Thursday, December 18, 2008


A catechist was working with Felicity (12) to plan her first prayer service. She took a great deal of time choosing her reading, and finally settled on the Annunciation. She prepared the prayer table, and chose art of the Annunciation. After her reading, she invited everyone to bring to the prayer table something which spoke to her/him of Mary or angels. At the last moment, the catechist decided to participate, too, and grabbed one of the sheep from the sheepfold. The children gathered and explained their choices.
Beatrice (10)-The Scripture booklet of the Annunciation
Tara (12)-the "Luke" book from the bible material
David (10)-The world and cross from the Gifts material, "because Christ came for salvation of the world and forgiveness of sins."
Kevin (11)-The empty sheepfold, because "of all the people in the world, God could have chosen anyone, but chose Mary as the one choice.
Catechist-"And I had the sheep!"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mary Had a Baby

Hayden's (age 4) sung prayer at the Paschal Candle:
"Mary had a baby. This is good for all of us, and pray for Mary until the baby, until he dies in the ground, and then he rose on the cross. He was alive a long, long time ago. I thought he would never die again. But you can still go where he lived.
"Someday at supper he said, 'Here's my body' and 'Here's my blood. You should drink this until I die.' And if you wanted to go to the Land of Israel, you'd have to go across the ocean, and over New York and over the salty sea and the plane would drop you off where Jesus lived."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Son of Most High

Seven-year-0ld Edward drew this picture with the words, "The angele gabriel told Mary Jesus wood be called Son of the Most High."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Visitation

A 5-year-old child with autism received a presentation on the Visitation of Mary with Elizabeth. Afterwards, he took the figure of Mary and brought it to the sheepfold. She removed the sheep and place Mary at the center. He returned the sheep around her, then added Elizabeth.

The people who walked in darkness....

In a brilliant yellow, Serena (age 6) drew a picture with a bright star, and the words, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light."

Friday, October 3, 2008

I was giving the presentation of The Wedding Banquet. I told them to listen carefully so they could tell me what Jesus was trying to tell us about the Kingdom of Heaven. They listened intently. So intently, that one little fellow (age 8) said when I had finished, that he needed to hear it gain. He also asked me exactly what "binding hand and foot" really meant. So we went through the whole presentation again. Then we thought about it. They were very good at figuring out what Jesus meant. However, the little fellow still looked very concerned. Finally, he asked me if we could add another figure to the story. The figure of a queen. Intrigued by his thought pattern, I asked why. He was very clear. "Well, you see, if there had been a queen, she'd have given the fellow who showed up without a wedding robe a second chance."

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Book is Right!

Cecilia was a very quiet 3 year old who only whispered to her brother Quincy, 5, when she wanted to say something. But in February she was working with the Good Shepherd and announced in a loud, clear, voice to a small group working nearby, "They follow the Shepherd because they know his voice. The book is right!"

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sarah, 8, had this to say about the tax collector: Maybe the tax collector stayed back because he was afraid. He'd been hated for so long, he couldn't admit he was any good.

Friday, September 12, 2008

We need to be grateful....

After narrating the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, my group of 9-12-year-old children began to reflect. Lydia, 4th grade, immediately said, "We need to be grateful for what we have, and not be jealous of others. Like the children in Haiti [referring to children in the orphanage we were collecting clothing and raising money for] are grateful for food and probably not jealous of us."
The context of discussing plans to help the Haitian children immediately before the lesson nudged Lydia into a more immediate, or current, understanding of the parable than the children would usually have.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Keith, age 10, drew this picture of the parting of the Red Sea. On it he wrote, In him there is no darkness, and the night and the day are both alike.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

So beautiful I can hardly stand it

After the introduction to the atrium which began outside we called each child in and had a short introduction to the prayer table - then we broke up to decorate folders & name tags. Tyler, age 4, who had never seen the atrium, could not concentrate on the folder - he walked to the center of the room - quietly gazing at the liturgy shelf , altar/sacristy, prayer table, baptism, etc. Then he took a deep sigh and said " oh this is so beautiful I can hardly stand it."

