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!)
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!