One of the greatest gifts we can give to our students is the desire to grow in virtue. There are seven important Catholic virtues to introduce to our students so that they can integrate them into their lives.
These virtues include the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity (love) and the four cardinal virtues of prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice.
This lesson plan provides an introduction to these seven Catholic virtues and helps young people create the habits to grow in each one of them.
Catholic Virtues Lesson Objectives
- Students will be able to (SWBAT) list and define each of the seven Catholic virtues.
- SWBAT categorize and differentiate between the theological virtues and cardinal virtues.
- SWBAT select the best ways to grow in at least one of the theological and cardinal virtues.
- Students will feel determined to grow in the virtue they need the most.
I use this lesson planning checklist to create lesson plans.
Catholic Virtues Lesson Activities
Present: The Seven Catholic Virtues
As students watch the video, have them list each of the seven virtues under two columns:
Theological Virtues | Cardinal Virtues
Next to each virtue, have them write a synonym to remember the meaning (see the list below).
To strengthen their understanding of the meaning of each of the virtues, have the students draw a simple picture to accompany the synonym. Or, if they are using digital devices, invite them to pick an emoji that fits best.
The theological virtues are:
- Faith (Belief) 🤔
- Hope (Trust) 🤩
- Charity (Love) 😍
The cardinal virtues are:
- Prudence (Wisdom) 👉
- Fortitude (Courage) 💪
- Temperance (Self-control) ✋
- Justice (Fairness) 🤝
Present: The Catechism and Catholic Virtues (Older Students)
Give students a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church or print out copies of paragraphs 1803-1829.
- Divide each of the virtues up among the class. Have them rewrite the descriptions of the virtues in the Catechism in ways that students can understand.
- Then have each student join the other students with the same virtue. Together, have them come up with a single definition.
- Write each definition on the board.
Practice: Scripture and the Seven Virtues
Pick a few Scripture stories or invite the students to offer their own suggestions. Read each story aloud and ask the students to explain how the people in the stories either showed a virtue or needed a virtue.
For example, in the Parable of the Good Samaritan:
- Priest/Levite: They needed the theological virtue of charity and the cardinal virtues of fortitude and justice.
- Samaritan: He showed the theological virtue of charity and the cardinal virtues of prudence, fortitude, and justice.
There isn’t a right or wrong answer for the stories. The point is to invite students to apply what they have learned about each of the virtues.
A Catholic Virtues Meditation & Prayer
Which of the virtues do your students think they need the most?
Guide them in a short reflection on the virtues:
- Think back upon your day so far. Which virtues did you live out? Which virtues would have helped?
- Think back upon the last few days. Which virtues did you live out? Which virtues would have helped?
- Faith: Did you falter in your belief in God?
- Hope: Did you struggle to find hope in difficult times?
- Charity: Did you fail to love when you were needed by others?
- Prudence: Did you make wise decisions?
- Fortitude: Did you give in to fear?
- Temperance: Did you overindulge in anything (food, candy, TV, games, etc.)?
- Justice: Did you try to be fair with others?
Prayer: A Virtuous Index Card
Give each student an index card. On one side have them write the name of the virtue they need the most.
On the other side, invite them to write a short and simple praying asking for God’s help. They can use this template:
God, give me the gift of [FAITH/HOPE/CHARITY] when ______.
God, help me grow in [PRUDENCE/FORTITUDE/TEMPERANCE/JUSTICE]. I need to practice this virtue when _____.
Invite them to keep the index card in an important place as a reminder of the virtues they are pursuing.
Virtue Lesson Assessment
List the seven virtues on the board in random order. On a separate sheet of paper, have students do the following:
- Create a table with two columns: Theological Virtues and Cardinal Virtues. Write the name of each virtue in the correct category.
- Next, pick one of your favorite characters in a movie, book, or TV show. Write the ways in which they either need or show each of the seven virtues.
For example, someone might select Yoda from Star Wars and write:
Yoda shows the virtue of faith, but his faith is in the Force not God. He has hope in Luke or his sister to overcome the Dark Side. He shows charity by training Luke.
Yoda shows prudence in the way he trains Luke. He shows fortitude in standing up to Luke when the boy is frustrated or scared. He shows temperance by living a simple life on the planet Dagobah. He shows justice by urging Luke to complete his training instead of rushing to fight against Darth Vader.
Get The Religion Teacher’s Virtues Worksheet Collection
The Religion Teacher’s Virtues Worksheet Collection includes a printable handout for each of the seven Catholic virtues including the three theological virtues and the four cardinal virtues.