Friday, August 29, 2008

We're IN the Kingdom

I had gathered a group of children to give the presentation of the Hidden Treasure. I had been giving "Kingdom" presentations over the past few weeks. I had noticed Caleb watching as I gave each presentation to other groups: Mustard Seed, Pearl, Seed. (Caleb and this group had already had all these presentations in previous years.) He was also looking intently each week at the mustard seed and wheat seed.
As I gathered the group and told them that we were going to read another Parable about the kingdom, Caleb said, "I've been thinking--Is the Kingdom like---the world?" I responded, "Let's read the new parable and see what Jesus says."
I proceeded to read the Scripture. When I brought out the material, a picture of a field and a small treasure box, Ben stood up, looked at his friends in the group, and said in a very confident and excited voice, "I knew it! Guys we're IN the Kingdom."

Catechist Impressions:
As I look back on this incident, I am so glad that I did not respond initially to Caleb's question, because affirming his initial question would have robbed him of the joy of his own discovery and response.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Trying to get his attention

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to present the Kingdom Parable of the Hidden treasure to a group of five 5-year-olds.

During the meditation on the parable, and the discussion following the solemn reading, Lydia raised her hand to be called on. Then, slowly and thoughtfully, with her eyes looking upward, she said, "I was thinking about that treasure. Maybe God sent angels to bury that treasure in the field. But the treasure's not the thing--the field is the thing. And when the man saw the treasure, he knew how valuable the whole kingdom would be. God was just trying to get his attention with the treasure."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Heaven has everything....

Peter, age 4 1/2 reflected on the parable of the Pearl of Great Price, "He (the Merchant) sold everything even his table to buy the pearl, but the pearl is heaven and heaven has everything...."

Friday, August 8, 2008

The kingdom of God is all around

A personal prayer from Julie's (8) missal:

He is our place of rest.
His power is in us.
He is our shield.
He helps us in making peace.
The kingdom of God is all around.

Do not be afraid for he is near. (surrounded by crosses and lit candles)

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Leaven

Julia, age 5, drew this illustration after she worked with the leaven, mixing yeast into flour and water to see how the yeast changes the mixture. The drawing shows a child removing a cloth cover from the yeast/flour mix to see how big it's gotten. It was part of a series drawings illustrating each step of the measuring/mixing process.

Friday, August 1, 2008

"Do you think the kingdom changes anything in the world?"

During a presentation of the leaven with a 6-9 group I asked, "Do you think the kingdom changes anything in the world?"
Felicity, 6, answered, "It changes us."
"It makes us grow - like the seed."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

As the catechist left Callie's summer birthday party, the child - who was still opening her gifts - left the gifts and other children and ran after the catechist. "When can I come back to the atrium?" she asked

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The love spreads out and grows

Q. How is God's kingdom like a mustard seed?
Leslie (5-years-old): It's like Jesus who started as a tiny baby and grew and grew - big in love.
Keegan (5-years-old): It's just small when it starts. And then the love spreads out and grows.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What is life all about?

Felicia's written reflection:
What is life all about?
The sun comes up, the sun goes down.
The tide comes in, the tide goes down.
You wake up, you go to sleep.
Is life just a routine?
Our purpose in life is not to see who becomes the richest.
It is not to see who is the most beautiful.
But it is to serve the Lord and learn to love Him.
So don't waste your time trying to become rich or beautiful,
spend it on learning to love the Lord and serve him.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Kingdom Changes Us

During a presentation of the leaven with a 6-9 group I asked, "Do you think the kingdom changes anything in the world?
Fiona, 6, answered, "It changes us."
"It makes us grow - like the seed."

Friday, May 30, 2008

We were discussing the leaven and how the yeast is mixed with the flour and how it changes when mixed together. I asked, "How do you think the Kingdom of god is? Can we see it?" Nicole, age 4, replied, "It's like the yeast that we mixed in the flour. We know that it's there but we can't see it."

Bella, also 4, replied "It grows and grows just like the flour did when we put the yeast in."

