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Catechesis of the Good Shepherd - Level 1 Catechist Training at Saint Patrick - Saint Anthony Church
Adoration of the Magi
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by Lisa Orchen, May 2007
revised February 2008

Subject:         Infancy Narratives


Title:               Adoration of the Magi


Age:                4+


Sources:         Mt 2:1-12 ;

                          MM p 79-98;

                          The Christmas Sky by Franklyn Branley (good source for historical  background),            

                          SPSA May 2007


Liturgical Time:  Christmas


Doctrinal Content: 

1.      Jesus is for all people – not just for the people of Israel.

2.      Even the cosmos participated in announcing Jesus’ birth.

3.      The magi brought gifts of great wealth and significance to Jesus: gold acknowledges his kingship; frankincense his deity, and myrrh his humanity

4.      The commitment of the magi to follow the great light offers a model response for all who desire the fullness of God’s life.


Direct Aim:

1.      .4+ - to explore the meaning of the gifts given to Jesus

2.      .6+ - to compare and contrast the 2 models of kingship given  in the narrative (boys like to do this), and to explore the cosmic dimension of Jesus’ birth


Indirect Aims:

1.      To lift up the cosmic nature of Jesus’ birth (stars moved, kings from afar came).

2.      To foster an attitude of homage toward Jesus.

3.      To nurture prayer language.

4.      To enhance participation in liturgy.

5.      To nurture wonder and awe.

6.      To lift up dreams as one way for God to communicate.

7.      To prepare for later infancy narratives.

8.      To emphasize the use of signs.

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

10.  To emphasize places important to Jesus’ life.

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



1.      Mat, near the geography area for easy reference

2.      candle, snuffer, tray for spent matches

3.      Scripture booklet: “Adoration of the Magi,” with white cover

4.      small figures of Mary & Joseph & Jesus, small figures of magi, figures are 3-dimensional, about 4-5-1/2 “ tall (magi should be able to hold gifts); small “gifts” to symbolize gold, frankincense and myrrh – a treasure chest, lovely little urns, etc.

5.      a box or basket to hold the figurines

6.      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 figures of Mary, Joseph, Jesus and 3 Magi nearby.



“We are now in Christmastime.  We celebrated Christmas in Church.  Did you know we are still celebrating Christmas?  Christmas is not just one day.  It is such a big celebration that we celebrate it for several weeks.”


Let’s talk about when Jesus was born.  Does anyone remember the town where Jesus was born?  What was it called?  (Discuss with children).  Was it a very big place?  (Discuss with children.)  Was Jesus born in a hospital?  (Discuss with children.)  Did he have any visitors?  Who came?  (Discuss with children.  Three rich men, shepherds, angels, etc.)


The shepherds searched for Jesus and they found him.  Any they went away praising and glorifying God.


The rich men came.  They were people from far away to the east (show on map).  They were very learned.  That means the studied a lot.  And one of the things they studied was the stars.  When they saw a new star in the sky they understood that to mean that a new king was born.  Even though they didn’t know about the promise of the light, they started to follow the star and to meet the newborn king.   They travelled from far away to see Jesus.


Solemn Reading of Scripture with Lit Candle

Light candle.  Take scripture Booklet.  Read scripture story of the Adoration of the Wise Men.


First Meditation

What did you hear in this scripture?  What did the magi do?  (Discuss with children.)


Who were they hoping to find?


They went to Jerusalem and asked there.  The scripture said King Herod was perturbed – very upset by this.  He asked all the scribes and priests where the Christ was to be born, and they told him Bethlehem.  Herod sent the Magi there and told them to come  back and tell him when they found the child, so he could give him homage too.


They continued onto Bethlehem – followed star – and found Jesus.


They brought Jesus gifts – how many?  What were the gifts?  (Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh)


What do you think when you think of gold?    (gift for kings)


Frankincense is a kind of incense, burned where God is.

We can wonder by they brought frankincense.


Myrrh is used to anoint the body of a person who has died.  We can wonder why they brought myrrh to a baby.


Second Reading with Materials

Put out house/stable on mat.  “We can think of this as the house where Jesus was.”


Put out Mary, Joseph, Jesus on mat. 


Put out three magi on mat at a distance from the house.  Put the gifts in their hands.


Show the map at the beginning of the scripture booklet, trace the path the magi might have taken.


Re-read scripture booklet, “The Adoration of the Magi.”  Move figures when appropriate.


Continued Meditation

Dialogue with children some more about the Scripture.


We heard that the sight of the star filled the magi with delight.  How much did they want to go see Jesus?


Have you heard of baby gifts like the ones they gave to Jesus?  We can wonder what those gifts tell us about Jesus.


The people who had the most gold were kings.  I wonder why they gave gold to Jesus. 


We can wonder how they knew Jesus was a king.


I wonder what it was like for Mary to receive baby gifts like these for her child.  We can wonder what she understood about these gifts.


For older children (age 5-6)


What gift would you bring to Jesus?

Compare models of kingship (Herod to Jesus)

Compare models of homage (magi to Herod) – who is really a king?


Inviting / Welcoming a Response

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


Invite the children to sing “Star of Wonder,” “King of Kings,” or other Epiphany 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.  Catechist might suggest drawing the gifts child might choose to bring to Jesus

Reading scripture, copying text.

Tracing Packet



Children’s Responses:





CGS Level 1 Catechist Training