Monday, March 30, 2009

Dorie, age 4, had come back to the atrium for her second year. She had prepared the altar many times but had never had the Last Supper presentation. One day in the fall she sat for a long time gazing at a 2-dimensional wooden model of the Last Supper - a work of art kept near the material on the shelf. The cup and plate were crude looking rather like a wooden knob and a flat chip. I (the catechist) went and sat quietly beside her for a while. I touched the cup and plate and said, "They are like the chalice and paten." She looked at me and said intensely, "They are the chalice and paten."

Monday, March 23, 2009

But Jesus didn't stay dead

Delia, age 3, was fascinated with the Last Supper (Cenacle) presentation and asked for it on perhaps six successive weeks. When it was presented to her each time, the figures of Jesus and the twelve were taken one by one from their box as they were brought into the upper room and put around the table. Delia, however, when working alone with the material, always carefully lined the figures up behind Jesus and moved them in and out of the room in this way. I finally realized that she was connecting them with the Good Shepherd story and have since watched her move the figures both in the Good Shepherd parable and Cenacle the same way. She had discovered a great theological truth.

One Sunday after several weeks of this, she was listening to the Eucharistic prayer in church. She asked, "Where is Jesus?" I wondered how best to respond. Last fall our beloved dog died. Delia has been trying to understand death.

Leaving church one Sunday during the weeks she was so involved with the Last Supper story, we passed a large crucifix, with the feet of a life-sized Jesus at her eye level. She approached it and felt the nails, carefully tracing each piece. "Are these real?" she asked. I replied that they were part of the statue, a picture of the real nails. Delia caressed the feet, kissed them, and paused for some time.

Then her mood brightened, she said, "But Jesus didn't stay dead." I asked her what happened. "He got up," she said, and skipped off for cookies and milk at coffee hour.

Monday, March 16, 2009

One of our 2.5 year olds was talking to herself in the Atrium: "Nobody plays with me, I want to play with Jesus." And when she walked to the other room with the Nativity and the relief map of Israel, she took the baby Jesus from the Nativity, moved to the map and took out the cross, then placed the two against each other. I never saw a baby Jesus on the cross, and was impressed with how she found the association.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Jesus, Remember Me.....

During Lent some children (five year olds) were working with the altar materials (a boy and a girl). The little boy began to hum a song... the girl recognized it and began to sing, "Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom." A child nearby was copying Psalm 23. She stopped and began to sing. Three girls doing tracing also stopped and began to sing. Soon most of the children (20 in class) were singing! I was near the two who were mixing the Leaven. They also sang. When the song stopped, several of the children laughed and the two I was watching just smiled at one another and went back to work. I knew then the real power of the leaven lesson!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Fettuccia Presentation II

From Dan Teller's Journal of Children's Responses
The Fettuccia is a 50-meter long ribbon that gives the elementary child an impression of the vastness and unity of the kingdom of God. The following responses were offered during this presentation to the children:

Una (6): “God gave us the gift of the whole world. What gift can we give to God?”
Catechist: “What could we give him?”
Una: “Gold.”
Catechist: “Gold. Could we give Him anything else.”
Una, then the other children: “Our love. Our kindnesses, gold, (other responses).”

Towards the end of the ribbon, a figure of a human being and a hand represent the first human beings, created in God’s image. Nolan (6), while reflecting on the figure of the human being and the hand, remarked “We help God create!”