Monday, June 3, 2013

Pentecost 2013 - 3 Weeks of Depth

This past school year, Easter/Pentecost 2013, we received a fantastic blessing in two of the atriums I had: TIME. We ended both the third full week of May, following Pentecost. Most parish atriums end the year in April or the 1st or 2nd week of May - almost always before Pentecost and some years (like 2014) more than a month before Pentecost.

SO - we used that time! THREE WEEKS OF IT!

WEEK 1: Old Testament
First we introduced the Scripture for the gifts of the Holy Spirit - in prophet-fashion.

We set out a candle for each gift - did not light them this time. We labeled and discussed each gift - by definition and example. We then spent some time discussing these gifts, what they mean on different levels for a level 2 (ages 6-9) and a level 3 (ages 9-12) child (I also had some level 1 children in this group!). I sent them home for the week to contemplate these gifts and look at situations they are in, to ascertain which gifts are needed in particular situations.

For this group of children, we used the names of the Gifts as outlined by Isaiah in chapter 11 verses 2 and 3:

  • Wisdom
  • Understanding
  • Counsel
  • Strength
  • Knowledge
  • Fear of the Lord
  • Delight in the Fear of the Lord (Awe and Wonder)

WEEK 2: New Testament
The following week, we read and meditated upon the New Testament Scripture passages from the Acts of the Apostles (the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles). During our discussion, we brought in other mentionings of the Holy Spirit throughout the Gospels - the ones the children honed in on:

  • descent of the Holy Spirit upon Our Blessed Mother at the Annunciation/Incarnation
  • the Holy Spirit appearing as a dove at the Baptism of Our Lord
  • the Holy Spirit filling John the Baptist in his mother's womb - and Elizabeth's resulting Canticle
We considered each gift again - in light of our contemplation from the previous week at home and in light of the fact that we are each a child of God, called to live as Children of the Light. How shall we spread this light throughout the world? What gift do we need the most right now? 

And we each selected a gift to pray for in the coming week. 

After our group presentation, some of the children (a mix of level 2 and level 3) chose for their personal work to copy and illustrate the names of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit - 1 child wrote out the definitions as well - all of them illustrated their work.  

WEEK 3: The Celebration
Finally in our third week, we had a true Celebration - atrium-style. The children proclaimed the Scripture, proclaimed the Gifts, proclaimed the Church teacher. We set a beautiful prayer table designed by the children and we sang songs selected by the children.

The children selected their Gifts - some different than the previous week, some the same.

always tip the unlit candle into the lit one

Prayerfully considering
Calling the children by name to place their candles onto the table
Liturgy of Light style

All of the candles returned according to the gift prayed for
Our beautiful Spirit-filled children! 
They were each invited to snuff a candle
(I forget now who snuffed the remaining ones, since we had 7 extra than the number of children)