One child made a reference to the mustard seed and how when it is planted, it becomes the biggest tree even though it's the smallest seed on earth."

Friday, May 23, 2008

God made the Sun, Jesus makes it shine!

The small group was around the altar. A child prayed "Thank you for making the sun."
Willa responded "God made the sun, Jesus makes it shine!"

Friday, May 16, 2008

God is in the seed

After completing a meditation on the mustard seed, Lucas, age six, wrote these words:
"Jesus told his disciples stories. One day he told them that one tiny seed could grow into a giant tree. God is in the seed."

The back of Lucas' book contained these words:
"His disciples said, "We trust you."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Keith, age 4, when asked - "I wonder what came out of the tomb" answered:

"The Holy Spirit"

Friday, May 9, 2008

Pentecost is the day of love

Kyle, age 7, wrote this on the day of the Pentecost celebration, shortly after his First Communion:

Sing for love and pray for peace.
God in heaven has prepared a room for me.
The goal of heaven is mine.
Sing for love, and pray for peace.
You can't see Jesus in a blink of an eye, but he is around you and me all the time.
Oh, oh, h, oh, sing for love and pray for peace.
Pentecost is the day I love
a day of coming of the spirit's love.
Pentecost we celebrate as the birthday of the church.
Pentecost is the day of love
and the gentle coming of the dove.
Pentecost is the day the holy spirit came from above.
Tongues of fire came raining down on the birthday of the church.
Send me off, send me off to where I need to go.
Send me off, my life is the road that takes me where I need to go.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Meditation on the Ascension

Excerpts from discussion among 8- and 9-year olds and their catechist:

We had been meditating on the message of the men in white, after Jesus was taken into heaven, that the apostles would see Jesus again; and on Jesus’ message that only the Father knew the time when Jesus would “restore the kingdom to Israel.”

Dawson asked: “When was the first time God was on the earth so that people could see him?”

Nick: “I think it was on Christmas when Jesus was born.”

Dawson: “But what about when He did the plagues in Egypt?” [Caleb seemed to be indicating that his question pertained not just to the Incarnation of God as Christ, but to visible manifestations of God on earth through time.]

Greta said: “He appeared in the burning bush.”
Cole said: “I think this is the first time God appeared on earth,” and brought a picture of Mary praying during the event of the Annunciation.

The catechist asked: “Do you think it would be easier, more understandable, to recognize God in the burning bush or to see Him as the shepherds did at the crib in Bethlehem?”

Greta immediately responded: “In the burning bush. For the shepherds, it was just a baby and how could they be sure that it wasn’t like any other baby? But a burning bush is something that no one else would ever have seen.” [Greta seemed to mean that the burning bush was so unique in comparison with a human child that it would be easier to recognize God in something so out-of-the-ordinary.]

Bianca said: “Adam and Eve saw God in the garden.” Others mentioned the appearance of the angel Gabriel to Mary as a way to see God.

There followed some discussion on these various experiences of God’s presence among us. The catechist then tried to clarify Dawson’s original question: “Are you wondering when God appeared for the first time on earth as a real person that we could see and hear and touch?” Dawson said yes. The catechist said, “That was Jesus.”

Then, Una asked, “How did God know to choose Jesus?”

The catechist said, “Let’s listen to what John says at the beginning of his gospel:
In the beginning was the Word,
And the Word was with God,
And the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
Who do you think the Word could be?” The children responded, “Jesus.”

The catechist said, “Now let’s listen again but let’s substitute the name ‘Jesus’ for the ‘Word.’
After re-reading the passage in this manner, Una simply said, “Oh, that makes sense.”

But then Dawson returned again to the root of his questioning: “But when did God the Father first appear on earth to people?”

The catechist offered an explanation: “God came to earth as Jesus, who is God the Son. God the Father appeared on earth in human form as God the Son. God the Father and God the Son are the same God, but different persons in the one God.”

Dawson responded: “But how can that be? That doesn’t make sense.”

