimes, after a full week of traditional school, some students would rather sleep in or play hoops, or “veg out” with a video game. But a good idea can keep them interested, stir discussion – during and after class – and maybe even create new habits. Above all, a good idea cements the lesson so that it is remembered long after the closing bell has sounded. Boyle has stumbled upon such an idea with these results – and more.
To celebrate the Feasts of the Archangels and the Feast of the Guardian Angel, Boyle and the Religious Education teachers at Our Lady of the Lake talked to the students about guardian angels – stressing that we all have them, and we’re never alone. Boyle printed the “Guardian Angel” prayer onto card stock. Then to give the idea some real “staying power” she affixed a Guardian Angel coin which tied the whole lesson together – and gave the students a tangible reminder that they can keep with them at all times.
“The kids loved them” says Boyle of the program. “The prayer card helps them remember the prayer – which is a good one to say every day. And they carry the coin around to remind them that they can count on the angels – that we’re never alone, and that we always have a friend.”
Like many great ideas, this one is simple – and memorable. But Boyle is quick to deflect the credit. “I received a mailing from the Salesian Missions and it had the Prayer and Angel Coin included” she recalls. “So I called them to ask if we could buy the coins from them. They didn’t sell them to us, but they referred us to Osborne Coinage – the company that makes the coins.”
In addition to the simplicity of the idea, and the memorable nature of the guardian angel coins, the program is adaptable for communities large and small. The church coins are available from stock, with low minimum order quantities, at a reasonable cost.
“We ordered the minimum quantity which was perfect for our needs” recalls Boyle. “There were a few leftovers which we put into the treasure closet (where students who get caught doing “good deeds” can go to retrieve a prize). The Guardian Angel cards are the first things taken.” And that is what excites Parma Boyle the most – energizing her as she seeks out the next great idea.