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Catechesis of the Good Shepherd - Level 1 Catechist Training at Saint Patrick - Saint Anthony Church
The Mother
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by Nancy Ahrens, 2007 
Subject:  Prophecies

Title:       The Mother

Age:         4+

Sources:   Isaiah 7:14; RPC, p. 106 - 108, 105-108; GS&C, Ch. 11

Liturgical Time:  Advent in second year, to follow Annunciation

Doctrinal Points:
. The prophet gives a three-fold message:
- God has a wonderful gift for us.
- God loves us and wants to be with us.
- God is coming here.
. The prophet is one who listens deeply to God and is empowered to speak for him.
. Jesus is Emmanuel, God-with-us.
. Jesus will be born of a Virgin - Mary.
. God works through the impossible circumstances to show God's love for us.

Direct Aims:
. To lift up Jesus, the child who is Emmanuel, God-with-us, and Mary, the virgin chosen to carry Jesus.

Indirect Aims:
. To prepare for the celebration of Christmas.
. To give a sense of salvation history - that God prepares his people, reveals himself to his people and has watched over his people throughout history.
. To nurture prayer language.
. To enhance greater participation in Liturgy (GPL) through the introduction of traditional scriptures.
. To nurture the sense of wonder and awe.
. To lay a foundation of respect for our Judaic heritage.
. To prepare for later prophecies and infancy narratives.
. To help the child enter into the mystery of his/her relationship with God.
. To introduce another name for Jesus - Emmanuel.
. To foster respect for all life.

Description of Materials

. Prophecy Card w/ words of the prophecy - "The Lord your God will give you a sign.  The Virgin shall be with child and bear a son and shall name him Emmanuel" - neatly handwritten using simple fonts (recognizable to young children - i.e. a, g) on 8x10 parchment style paper (showing a sense of age) within an 11x14 photo mat in purple (color of Advent)
. Prophecy card may include image of a star at the bottom of the card (or aother appropriate image)
. Prophecy card includes a citation in the lower right corner (biblical reference - Isaiah 7:14)
. Sturdy stand to hold the matted words
. Prayer table prepared for Advent with:    (can be left empty if doing a procession)
- A prayer cloth in rich purple fabric (some churches may use blue for Advent)
- A drape in the same purple cotton fabric to hang behind prayer table on decorative hooks (or use a richly colored tapestry or an appropriate mounted picture to hang behind the prayer table.  Perhaps it could be a picture of the Good Shepherd.)
- an Advent wreath (simple ring w/ or w/o greenery) or four candle holders
- candles for Advent wreath (3 purple and 1 pink)
- matches, a tray for the spent matches
- a snuffer


If you choose to do a procession:
. Empty the prayer table before the children arrive.
. Prepare for a procession to prepare the prayer table by noting the number of items needed and the number of children available
. Ask who would like to carry each of the items for the table (If there are more children than objects to carry, tell the children w/o anything to carry that they will be able to carry something the next time.)
. Reverently process around the room, singing an appropriate song and ending the procession at the prayer table.
. Carefully have the children each place their item on the prayer table and then   take a seat for the presentation.

. Talk about how we are getting closer to Christmas.
. Talk about the season of Advent - what are we waiting for? - The birth of Jesus.
. Talk about the prophets - They lived in the Land of Israel long before Jesus came.   The prophets told the people that someone was coming.  The prophets are able to give us God's message because they first listened deeply to God.
. Recall the Prophecy of the Light.
. Talk about the people of Israel waiting so long - what are they waiting for?

    Reading of Scripture with Meditation
. Light the three candles on the Advent wreath. Say, "The pink one is for joy." (not necessarily done on the 3rd week)
. Read the scripture in a slightly louder, but reverent voice.   Be aware of posture.
. Proclaim the scripture reading, pause and look at the prayer table.
. You could ask the children the following questions:  
- We heard about a young woman who is going  to have a child. Who do you think that baby will be? Boy or girl? Did you hear his name? Emmanuel - God-with-us. How could there be a baby who is God-with-us? What does that name tell us about that child?
- Who do you think that woman would be? An angel came to her to tell her she would be the mother of the most high and that God would be with us. Wonder how she felt, knowing this prophecy about the mother and the child?
- When people heard this I wonder how they felt because people were waiting a long time.
- I think of how tiny a baby is and how big of a name Emmanuel is.

Prayerful Response:      (possible response could be silence)
. There is a song we sing in church that reminds us of Emmanuel
- "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"
- or other appropriate song

Restoration of the Material:
. Snuff the candles
. Invite children to find  work or dismiss to parents (if at end of session)

Children's Work with the Materials:
. Copying the prophecy
. Original artwork
. Creating a scroll (older children) using parchment paper w/lines
. Reading the prophecy
. Sitting at prayer table

Children's Responses (notable things the children say or do):


CGS Level 1 Catechist Training