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

Altar II

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by Carol Boucher, 2007

Subject:  Nomenclature & Movement:  The Mass


Title:       Altar II


Age:         4+


Sources:   RPC, p. 90-91; GS&C, p. 68-69; LGS, p. 59-61; MCM, p. 44-46; CCC, 1182-1183, 1356-1358, 1373-1381, 1153-1155, 1184 and 1190


Liturgical Time:  any, early 2nd year  [with an older new child this can be done 6 weeks after Altar I]


Doctrinal Points:

  • Jesus is present in the tabernacle in the consecrated bread.   The lighted sanctuary lamp tells us of Jesus’ presence.
  • Jesus is present in the word of God proclaimed at Mass.
  • [for when you are teaching other catechists:  Dt 8:3  Man does not live by bread alone but on everything that comes from the mouth of God]

 Direct Aims:

  • All as for Altar I
  • To name, identify and make accessible the tabernacle, the ciborium, the sanctuary lamp, the lectionary and the lectern
  • To announce that Jesus is present in the word of God when it is read
  • To announce that the bread of Eucharist becomes Jesus

 Indirect Aims:

  • All as for Altar I
  • To prepare children to hear the word of God with respect
  • To foster love and respect of the Bible
  • To lay a foundation for understanding that Jesus is the Word of God
  • To expand the language of signs (why is tabernacle locked?)
  • preparation for further Eucharistic work (Cenacle, Eucharistic Presence of the Good Shepherd, 1st Eucharist)

 Description of Materials:   materials are models, smaller than child-sized

  • Same as Altar I
  • Model tabernacle with lock and key
  • Table with skirt for tabernacle
  • Sanctuary lamp – ornate or simple colored glass
  • Ciborium
  • Model lectern (size proportionate to altar and tabernacle
  • Lectionary – actual book (i.e. Bible)  (could be wood (2 – 1/4-3/8 inch pieces of wood glued to fabric - on the inside glue parchment paper and write on it something from the Bible that the child can read or have read)
  • Altar tracing packet – cards and tracing paper cut to size (8”x8”) in a white folder with pockets
  • Labels for tag stock cards containing name of each of these items:  tabernacle, sanctuary lamp, ciborium, lectern and lectionary
  • Altar control chart
  • candles, matches, snuffer and tray for spent matches




        Invite the children to gather at the altar

        Indicate that together you will look at some models of some additional things we see in church:  the real articles are even more beautiful

        invite the children to prepare the altar as they have learned to do (2nd period lesson if necessary)  Recall that it is Jesus who invites us to this holy meal.  He wants to be wit us.  We’ll look at some ways he is with us at Mass.  Affirm that the candles will be lit in just a minute.

    Naming and Identifying – with time stop, look and admire

        Tabernacle [this is where the bread that has become Jesus is kept.  Note the lock and ask why we would keep it locked?]

        Sanctuary lamp – left burning to indicate presence of Jesus. Invite the chn to look for the sanctuary lamp the next time they go to church, and see if it’s lit.  Explalin why ours is not – it’s just a model

        Key for opening tabernacle

        Ciborium – holds the sacred bread [after looking inside the ciborium and putting the lid back on, close and lock the tabernacle and return the key to its place.]

         Jesus is present in the Bread of Eucharist and in another way – when we read the Word of God

        Lectern – where the priest and readers read the Word of God

        Lectionary – book with the Word of God.  [may say that when the Gospel is read we stand to show we know it’s Jesus.  Place the lectionary on the lectern.]

        light the candles, saying:  Christ has died, Christ is risen, Alleluia!


Children’s Responses:  possibly silence, Sing Alleluia, other songs


Restoration of the Material:

  • Snuff the altar candles
  •  Invite the children to return the articles to their proper places in the sacristy one by one, naming each one in turn for them

 Children’s Work with the Materials:

  • Setting up the altar
  • Opening up tabernacle
  • Holding the ciborium
  • Sitting before the tabernacle in the Atrium or Church
  • Reading the Bible
  • Original art work
  • Altar tracing packet
  • Using the labels
  • Polishing/dusting altar and altar materials

 Children’s Responses:






CGS Level 1 Catechist Training