The following are old notes written in August 2006 on a unit study of the Mass we did. I’ve copied my notes from 4Real here for Marilyn to make them easier for her planing.
Children’s Bible (just use your favourite)
The Mass Explained to Children by Maria Montessori, this is a core book to my unit but if you had another treasure explaining the Mass in detail to children substitute it.
Come to the Mass by Sister Monica, publ in 1956. Similar information to Maria Montessori’s book but condensed. A real gem.
100 Activities Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church
One problem I find is that the really great books with the incredible detail are on the Latin mass. As we attend the Novus Ordo (there is no Latin Mass here) I’m trying to combine the two. So whilst I am relying on the other two books to ‘plot my course’ I’m also cross referencing with the Sunday Missal.
I allowed an hour and a half to two hours to cover the materials and for five children to notebook. I only decided to do this unit two days before starting so had to use what resources we had.
Resources Recommended at 4Real
“The Weight of a Mass” by Josephine Nobisso
CHC has a free study guide available online for “The Weight of a Mass”.
Our Lady’s Catechists books
Child’s Missal by Patmos
The Mass Book For Children
The Mass Book for Children
An old CHC publication “Know your Mass”. It’s spiral bound and graphic-style (like a comic book) and is based on the Latin Mass, but I have found it helpful for the Novus Ordo Mass as well.
The King of the Golden City.
The Mass Book For Children
Catholicmom site has quite a few printable items for a Mass unit, mostly coloring sheets and word searches. Scroll down to the box that says: Prayer and Treasures of Our Faith, Coloring and Activity Pages.
EWTN kids’ site to learn about the Sacraments, names of sacramentals in the church and to play games.
Tried and true;) We never actually finished
Day 1: Design and make a front cover titled Holy Mass.
The night before I did a search on google, type in sacrifice + Catholic Mass in images for some great pictures. I saved these in my photos for better clarity and had them printed and ready. You may well already have some holy cards suitable. My dc enhanced their picture/s with lace, ribbons and metallic markers. We used some beautiful sheets from Trademark Catholic Stationary
Day 2: Read from the Bible the stories of Abel, Abraham and Melchisedech’s sacrifices to God. Discuss with the children why these were pleasing to God. What is a sacrifice and the need for one. Also what is needed for a sacrifice,
1. It must be a visible gift
2.It stands for the person offering the sacrifice.
3. It is offered to God.
4. It is offered on an altar.
5. The gift must become a victim by being changed or destroyed.
6. It is offered by a priest chosen by God.
We also discussed the pre-figurement of Abraham’s sacrifice to Christ’s own sacrifice. We also discussed the continuation of Jewsih traditions in our liturgy. And how Melchisedech was the first to offer bread and wine as a sacrifice.
Once again the night before I had searched for images this time on ‘Abel + sacrifice’ etc. It all goes so much smoother having it all prepared (wonder why it took me so long to work this out ) The younger children then chose which of the three was their favourite story and pasted and decorated that picture. Dd13, typed a narration of Abraham’s sacrifice to accompany her picture. Ds11, copied the paragraph from the Sunday missal in the Mass proper ‘Look with favour on these offerings and accept them as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham our father in faith and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchisedech.’ Ds chose to trace a picture of Abel’s sacrifice. Ds9 wrote one sentence summing up his chosen story complete with picture
Day 3:Read about the Last Supper and the sacrifice of Jesus.
We then discussed how Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, for the perfect sacrifice both the giver and the gift must be perfect. We talked aobut original sin and Adam and Eve. We discussed how on Holy Thursday Jesus gave his apostles the power to do what He had done. I also wanted the children to understand the difference between the bloody sacrifice of Calvary and the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass. Much of this we have covered over the years but it is always good to refresh and often some of it is new to the younger ones.
I had printed out images of the cruxifixion the night before and also had a number of holy cards suitable. The children pasted their choices accompanied by short statements relating to the sacrifice of Christ and the Mass.
We also covered the four purposes of prayer at Mass,
To Adore Him, To Thank Him, To Make up for our Sins, and to Ask Him for the Help we need. Dc wrote these out with some lovely pictures of prayer hands.
Day 4:Next we looked at what is neccessary in preparing physically for the Mass.
Maria Montessori’s book was invaluable for its information. Only a little bit was not applicable in the Novus Ordo, however we discussed the other anyway as the childen do attend a Latin Mass yearly.
