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Catechesis of the Good Shepherd - Level 1 Catechist Training at Saint Patrick - Saint Anthony Church
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by Lisa Orchen

Subject:           Infancy Narratives


Title:               The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth


Age:                3+


Sources:          Luke 1: 39-49,56,

                           RPC:  pp.. 105-113,

                           GS&C: Chapter 10,

                           MM pp.79-94,

                           SPSA May 2007


Liturgical Time:  Advent


Doctrinal Content: 

1.      God desires so much to be with us that God became human.

2.      God is always with us.

3.      Jesus is fully human and fully divine—son of God and of Mary.

4.      Mary is God-bearer even though she is a virgin.

5.      All things are possible with God.

6.      The Holy Spirit is active and present in both pregnancies

7.      Mary is blessed among women

8.      The prophecy of the messiah to come is fulfilled

9.      God does great things with insignificant people

10.  Mary proclaims the greatness of God

11.  Mary and Elizabeth’s response to God’s invitation to serve God is a model for us in response to the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives.


Direct Aim:

1.      To lift up Mary‘s role as God-bearer.

2.      To lift up Jesus as human and divine.  (Question:  “Who is this child?”)

3.      To focus on/participate in the great joy resulting from the recognition of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.


Indirect Aims:

1.      To prepare for the celebration of Christmas.

2.      To give a sense of salvation history.

3.      To nurture prayer language.

4.      To enhance participation in liturgy.

5.      To nurture wonder and awe.

6.      To lay a foundation of respect for our Judaic heritage.

7.      To prepare for later infancy narratives.

8.      To nurture a personal relationship with God.

9.      To introduce the characters and the events in the Gospel account/narrative/story of Jesus’ coming into the world.

10.  To give a historical and geographical context prior to the events of Jesus‘ birth.

11.  To announce Jesus as the Savior and Messiah promised by the prophets.

12.  To nurture a sense of trust in God.

13.  To proclaim the joy in God’s work of the incarnation.

14.  To offer new names for Jesus and Mary.

15.  To continue the meditation begun in the prophecies on the slow, hidden way God brings great things to pass.



Mat, near the geography area for easy reference

candle, snuffer, tray for spent matches

 Scripture booklet:  The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth,” with white cover

backdrop for Elizabeth’s house, either a triptych or a box as described in the materials manual

small figure of Mary, small figure of Elizabeth, figures are 3-dimensional, about 4-5-1/2 “ tall

a box or basket to hold the figurines

tracing packet with white cover





Gather children around mat in the atrium with the Land of Israel Topographical Map set-up nearby.  Set up basket with Elizabeth’s house and figures of Mary and Elizabeth nearby.



“We are in the time of Advent.  That time of waiting and preparing for the birth of Jesus.  What do we have here in the atrium to help us with our waiting?”  Children respond, talk about Advent candles, purple color for Advent.


“Long, long ago people were waiting for someone God told them would come.  A prophet that God had given a message to had told the people that some would come who would lead, who would be a great light and that this light would be born of a young woman..”


“Then the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her some wonderful news.  The angel said, ‘hail Mary, full of grace.’  The angel told Mary that a baby would be born who was the long awaited one.  The angel told Mary that she would give birth to this baby.  Do you remember what she said in response to the Angel’s news?  She said, ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord.”  She said YES to God’s plan.”


“It says in the bible that after the angel left Mary, she went in haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth.  Do you remember what the angel told Mary about Elizabeth?”………”Elizabeth was to have a baby as well, even though she had never had a baby and she was way beyond the age for having children.”


“So Mary went to visit Elizabeth.”  Show children on topographical map where Mary lived and where Elizabeth lived and trace the journey Mary made to Elizabeth’s house.


“We are going to read from scripture about what happened when Mary visited Elizabeth.”


Solemn Reading of Scripture with Lit Candle

Light candle.  Take scripture Booklet.  Read scripture story of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth.


First Meditation (with clarification of vocabulary and text)

“So Mary went to Elizabeth’s house.  What happened when she got there?”……..(Elizabeth’s baby jumped for joy)


“I wonder what would make Elizabeth’s baby so joyful”………….


“Did you hear some of Mary’s words?”


“We can think of how happy Mary and Elizabeth were to see each other.”


Dialogue with children about the scripture reading.


Second Reading with Materials


Put out Elizabeth’s house on mat.  “We can think of this as Elizabeth’s house.”


Put out Elizabeth on mat.  “We can think of this as Elizabeth.”


Put out Mary on mat.  “We can think of this as Mary.”


Re-read scripture booklet, “The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth.”  Move figures when appropriate.


Continued Meditation

Dialogue with children some more about the Scripture.


Elizabeth asked Mary, ‘why should I be honored with a visit from the mother of my Lord?’  How did Elizabeth know that Mary was the mother of Jesus?”…….


“Why did Mary go to visit Elizabeth?”……


“What can we tell from Mary’s words how she felt about this blessing?”……”She said that all generations will call me blessed and that the almighty has done great things for me.”


Pull out phrases from the Magnificat.  Repeat.


“Mary and Elizabeth were filled with joy.  I wonder who else was filled with joy.”…..


“This joy is for us too.  All of Mary’s words are fur us.  We can be part of the joy that is between Mary and Elizabeth, these two mothers, these two babies and God.”


Inviting / Welcoming a Response

“Is there anything that you would like to say or sing to celebrate that joy?”


Invite the children to sing “Hail Mary,” “Come Lord Jesus,” or other Advent Songs


Restoration of the Materials


Show children how to put figures away in basket, and where they belong on shelf, and roll mat.


“This is your work now, you can use these figures anytime you like.”


Children‘s Work:

Imaginative work with the figures.

Original artwork.

Reading scripture, copying text.

Tracing Packet



Children’s Responses:





CGS Level 1 Catechist Training