Greta offered this explanation: “Humans get an illusion that it’s impossible because there is nothing on earth like it. Our words cannot explain it because the way we’ve been raised up with words, words cannot explain Jesus, no words on earth can explain Jesus. You just have to forget about words on earth and listen to words in the Bible. The only way I can think of knowing it is we have different parts of our body – all different parts, but the same body. They are all part of us, one person.”

Lina said: “We’ll know in heaven.”

Nick said: “On earth we have the questions; in heaven we will have the answers.”

The catechist suggested closing with a song, and Blake suggested, “That one that talks about God in three persons.” We sang ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ together.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

He keeps his sheep in his heart

Bella was with her mother looking at a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and said, "That's the Good Shepherd."
Mother: How do you know?
Bella: That's Jesus and see his heart, that's where he keeps his sheep.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Lite of Crist has come from the darcness

Seven-year-old Sabina drew this picture during her first communion retreat.
She included the words, "The lite of crist has come from the darcness."

Monday, April 14, 2008

No one can take us out of Jesus

During the lesson on preparing the chalice at Mass. We said: "The wine represents Jesus. (Pour a full cruet into chalice.) The water represents you and me. (Pour one drop of water into the wine.) Now, what could this mean for us?"

Silence descended as they stared at what had just happened. Then they burst out: "We're inside Jesus...We disappear; we're gone...Yes...No, we're still us...We become Jesus...No one can take us out of Jesus!"

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Road to Emmaus

At the age of 13, the first year after Lizzy completed CGS, she was asked to share a reflection on the reading of the journey to Emmaus for the liturgy at her Confirmation retreat:

Good evening.
We share a similar journey as the disciples journey to Emmaus. We have been told of Jesus' death and resurrection, yet we try to understand its meaning. Sometimes we are confused by it, much like Jesus'disciples. We have read the Bible and learned about Jesus'teachings yet we remain blind. And although each of us has experienced the Lord's presence in our own life, have we learned to truly recognize Jesus?

The spiritual journeys we take as Christians are indeed journeys from blindness to sight. And we must rely upon the gift of discernment to aid us as we walk towards God.

There is a contrast between the women at the tomb and the disciples' response to Jesus' resurrection. The women did not see Jesus, but understood that the angel was sent by god and had accurately proclaimed that Jesus had risen. However, the disciples were chided for their disbelief and confronted with the scriptures by Jesus himself. Yet they could not understand the truth. Finally when Jesus shared a meal with them, their eyes were opened and they understood. Then Jesus left the disciples to marvel at the events of that day.

Let us come together as we prepare for our confirmation and share in the Paschal Mystery.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Meditation with the Sand Labyrinth

From a catechist: "I decided to present the sand labyrinth to my Level 2 children. They each took a turn "walking" through the labyrinth and then later, I asked about their experience with it. One child said it felt weird but good.

"Another seven-year-old said it reminded her of Jesus. I asked in what way. She said, 'Well, going in made me think of Jesus as He carried his cross through Jerusalem. In the center was like where He was crucified with those two other guys. Coming out made me think of His time in the tomb and when I finally got out, it was like Jesus' coming to life again.'"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Nails Do Not Hold Him

A simple cross was drawn with nails in it, but no Jesus. I asked where Jesus was and seven-year-old Kurt replied, "The Nails did not hold Him," followed by silence.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

First Communion Meditation Drawing

For his first communion preparation, 8-year-old Gabriel drew this as a meditation.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Table Where Everyone Can Eat

During children's chapel, which takes place in the Level One atrium, we read the story of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31). After our discussion a six-year-old child went to get the Last Supper material and told us all "This is a table where everyone can eat. (The child had seen the last Supper material the previous spring.)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lenten Booklet

Seven-year-old Derrick created these pictures as a three page lenten book. His words say, "God is good to me and evrey bodey." Then , "God made me speshel."
During a review of Good Shepherd presentation at the beginning of the new school year:
Q: "What do you already know about the Good Shepherd?"
Katherine: A long time before Jesus was on the earth, the Jewish people were slaves in Egypt. God and Moses did plagues on Pharoah and the Egyptians, and the worst one was the Death Angel. The Death Angel flew over the houses that had the blood of the lamb on the doorpost, but all the first born sons of the Egyptians died. Even Pharoah's own son. But when Jesus came to earth and lived out love, and died on the cross and rose up on Easter, the Death Angel lost his power forever."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Presentation at the Temple