We read about the Altar of Sacrifice, an Altar Stone, Altar Cloths, a crucifix, a tabernacle, the sanctuary lamp, candles, missal, altar steps, bell, credence table and the cruets. I wanted the childen to know the names and their symbolic meanings. For example the three altar steps are for the three virtues Faith, Hope and Cahrity, and also symbolize Christ’s walk to Calvary. Most objects they already knew it was interesting to see how much they had noted.
I copied a page from the ‘Come to Mass’ book which had a picture of the altar with all the above objects on it. These were lablelled and explainations were at the bottom of the page. Perhaps you may have a book with something similar or an internet search may be successful This page they laid out according to their various preferences and made attractive.
Day 5: The Sacred Vessels.
Once again Maria’s book is more than adequate. (Can you tell I am impressed with this book?)
We read descriptions and uses of the Chalice, Paten, Purificator, Pall, Corporal,Burse, Ciborium and the Chalice Veil. Although dc don’t see the Chalice Veil I still discussed it.
Similar to the day before we pasted pictures of the sacred vessels and their names and descriptions. It was interesting to see the various ways dc did this.
Day 6: Sacred Vestments
Using M Montessori’s book once again we read about the various vestments and their symbolism. So fascinating, for example the Amice is a ‘helemt of salvation’ and the girdle is a symbol of chastity. We also read about liturgical colours and what they each symbolise.
Using a sheet from Sr MOnica’s book the children pasted pictures of the vestments with descriptions. Once again I’m sure you could find pictures of these on the internet.
Day 7 Worksheets from 100 Activities based on the catechism of the Catholic Church suming up information learnt about the sacred vessels and vestments. This sheet was quite tricky, the children had to match the descriptions with the correct items. They had an extra sheet on the liturgical colours. The younger children had a sheet on what items Father would need for Mass and another in which they had to label some vessels.
Day 8 the Introductory and Penitential Rite
For this part I found it rather tricky as so much at the beginning of the Novus Ordo is very different from the Latin Mass. So I had to leave M. Montessoriu’s book mostly and wing it. I used what I could from M.M’s book and relied heavily on our Sunday Missals.
We discussed why we bless ourselves at the beginning of the Mass, reminding ourselves that it is only because Jesus died on the cross that we have the Perfect Sacrifice to offer. Quizzing the children as we went along on their powers of observance we then talked about the priset kissing the altar, how the altar reminds us of Christ becasue he offered Himself for us on the altar of the Cross.
For the Penitential Rite we read/ prayed the Confiteor, the Sanctus and the Gloria pondering on the words and their meanings. We particularly focused on the Confiteor and why we need to be penitent. How our souls need to be clean and beautiful because we are coming into the presence of God. That we need to be free from sin. That we are imploring our Heavenly mother and the saints ro pray for us. That we are meant to strike our breast when we say that we have sinned as if we would spank our hearts for being disloyal to God. I pointed out to the children that it is in their missal to do so even though we don’t nor have we noticed anyone doing so.
We also noted the collect and talked about how it can change daily.
For notebooking they were to pick one of the three prayers and type or copy it out. They were to make their page attractive in some manner, they mostly chose suitable pictures and a nice layout.
Day 9 Liturgy of the Word
From here on I used the Missal as my base and fleshed it out with extra information where possible from the other sources. I found it a bit trickier using Maria Montessori and Sr Monica’s books here as the Mass is no longer quite the same.
We discussed the fact that the Church covers the entire Bible over a three year cycle. How the readings are divided into years A, B and C. The children noted that the First Reading is taken from the Old Testament, the second reading from the New and the Gospel is the Words of Christ himself. We talked about the fact that we stand for the Word of God as a sign of respect. That at the Gospel we sign ourselves on our forehead with a little cross so that we may understand the Word of God, our lips that we may be proud to tell our faith to everybody and our heart that we may keep the Word of God.
We read the Nicene Creed and talked about how it contains the main points (articles) of our Faith. I also spoke to the children about the council of Nicene, how it was a major council of the Early Church and where the Creed was defined. (a little spin off here on to councils)
I gave the children some suggestions here as to what they could record on their pages. I suggested writing out where the readings and Gospel are taken from in the Bible, write out their favourite Gospel, select a picture of Christ preaching or the Good Shepherd, type out the Creed.
Day 10 The Offertory
I learnt quite a bit myself about the offertory, it has far richer meaning than I realized.
