Monday, September 28, 2009

The Good Shepherd

Sean, age 3 1/2 was doing the Good Shepherd work. He asked me to join him and asked me to light the scripture candle. I cannot recall all he said, but he talked for 10-15 minutes almost nonstop about the Good Shepherd. A sampling follows:

(Holding the sheep) This is me. This is me when I was a baby.
(Picking up another sheep) And this is my brother.
(Pointing to the flock) This is the Good Shepherd's family.
(Taking a sheep out of the fold.) This sheep is lost. He is not really lost. (Placed sheep on back side of sheepfold with nose through twine.) He's looking in the fold. He wants to come in.
Here I began reading the scripture booklet. "The Good shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out." (We placed the Good shepherd and the sheep out in the pasture.) And then we walked. And we took a little trips. And then I climbed up. (Sean placed his sheep up on the Good shepherd shoulders.) And then my dad did that too! (He had much joy in his voice.) And then we closed up our sheepfold so we could live in that.
And this is the watch out person and these are all the sheep.
He paused. I read, "When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him." (Sean spoke) And then the leader comes along too. Some sheep are the leaders. Only two sheep have to be the leaders.
I read, "The sheep follow him because they know his voice." Sean spoke: Can you help me make it further so the other sheep get in? (He wanted me to help move the Good Shepherd and sheep around the sheepfold to make room for all the sheep to follow.)
The sheep are following the Good Shepherd and then some want to come in the fold. Then they lift up the gate.
I said, "And the Good Shepherd always makes sure that the sheep are safe."Sean: And no stranger comes along.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Look, Mom. It's Jesus

Nora is the catechist and mother of a four year old boy, Nolan, who generally appears to need more movement than many other children of the same age, verbal, and loud. His work is often in the gray area between work and play. He and his best friend were at the cenacle. Then Nolan started taking things from the cenacle over to the altar. Nora reached a "that's it!" moment and heads over to the altar area with just enough presence of mind to ask first about Nolan's work. He unlocks the tabernacle, opens the door, and says, "Look, Mom. It's Jesus!"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Roberta practically danced outside of the Atrium, in the courtyard. It was finally her turn to come to the Atrium! She had been coming with her mother, watching her older brother Daniel enter the atrium, for three years. Finally, she would hear her own name called! Roberta was the first to offer to model a "quiet walk", to whisper her name using "quiet talking", and was very eager to name the items she saw on the prayer table. When I asked what she saw, she said, "I see Jesus, holding a lamb." How amazing to me that children intuitively know Jesus is our Good Shepherd. And as we walked through the environment, quietly taking in all that we could with just our eyes, she stopped before some artwork of the Good Shepherd, which hung on the walls near our Mass area. "Look! Jesus is everywhere here!" Another year is underway.

Monday, September 7, 2009

An Introduction to the Atrium

The children were gathered around the prayer table for welcoming and an introduction into their special place,the atrium. We then gave every child an item from the prayer table, from the cloth to the Good Shepherd statue, to hold as we very slowly and quietly processed around the room singing, "Come into God's presence singing Alleluia! Alleluia!" Then, as we came back to the prayer table each child in turn placed their item back on the table. (We had 18 children and 6 adults that day!) The children were asked if they had a song they'd like to share and 3 1/2 year old Nena leaped from the floor and very solemnly began to sing, "Twinkle, twinkle, little star" All of the children proceeded to sing along in the same solemn manner.

After another song Nena jumped up again and began to sing something entirely of her own creation - in this small lilting voice. Not all of it was intelligible - "love" was mentioned and "beautiful". It only lasted a few seconds and then she shyly sat down - it was so lovely and certainly set the mood and tone for the rest of the morning for all of us - children and adults - in the atrium.