We were meditating on the Presentation in the Temple, and particularly on Simeon's response to the Holy Spirit's prompting to go to the temple, and his response to holding the Christ child. Kristina, age 8, asked, “How do we know if the Holy Spirit is really speaking to us?” She deeply considered this question, wondering, “Is it in a dream, or while we are awake? And how do we know for sure that it is the Holy Spirit, and not just our own mind?” This is a profound question.

During the same presentation, the overarching theme of all the Infancy Narratives (“Who is this child?”) really surfaced for Eleanor (age 8). She asked, “Did Jesus when He was a baby know that He was God?” This is a mystery people have pondered for ages. The catechist responded, “Well, we know that Jesus was a real baby, and as a person He saw the world as a baby does. We also know that Jesus was truly God, who is all-knowing.” The interchange was followed by a period of silence, but it was the full sort of silence that is truly a response to a mystery.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I would lay down my life for the sheep

A 7-year-old drew this picture of the Good Shepherd laying down his life for the sheep. Note the light around the letters.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Wonder and Awe

Quinn, age 7, chose the readings and songs for our Pentecost Mass. For the first reading, he had chosen the story of the Magi. It seemed a little out of season, but then I realized it made a nice connection to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, so I mentioned that the magi brought gifts to Jesus, and we receive gifts from the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Then we did the presentation where each child selects a "gift" and lights a candle from that gift's candle.

We returned to the atrium after Mass for an "Open house" work period;' We asked the children to show their parents some of their favorite materials. It was a little chaotic because there were refreshments and tons of people, but the children ate their cake and then set to work.

Cole, 5, who has Down Syndrome, chose the Adoration of the Magi. He took the materials out of the box and then pointed emphatically at me and then at a chair next to his: he wanted me to read the Scripture booklet.

As I was reading, Colin, also 5, stopped and listened, then said, "Oh! Wonder and awe! That's one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It's the one the three kings had." And then he walked away.

Friday, January 4, 2008

From the Journal of Catechist Dan Teller

We were meditating on the Flight into Egypt, and the relationship between the kingships of Herod and Jesus. Isabel asked if Jesus, as an infant, knew that he was a king. The catechist responded that the question of what Jesus knew as a child is a mystery, since he was a human child who would have had limited knowledge, yet was also God who is all-knowing.

Isabel (age 8) responded: “He didn’t know much on earth, but he knew all he needed to know, being King.”

This juxtaposition of the humanity and the divinity of Jesus has captured the children’s minds this year. Earlier in the year, we discussed the mystery of the Trinity, and Jesus as the Second Person of the Trinity. The catechist brought up the first chapter of John’s gospel, which says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” After this discussion, Robert (age 6) drew the following picture. His phonetically written meditation says: “What I am thinking is that how can Jesus can be God if God was born and Jesus has no beginning and no end. The end.” He captioned his drawing “God and Jesus.” Above the figure of the crucified Christ (with a heart), he wrote “God,”, and above a smiling figure with a heart, he wrote “Jesus.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Visitors from the East

During the three kings presentation 6-year-old Jude asked: "Where in the East did the King's come from?" I told him I didn't really know. He said,"I think they came from that part of Russia that's all the way over close to Alaska."

At the end of the presentation he commented again: " I think they came from India."

The following day Jude was working with the three kings again with some other children. They asked me to read it to them. At the end of the reading we began discussing the gifts. When I explained that myhrr was a perfumed oil he said: "Oh, like the oil that the women came to put on Jesus' body." I said, "You mean at the tomb." He said: "Yes"
Five-year-old Samuel then said:"Except he wasn't there, the tomb was empty."
"Where was he?" I asked,
"He rose and there was an angel there instead," Samuel answered.

From there we went into a discussion about angels and how they are messengers of God and that they usually say "to not be afraid".