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Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Ages 4-5




Burying Alleluias

Alleluia means “praise God” in Hebrew. The Alleluia is a joyful acclamation, a reminder that the Kingdom of Heaven is already established on earth in the form of the Church, and participation in Mass is a participation in Heaven.

During Lent the focus is on the Kingdom that is to come. The readings tell of Jesus’ coming and our salvation through his death and resurrection. So, during Lent we put away the Alleluia. It is a time for us to reflect, to think about our sins and ask for forgiveness, and pray for the strength to not sin again, and to wait, wait for the coming of Jesus. In the atrium, we have a special celebration where we bury prayer cards with the word “Alleluia” on them, while singing many, many Alleluias in preparation for the fasting of Lent. 

This is something you can do with your child at home, prior to Ash Wednesday (February 17th).  Have your child(ren) color the prayer card (pdf link below), or make their own, then “bury” it in some way in your house.  In the atrium, we put them in a Ziploc bag and bury them in a box of sand, but at home you could also use dried beans or rice.  Your child may find another creative way to hide their “Alleluia” away for Lent…one year my children built a treasure box out of Legos and put their Alleluias inside. Do not take them out again until Easter!

During the Christmas Season, reflect on the birth of Jesus by praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary with your child.  This rosary video includes images from our atrium for each of the mysteries.
Celebrating Advent at Home
  • Advent is a season full of joy and preparation. Just as Mary waited for Jesus, we must prepare our hearts for Jesus. The color of the prayer table in the atrium, the decorations in church, and Father’s vestments all change to the color purple to remind us of this preparation.  Other symbols, such as the Advent wreath can be a tangible reminder of the season in your home.
  • The circular shape of the Advent wreath reminds us of God’s unending love for us. The four candles represent the four Sundays of Advent.  The first two Sundays are purple candles, but the third is Rose, for Gaudete Sunday, meaning rejoicing.  On the third Sunday, the readings at Mass are all about rejoicing in the coming of the Great Light (Jesus!).  The fourth Sunday is purple once again.
  • Light one candle each Sunday as part of your family prayer time. Like we do in the atrium, you can say “Jesus said ‘I am the light of the world’” as you light the candle. The familiar Advent song, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” can also be a part of your prayer.
"O come, O come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel."
  • As part of our Advent celebration in the atrium, we read the Prophecy of the Great Light (Isaiah 9:1). The children learn with wonder about the prophets of the Old Testament who waited for such a long time for the coming of Jesus. When we sing about Israel mourning in exile, we remember how they waited for the Great Light.
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone." Isaiah 9:1
Advent Calendar
  • Another way to mark the season of Advent is through the use of an Advent Calendar. Children are still learning how to mark time, and this calendar, based off of the Land of Israel map in the atrium, makes the journey of Advent more tangible for them, as they help Mary and Joseph move from Nazareth (where the angel Gabriel came to Mary to tell her she would be the mother of Jesus) to Bethlehem (where Jesus was born).
Sacristy Tour
  • Usually the children get to go to the sacristy to see where Father gets ready for Mass.  They love to see the chasubles up close, as well as the paten and chalice!  This year, you can tour the sacristy at home with your child by watching the video on our FEP Youtube Channel. After watching the video, they can do the coloring sheets for the model altar and liturgical colors, below.
Model Altar
  • Early in the year in the atrium, children are introduced to the model altar. Everything in the atrium points to the liturgy, and this is one of the more obvious examples. For a child’s first year in the atrium, they learn the most basic of the items used for Mass: the altar and altar cloth, the paten, chalice, crucifix, and candles. Most importantly, they ponder the Mass as a great celebration, a great feast, to which Jesus himself invites us! In their second year, after working many times with the model altar, children are introduced to the Lectionary, Ambo, Roman Missal and Missal stand, Tabernacle, Ciborium, and Sanctuary candle.
  • You can help your child recall what they have received in the atrium by doing one of the coloring booklets (pdf links at the top right of this page). First year children should do Altar 1, and second year children may do Altar 2.  If your child has not yet seen the altar in the atrium, they will see it soon! When you are at Mass, remind your child to look for the paten, chalice, and crucifix.  
Liturgical Colors
  • The children will soon learn the four colors of our liturgical year and the season they represent:

Purple: preparation before the Feast

White: celebration of the Feast

Green: Ordinary time or growing time

Red: Feasts of great love, like Pentecost

  • Help your child recall what the each color means by doing the Liturgical Colors coloring sheet (pdf link at the top right of this page).  The "cross" on each chasuble can be colored gold (see the picture at right of the chasubles in the atrium).
Finding a place/time for prayer in your home
  • The atrium is a place of prayer, a place where we draw nearer to God, receive His gift, and respond to the One who calls us by name. Having a prayer corner or space in your home is a way to set apart a particular place in your home for encountering God.  Just like the environment of the atrium leads us to encounter God in the liturgy, a prayer corner in our home can provide an environment for us to listen to God and prepare for celebration of the liturgy.  It should allow for silence, beauty, and order, and having a place set apart for prayer helps young children to focus and quiet their bodies and minds.
  • You might choose to enthrone the Holy Bible in your prayer space, as we do on the prayer table in the atrium. Other things to include are candles, religious artwork, and even a cloth that matches the color of the liturgical season (green, purple, red, or white).  Your child might remind you that when we light candles in the atrium, we always say “Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world.’”
  • Find a time, daily if possible, to go to your prayer corner with your children. For the three to six-year-old child, the most natural forms of prayer are short prayers of praise and thanksgiving.  Give them space to pray out loud, but know that often young children do not vocalize their prayer. Silence is also prayer!  Prayer is our response to God’s many gifts to us.  Give your child a space where it is okay to be quiet and listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd and respond to Him.
  • This month, send in a picture of the prayer space in your home, and we will share them via video in the coming weeks! Send pictures to 

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children that is based on the conviction that God and the child are in relationship.

This approach, rooted in the Bible and the Liturgy of the Church, provides children the use of hands-on materials to work with as they internalize and ponder the great mysteries of our Faith.  

Choices for the CGS program are:

  • Monday 6:00-7:15pm (age 4-5)
  • Wednesday 4:00-5:15pm and 5:30-6:45pm (age 4-5)
For the 2020-2021 school year, children are in the atrium once per month, and parents are given additional resources to continue their faith formation at home.  Material is posted on this page monthly, and you can also access material from previous months.
Then He took a little child and putting His arm around him said, “Whoever welcomes a child such as this for My sake welcomes Me!”  Mark 9:36-37