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Catechesis of the Good Shepherd - Level 1 Catechist Training at Saint Patrick - Saint Anthony Church
Presentation in the Temple
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by Natalie Welsh
modifications by Lisa Orchen 

Subject:         Infancy Narratives


Title:              The Presentation in the Temple


Age:                5+


Liturgical Time:      Christmas, or directly thereafter


Source:          Luke 2:21-33 and 36-39, RPC 15-113, GSC 71-73, CCC 529 Ex:13:2, MM pp 88 & 97, SPSA Spring 2007


Doctrinal Points:

  • Jesus and his family followed the Jewish customs of the time – consecration to God and purification.
  • Jesus is salvation and the light to the nations.
  • Simeon and Anna recognized Jesus as the fulfillment of the Messianic prophesies through the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • It was prayer, fasting and hope that prepared Simeon and Anna to recognize the Messiah.
  • Their openness to God’s plan offers a model for all who desire fullness of God’s life


Direct Aim

  • To lift up the moment of the presentation in the temple so that we might ponder the true identity of the child so long awaited and greeted with such joy
  • To wonder how Jesus brought joy to all people.


Indirect Aims:

  • To introduce the customs of the Jewish people. 
  • To introduce the temple as the center of worship.
  • To lift up Simeon and Anna as holy people awaiting the coming of the promised Messiah. 
  • To prepare children to hear the Word of God with respect.
  • To show God kept His promise to Simeon that he would see the Messiah before he died.
  • To wonder how a little baby can have such an impact.
  • To see Jesus, Mary and Joseph as obedient, observant Jews
  • To see that Good News is to be shared
  • To expand prayer language/GPL (greater participation in the liturgy)


  • Temple – Roof high enough so that the figures can fit inside
  • Figures – Mary, Joseph, Simeon, Anna and (Baby) Jesus.  (4) Adults approximately 5 1/2” tall, 3-dimensional made of suitable materials (e.g. wood, clay, cloth, etc.). Mary and Simeon should have ability to cradle Jesus in arms; Joseph to carry basket of turtledoves.
  • Basket for figures
  • Tiny basket and 2 turtle doves.    
  • Mat or presentation table
  • Candle, matches, snuffer, tray for spent matches
  • Scripture booklet with white cover; on the map on the first page, Jerusalem is denoted with a red dot
  • Tracing packet with white cover
  • Availability of pencils and art materials





Invite the children to gather near the Land of Israel topographical map.



Before Christmas we talked about Jesus coming to earth.  We heard of the joy when:

  The angel announced to Mary she was going to have Jesus

• Mary visited Elizabeth

• when angels told the shepherds Jesus had been born.

We are going to hear more of that joy today.


Going to the Temple

After Jesus was born Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem.  [Point to Jerusalem on the topographical map.]  High up here in the hills.

Mary and Joseph were Jewish people who followed all the customs and traditions.

Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple to consecrate him to the Lord, to give him to the Lord.  All Jewish people did this.


At the Temple

At the Temple lived a man named Simeon and a woman named Anna.  Simeon and Anna had been waiting and waiting for Jesus to be born and brought to the temple by his parents.  We’ll read the Scripture to see what happened and to hear the joy. 


Solemn reading of scripture with lit candle

Light Candle

[Show where Jerusalem is on the map in the booklet]

[Read Luke 2 excerpts – “Presentation in the Temple”]


Meditation & unpacking the vocabulary

Did you hear places where people were joyful?

Simeon had been waiting for a long time.  When Jesus came in Simeon took him in his arms and was so happy.  We can wonder, how did Simeon know?  What was it about the baby Jesus that helped Simeon know?

After waiting so long, Simeon must have been full of joy!


Mary and Joseph stood there wondering, full of joy. 


Anna the prophetess came by.  When she saw what was happening she glorified and praised God.  She told everyone she met.  How much joy in that?


Did you hear:

• “the Christ of the Lord”? -- That means Jesus is the light.

“prompted” = told

• a promise? – God made a promise to Simeon; God keep his promises

• dismiss your servant in peace – God’s promise to Simeon was that Simeon would not die until he saw Jesus, the light

• in the sight of all people, as a light for all people (Jew and Gentile) – God sent Jesus for everyone!


Introducing the materials

[Take out temple.]  We can think of this as the Temple.

[Take out figures, one at a time and name:]

• Mary

• Joseph

• Simeon [place on steps of Temple]

• Anna [place in Temple]

• Jesus

• Turtledoves


Second Reading with Materials

[Re-read excerpts from Luke:  Presentation in the Temple]


When the eight day came… they gave him the name Jesus as the angel said.

When time came for them to be purified…[Move Mary, Joseph and Jesus closer to Temple]

Brought turtledoves

Now Simeon took Jesus in his arms and blessed God.  [Move Jesus to Simeon’s arms and put turtledoves on the steps.]

Simeon: “Now I can go….”

Anna came by just at that moment and began praising God – telling everyone.

Went back to their own town of Nazareth.




Meditation, continued

Simeon – holy, listened and loved God very much; God promised he would not die until he saw the Christ the Lord.  How did Simeon know?  We can wonder how he knew Jesus was the light when he was brought to the temple.


What was there about Jesus that helped Simeon know that He was the one?


We can wonder what Simeon felt when he held Jesus.  Was he expecting a baby?


We can wonder what this must have been like for Mary.  People she didn’t know holding and loving her baby and saying all these wonderful things about Him.


Simeon and Anna were very old.  I wonder if their being so old had anything to do with their ability to recognize Jesus.



Prayerful Response

There is a Christmas song that you probably know:  “O come let us adore him, o come let us adore him, o come let us adore him Christ the Lord!”


Restoration of the Material

Model for children putting the figures back into the basket, and putting the basket and Temple on the shelf. 


“This is your work, you can explore it anytime.”


Children’s Work


  • Touch/look at figures and Temple
  • Put Jesus in Mary’s/Simeon’s arms
  • Put the turtle doves on the Temple steps
  • Listen/read/copy the text
  • original art
  • tracing packet
  • making prayer card


Children’s Responses:





CGS Level 1 Catechist Training