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  • Writer's pictureGraceful Willow Learning

Sailing into Adulthood: A Catholic Teen's Message in a Bottle

Activity for 17+ year olds



Message in a Bottle.


No, I am not talking about Nicholas Spark's novel, even though it is such a good read! What I am talking about is writing your own message and sending it in an actual bottle. You never know, someone might find it and it could be a good read to them (and even reply to you!) or it may be lost for ever and it would have served your as an outlet for all the feelings and emotions you are going through on these last months at home, almost out to see and live in the world. What a unique and simbolic activity!


I will start with a few disclaimers:

(1) Do not share personal identifiable information on your message, such as full name, address, phone number, ID number, or anything else that could be unsafe.

(2) I am not encouraging you to throw trash out in nature. All I am saying is that messages (on paper that are biodegradable) in a glass bottle (that does not harm animals and could preserve the message until it gets to someone) is a cool way to communicate with someone who may be needing to read your thoughts or it may just be a good outlet since you don't know the recipient.


Now, with that out of the way, let's dive into this cool activity!


The idea behing sending a message in a bottle is to pour out your heart, mind, and soul on a piece of paper that will travel the seas (or lake/river/mail?) and express your feelings about adulthood, the last bit of teenage years, job aspirations, love lessons you have learned, etc.


Like stated above, you do not know if or when someone will read your message, so if you want, you may include an email address, in case that person wants to reply to you. Please, do not include any other personal information, even if you get a response and you "become good friends", remember you do not know them and your safety is very important. So, if you want to become pen-pals (or email-pals), you may do so (with your parents' consent) but again, do not share sensitive information.


Here is what you will need:

  • Pen (pencil tends to erase with time, so you will want ink: ).

  • Paper (any kind will work... but if you want an old looking one, here is my recommendation)

  • Glass bottle (ask your parents for a wine bottle or any other one made of glass and that has a cork or seal. If you don't have one, here is a link).


Now, all you have to do is write... about whatever you feel like writing. It could be about an argument with a loved one; about the love of God; letting out all your worries and anxieties; among others.



Why should I write a message? Here are a few reasons that back up this wonderful activity:


  1. Spiritual Reflection:

  • Writing a message in a bottle provides an opportunity for spiritual reflection. It can be a personal letter to God, expressing thoughts, prayers, or reflections on your faith journey.

  1. Symbol of Hope and Faith:

  • The act of casting a message into the unknown waters can symbolize hope, faith, and trust in God's plan. It's a tangible expression of surrendering concerns and dreams to a higher power.

  1. Connection to Creation:

  • This activity fosters a connection to God's creation, recognizing the vastness of the oceans and the beauty of the natural world. It's a reminder of God's omnipotence and the awe-inspiring elements of creation.

  1. Time Capsule Effect:

  • A message in a bottle can serve as a time capsule. The sender may include personal goals, aspirations, and reflections on their current stage of life. It can be a powerful memento to reflect upon in the future. (And if you decide not to send it, it can be read by the 5-year-older [or 10, 20, etc.] version of yourself).

  1. Catholic Tradition of Pilgrimages:

  • In a sense, sending a message in a bottle can be compared to the Catholic tradition of pilgrimages. Pilgrimages involve a physical or spiritual journey, and casting a message into the water can be seen as a symbolic pilgrimage.

  1. Global Connection:

  • The idea that the message may travel great distances and potentially reach unknown shores can symbolize the universal nature of the Catholic faith. It's a way of acknowledging the global community of believers.

  1. Sacrament of Reconciliation:

  • The act of writing and sending a message can be a form of self-examination, akin to the sacrament of reconciliation. It allows the individual to introspect, confess, and seek spiritual growth. Just remember that reconciliation is a sacrament that needs to be done in person with a priest, and not just in your mind or thoughts.

  1. Mystery and Faith:

  • The mystery of where the bottle will end up can be a metaphor for the mysteries of faith. It emphasizes the unknown and encourages trust in God's plan, even when the destination is uncertain.

  1. Catholic Environmental Stewardship:

  • Encouraging environmental awareness and stewardship is in line with Catholic teachings. Sending a message in a bottle can be done responsibly, using eco-friendly materials, and can serve as a reminder to care for God's creation.

  1. Personal Growth:

  • The act of sending a message in a bottle is a unique and potentially adventurous experience. It can contribute to personal growth, independence, and a sense of exploration as the sender embraces the uncertainty of the journey.


So, now that you are inspired, go ahead and write a letter, a mission statement, a journal entry, or whatever comes to mind and send it to the world!


I hope you enjoy this activity. Please share with us your thoughts and how you did it by commenting down below.


Thank you and God Bless.

María Ignacia

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