Sunday of the Paralytic Story Set


On this Sunday, the Sunday of the Paralytic, we commemorate the miracle of Christ healing a man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years, as told in the Gospel of John 5:1-15. I wanted to create another little set to tell the story to my daughter, so I dug around in my supply box and this is what I came up with!


These are 3.5 inch peg dolls, larger than those I have used for the CGS presentations, that I had purchased a long time ago for another project but never made (you can find them here, 4 for $5). The clothes are once again simple felt rectangles with a slit cut in the middle, tied with belts of felt or trim.  Because I wanted the paralytic to be able to pick up his pallet, I added pipe cleaner arms, and made the pallet out of a cereal box (Christ’s halo is the same cardboard painted with gold acrylic paint). Since the cardboard is so light, the pipe cleaners can hold it up; I had wanted to make the pallet out of wood but soon realized that would have required more substantial arms! Finally, the pool is just a piece of blue felt cut in a free-form shape.


Hopefully my little gal will enjoy retelling the story with this little set. It is so neat to see her beginning to use these materials to internalize the Gospels.  At our evening prayers the other evening, she chose to set up the Last Supper (Cenacle) presentation and the scene of her sitting in front of it was so beautiful I couldn’t resist snapping a quick picture.

(Don’t worry, we were right there to monitor the lit candles!)


The Last Supper: One Last Holy Week Post!

This is one last Holy week activity I did at home with my daughter that I wanted to share, then I’ll be moving on to more ways to celebrate Pascha! (Please excuse my tardiness :)) Since I have been doing Montessori lessons with my daughter at home, I wanted to begin introducing the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd presentations.  To this end, I created a very simple version of the materials used to present the Last Supper (the figures are usually beautifully hand painted). In the atrium, this is one of the first Paschal presentations a child receives (after the Parable of the Good Shepherd).

I made Jesus and the apostles from wooden peg dolls and simple felt clothes, with belts cut from from felt and leather trim.  I shaped the chalice and candle holders from Sculpey-style dough, and baked and then painted them with gold acrylic paint (the candles are birthday candles).  The bread is sculpted from the same dough, though I ran out of time to make a diskos (or paten). The table is made from 4 wooden spools and some scrap wood I found in an inexpensive woodcraft kit from Ben Franklin.  The “upper room” background is cut from a cereal box, and I used a wooden box from Micheal’s to hold all the materials.

The smaller, handled box also came from Micheal’s, and was great for carrying the materials with us to church.  I did the presentation at home first, and though my  little gal was very interested, she asked to run off and play immediately after.  So it was even more moving to see her get the materials out later at church, and ever so carefully set them up one by one, and feed the bread and wine to each apostle. You just cannot underestimate how much those little brains (and hearts) are absorbing!

This is just one of the beautiful CGS presentations for Pascha;  you can read more about them in a Catholic setting here.  (However,  it is hard to do it justice in writing;  if you ever have the chance to observe in an atrium, please take it! You will be moved.)   For a wonderful introduction to how the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is coming to be used and modified for the Orthodox Church, please see here. I had the pleasure of attending part of my training at St. Athanasius in Santa Barbara, and got to witness firsthand  the amazing work that Seraphima and the other catechists have done to spread this amazing approach to Orthodox churches across the country.   If you would like to learn more, Sofia Cavaletti’s seminal book The Religious Potential of the Child is usually the best place to start. (Amazon has it intermittently, you can order it  here and here).  For a preview on google books, click here.

Ok, more ways to celebrate the 50 days of Pascha coming soon!

Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday

I can’t believe how quickly Holy Week is approaching. Time has completely gotten away from me! On that note, I wanted to share some ideas for Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday, since they are quickly approaching.

Sylvia at Adventures of an Orthodox Mom has a beautiful post about her family tradition surrounding Lazarus Saturday, and has a recipe for Lazarakia posted, too.   Also,  Orthodoxeducation.blogspot has a fun “mummy” wrapping activity that looks fun for older kids!

For Palm Sunday, I was inspired by the “Hosanna” banner here and decided to make a simple one myself. Leanna used pretty doilies and real palm leaves to form the letters; I used simply construction paper and markers, so this is an activity that could easily be made with a group of children.  After cutting out the leaf shapes, I just wrote the letters, and lacking a hole punch, used clothespins to hang the leaves from a green ribbon.  Since my daughter is very interested in cutting right now, but has limited skills, I think she will enjoy snipping around the edges to make them even more “palm”-like.   There are lots of possibilities with these banners, you can use whatever materials you have on hand to decorate them more.  One fun idea would be to trace the letters in glue and add beans, little torn leaves, glitter, etc, though you may need to use cardstock to hold up to the glue.

Younger children can enjoy drawing and cutting out their own paper palms to wave; you can attach them to chopsticks, pencils, straws, etc.  I also created this little Palm Sunday set for my daughter to play with.  I have had the wooden peg dolls since my Catachesis training, being too intimidated to start painting them, given my horrible drawing skills. When I saw similar Godly Play/CGS figures outfitted in felt, I figured even I couldn’t mess that up! So I cut out some simple felt clothes, and left the faces blank (because I like this in the Waldorf approach, and also because all I can draw are smiley faces!) I then cut out cloaks and palms from felt; if you are a more talented artist than I, you could cut the figures out of felt as well.

You can purchase the peg dolls online or at Hobby Lobby, Ben Franklin, or AC Moore (they no longer sell them at my Michael’s).  Short on time? Check out the amazing Holy week/Pascha set offered at Orthodox Christian Craft Supply. Their learning box offers 11 crafts for Holy week and Pascha for only $15! Hopefully there is still time for shipping. When my daughter gets a little older I will definitely be purchasing a set for us to make.

A few Holy week ideas to link/share coming soon!