We quickly remembered the work we had covered earlier on about sacrifices under the Old Testament and how under the new Rite only one sacrifice is offered, the Son of Man.
We read about how the bread and wine represent us, our joys and sufferings, we put our lives on the paten together to make one gift. This is our spiritual gift. Our gifts at the offertory show that our life belongs to God and we give it back to Him. But our gift is not yet perfect until it is Jesus in the consecrated Host.
There is also a material gift offered; in the days of the early Church the faithful would bring offerings to the altar for the poorer brethren. Today we give alms in the form of the collection. The children are aware of how the first and the second collection are allotted. We discussed how this is the Church community still looking after one another.
We talked about why the water is added to the wine. That the water stands for us, for our day offered to God’s glory. The water becomes the wine, as we become more like Jesus our gift becomes more united with Jesus. We also talked about how all of Jesus’ blood at Golgotha ran out till only water poured out.
We talked next how the chalice is lifted up and offered to God with us again giving ourselves to Him.
The priest then washes his hands as a sign that his heart and ours must be clean of all sin to offer a worthy gift to God. Then we ask that our gift may be received by Our Lord and that it may Honour the Blessed Virgin Mary and the angels and saints. We call upon them to help us offer the perfect sacrifice.
The Preface begins with the greeting: “The Lord be with you” we are alert and filled with joy, He is about to arrive! This is a thanksgiving prayer. We are united in giving Him thanks.
At the Sanctus we join our voices with the angels in singing glory; the Hosanna is the victory song of Our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem. I just touched on this with the children. To be honest they were glazing over by now they had had enough.
Dd12, chose to illustrate the offertory by photocopying prayers from her missal of the offering and placing them around a picture of the bread and wine. The other children chose pictures of the last Supper, and the crucifixion and wrote appropriate headings to accompany such as, ‘we offer our gifts’, ‘all that I have I give to you’. Ds7 narrated the main points that he learnt.
Further Ideas from Robyn (Lavenderfields) at 4 Real
For a lapbook
-A water font using the orgami cup fold, I bought special gold paper for this, then we took a cotton ball, smooshed blue chalk and colored the cotton ball, then glued it inside the cup to represent the water. We discussed Baptism and renewing our promise everytime we bless ourselves in Church.
-I copied a Crucifix from a coloring book and put that on the inside of the lapbook, then made a table out of brown construction paper, which formed a pocket and glued it with the Crucifix. I have pictures of the vessels used in the Mass from Our Father’s House, which I reduced a little and cut out, put in a bag, and stored it in the pocket from the Altar Table
-We cut out little Chausables and colored them, Pasted them to a matchbox fold paper and wrote on the inside what each color represented and when it was used. This is what we did, but what I had wanted to do was to make a paper doll Priest and the different Chausables for him to wear so you could change them each week.
-I also have a set of cards on the Mass. Each card has a picture and a part of the Mass, I am sorry I don’t know where I got them, but we glued them in order on the lapbook.
-We also made a Tabernacle for the front. I folded a piece of gold cardboard in thirds, so it would look like to door opening out and on the inside we pasted a picture of the Chalice with a Crucific over the Chalice and a glow around the whole thing. We then pasted this passage underneath it. “Jesus gave up His Body and Blood for us on the Cross to free us from our sins. He gives us His Body and Blood in the Eucharist to unite us with Him. He frees us from our sins, gives us life and nourishes our soul with grace!”
-I also added another piece of cardstock to the lapbook, right in front of the Altar, that has flowers and butterflies around a passage from “Of Water and the Spirit, Benziger Publishing Company,
What does it mean to receive Christ’s Body?
to receive Christ’s Blood?
Why do we do it?
What does it mean?
It’s hard to explain really.
But when you think of every day,
and every day’s work,
and every day’s problems,
you begin to understand.
It wasn’t enough for God, being God,
to come to earth a long time ago,
He had to think of a way to be with us NOW
And so he did.
Jesus came to live for us – to die – to rise – and to be with us each moment, each hour, each day.
And one of the great things about Eucharist is that every time someone says to us,
‘Body of Christ’ and ‘Blood of Christ’
and we receive Eucharist,
we know we are part of one another, too;
we are all brothers, all sisters.
And Jesus, who makes us one,
feeds us and keeps us going on the way-
‘This is my Body. This is my Blod.'”
-On the back of this page we pasted all the names of the vessels and what they were.