Course I
Course II
Expected for
Course III
Expected for
Course IV
Course V
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Course VI
Expected for

The Encountering Jesus Series is Doctrinally Sound

Building on the strong Christological message of the USCCB’s Guidelines for Doctrinally Sound Catechetical Materials, the Encountering Jesus series promotes four essential dimensions of catechesis highlighted in that document:

1. Believing Community

Proclamation of Christ’s message must take place within the Church community that is a believing community.

2. Build Up the Church

The Church community must be strengthened by keeping traditions alive and by recommending learning activities that build up the Church.

3. Worship & Practice

Catechesis must lead teens to worship and practice.

4. Moral Teaching

All catechetical materials must clearly explain the Church’s moral teaching in order to help students strive for holiness and motivate them to lead Christian lives of loving and service.

What does it mean to encounter Jesus?

To “encounter” Jesus is much different than to only “learn about” him, “meet” him, or “know” him. To encounter Jesus is a deeper connection that leads to a response. There are so many examples of people who encountered Jesus in the Gospels. Consider just two of those here:

  • The blind man Bartimaeus came to Jesus only to have his sight restored. After this was accomplished, his life was changed. Rather than return from where he came, “immediately” after receiving his sight he “followed Jesus on the way” (see Mark 10:46-52).
  • After Jesus’ surprising conversation with a Samaritan woman around a well, the woman testified about Jesus to her neighbors, and “many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman” (Jn 4:39).

These people and many more in the Gospels who encountered Jesus had their lives changed by him. This is a stated goal of the Encountering Jesus series: that the lives of the teens will be changed.  Through the natural progression of learning, first, about the ancestors of Jesus (Course I),and then progressing to a deeper focus on the Gospels and his ministry on earth (Course II), through an understanding of his saving actions on our behalf (Course III), to a call to participate in the Church he founded (Course IV) and to experience him today through the Sacraments he established (Course V), finally leads to a deeper  motivation for living the moral life (Course VI) that Jesus modeled.

Available in Multiple Formats

All Ave Maria Press textbooks are available in print and multiple digital formats. Schools may purchase their eTextbooks through their textbook distributor or they can access them the Apple iBookstore on the iPad, Kno, and many other eTextbook marketplaces. An eTextbook PDF site license is also available upon request.

For more information about eTextbooks, visit the Ave Maria Press website.

Engaging Classroom Resources

Downloadable classroom resources are available for all Ave Maria Press textbooks. Resources include handouts, reading guides, crossword puzzles, videos, PowerPoints, tests, and more.

To access these resources, visit and browse multiple textbooks and textbook resources.

Encountering Jesus and Ave Maria Press

Blessed Basil Moreau
Michael Pennock

The Encountering Jesus series carries on two special traditions at Ave Maria Press. First, as a ministry of the Congregation of Holy Cross, this series seeks to employ the method of our founder Bl. Basil Moreau to form the “minds, hearts, and hands” of students to know, love, and serve Christ in the Church.

Secondly, the title of the series is a tribute to master teacher Michael Pennock (1945-2009), a pillar at Ave Maria Press and the original author of several of our texts. Mike devoted his life in both the classroom and in his writing to encouraging students to encounter Jesus. He wrote this invitation directly to teens:

“To encounter Jesus and to know him as your best friend is life’s greatest joy and most important task. Jesus is the source of true happiness and joy. How can you grow in your friendship with him? First, it’s important to dedicate yourself to a lifelong study of Jesus. He lived the most fascinating of all lives. But while reading and studying about Jesus is important, even more important is to know Jesus personally and to forge a friendship with him. You do this with prayer, reflection, and worship.”

The Ave Maria Press High School Curriculum Team is likewise committed to the mission of helping teenagers encounter Jesus.  We pledge our support to help you lead your students to a fruitful encounter with the Lord.

Ave Maria Press Curriculum

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