Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Re-visiting Level 2

Towards the end of the school year, we had our First Communion weekend across the 4 parishes (yes, our local priest covers 4 parishes; alone).

Each parish has one Mass and the families chose the Mass they wanted to attend. Each parish has ONE Mass each weekend - two on Saturday; two on Sunday.

And it all meant that our religious ed attendance plummeted. Not to mention the presence of catechists ;)

Our level 2 catechist is what I call "the main music lady" - she covers it all at the one parish (arranges for rotating musicians so she doesn't have to do music every weekend; she does the music every other weekend at one of the other parishes; and she is the sacramental preparation catechist (and my life-saver, right-hand, God-send, blessing - you name it!).

WELL. Our religious ed class is after one parish's early morning Mass; and before the next parish's. With after-Mass photos, the level 2 catechist knew she wouldn't be in class more than 5 minutes (and then she went to the other parish); the DRE would be late; my assistant was out of town; the level 1 catechists all had subs; the level 2 assistant would be late.....

As the only "regular atrium catechist" present, I gathered all the level 3 and level 2 children in the level 2 atrium; monitored the level 1 children until their catechists arrived... and otherwise just observed what would happen.

With fewer numbers, it was really interesting:

My level 3 children were, at first, the only children there. Then one came in with her level 2 age brother. Then the others trickled in.

About half-way in, I called the L2 children for a presentation on the Maxims cabinet and Summary of the Law - I only had 1st an 3rd graders. The L3 children all came as well even though they knew they didn't have to. They did a remarkable job staying with the level 2 meditation and helping the level 2 children "understand".

Level 3 got right to work with items of interest from level 2
(none of these girls had been in level 2 before)

They don't even fit under the tables! 

These 4th graders miss the model altar! 

She thinks she's getting into trouble and trying to pull the innocent face ;)
She IS innocent! 

They don't believe me they are ALLOWED to get out this work! 

L2 boy who LOVES to decorate the atrium -
brought this HUGE bouquet of flowers for the prayer table.
Mystery of Life and Death in the foreground there. 

Close-up of those flowers - they shifted when we walked with them,
so he had to adjust them more beautifully. 

Happy to come back for a visit to their childhood atrium ;)
L3 boy in the back with the wooden Holy Bible
(note to self - the children still want this wooden work in L3 -
the paper version isn't cutting it)

Planning Communal Prayer - of their own accord

Busy working - mix of L2 and L3

Still working 

Still planning prayer :) 

One of the girls who planned prayer, needed to leave;
so her brother filled in. 

preparing for Communal Prayer
The boy holding the Paschal Candle - we were waiting for a couple of
children to come back with a solution for the wrong year.
The children noticed this and really wanted it fixed.
So they all shared ideas; some went to find a solution;
everyone else waited patiently....
because we MUST have an accurate Light!

I just LOVE how we can transfer atrium spaces and the children entirely respect one another, respect the space and truly desire to beautify the space. This shows me that they find something of value in this place - and they cherish it.

Thank you children!

Monday, May 20, 2013


Yes, this post was from last January ;)

We reconvened our Wednesday/Sunday classes rather late in the month of January, but we had to celebrate Epiphany regardless - so level 3 planned and presented for the level 2 atrium.

We have two classes - different children in each class - these images are a mix of both.

Advent wreath is placed as a sign of our waiting -
for what are we waiting?
For promises to be fulfilled.
 I helped write the narration, which one child read; the other children took turns placing the Books of the Bible, the Advent wreath, lighting candles, reading the prophecies, the infancy narratives (just one particular verse from each one, along with a summary of the narrative), the light of Christ (the Paschal Candle), the baptism garment to show the light spreading throughout the world and the Parousia symbol.


Level 2 children were each given a candle to place in front of a Scripture card as it was placed by the level 3 child doing the reading. These Scripture passages are a light - "Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet and a Light Unto My Path."

We also sang songs at intermittent points: "light one candle"; "the light of Christ has come into the world" (with corresponding verses to match the "light one candle" song - love, joy, peace, hope); and another I don't recall right now (I'll update the post if I remember to check my notes and do so ;) ).

We have eternal hope.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Genesis Chapter 25

This is not specifically atrium - I am adding it here because my son has been in atrium with me for 8 years. This past year being is first in level 3 (a year early) - and he reads the Bible a bit different from your average child. I'm not bragging there ;) He reads the Bible like a child has been in level 1 atrium almost continuously for 8 years (at least once a week; sometimes 4-6 times); in level 2 almost continuously for 7 years (at least once a week; sometimes 3-5); and level 3 for a year. Not to mention all the formation courses he has attended! and even assisted!

We have started a sequence of reading through the Bible in a year. At the time of writing this, we are still in Genesis.

Chapter 25 to be specific.

How many times I've read this passage and only THIS time did I really read it. And he picked up on it too.

We all know that Abraham had two sons: as Abram, he bore a son by his wife's maid (Ishmael); then the covenant was completed, his name changed to Abraham and Sarah bore him a son in her old age: Isaac.


After the death of Sarah, Isaac took solace in his wife Rebekkah (Genesis 24:67b).

After the death of Sarah, Abraham took solace in a new wife: Keturah.

This one seems accurate - 9 brothers;
but what about their ages? 


Ishmael had 12 sons to rule over 12 tribes.

Isaac grandfathered 11 boys; one boy had two sons to replace him; making what we know as the 12 tribes of Israel.
Side note: Joseph had two sons from whom 2 tribes received their names; Joseph did not have a tribe named after him. Benjamin being the younger brother, this means that only 9 brothers (at most because perhaps some were toddlers!) participated in any way in the selling of Joseph to the Egyptians.
I wish those people who write children's Bibles would at least get the stories ACCURATE.

Keturah bore 6 sons to Abraham; their ultimate descendants as listed come to 13, so it doesn't fit above; all 6 original sons were given grants and sent away from Isaac (probably because of what happened between Isaac and Ishmael).


Abraham, therefore, bore 8 sons. Not 1, not 2. EIGHT.

8. That's an interesting number. 8th day of creation (Easter); 8 people on the Ark.....

Isaac and Ishmael were together at their father's burial. Ishmael was a legitimate son, if not the "first-born" according to the birthright, because his mother was given in place of Sarah - not as a concubine, but as a replacement for Sarah's own womb. When Sarah was then able to bear a child, Ishmael maintained his legitimacy as a child of the Abraham, but lost his birthright as first-born. The other boys were considered to be conceived by "concubinage" despite Sarah being deceased at the time.


Just one chapter. And that's not the whole thing!

That same chapter contains the birth of the twins: Esau and Jacob. Interesting that we usually consider Rebekkah to be something of a brat in her preference for the younger son. But indeed -while pregnant with the twins, she felt them wrestling and went to the Lord - the Lord told her that the older would serve the younger; indeed that he would "surpass" his older brother. Hence, she was simply favoring the one the Lord told her would rule.


And there's still so much more said in just a few words - the age of the parents involved; how many years would that have been praying for children? the selling of the birthright....

Your turn!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Time to take posts out of draft!

The following posts are mostly going to be ones started as far back as January; a few sooner than that even.

Time to get them out of draft-dom!

This past semester has been busy - wonderful in many regards - but very, very full. And it only got more full as time went on. "No" has become a routine word around here!

I am so happy to finally have the opportunity to clear up older projects; catch up on the back-log in everything and start to close up projects that are (or will soon be) complete.

We continue to pray for all families striving to live out their faiths and all atriums sharing the faith with the young children and the adults alike!

God bless you all!

My beautiful newborn niece! I can't wait to meet her in person!
(blanket courtesy Aunt Jessica)