Title: The Eucharistic Presence of the Good Shepherd
Subject: The Good Shepherd
Age: 5 to 10 years
Liturgical Time: non-specific but particularly good for Lent
Prerequisites: This lesson is presented after the children have seen and worked with Good Shepherd and Found Sheep materials, and Altar I. They should understand we are the sheep, usually not given until second or third year in a classroom setting.
Doctrinal Content: Although a figure of the Good Shepherd is not visually apparent for us to see, we learn Jesus is still with us through the Eucharist in His Body and Blood. He gives us everything He has because He loves us and calls us by name to join Him. The Church's priest has a special role in saying Jesus' words over the bread and the wine.
Direct Aim: This lesson intends to foster an understanding that Jesus is present at the Eucharist/Altar table in the form of the bread and the wine, and to announce that the priest has a special role in saying Jesus' words.
Indirect Aims: Indirect intentions include fostering a love for Christ who gave all of Himself to us, to appreciate the Divine Liturgy and to become an active participant in the Liturgy.
Sources: Luke 22:14-20, John 10: 3-5; Psalm 23, Mark 14: 22-26; Matt 26-30
Materials for the Lesson:
Green round base with felt (similar to Good Shepherd materials)
10 people figurines, one should be the priest and the others represent parishioners.
Square table, white cloth to fit on green base
Tiny chalice, paten with bread to place on table
Good Shepherd materials
Eucharistic Presence of the Good Shepherd Booklet; Orange (see materials manual pp 115-116) with "This is my body and This is my blood" words
The Lesson Plan:
Gather and settle the children, then review the Parable of the Good Shepherd using the materials. Say, "There is a time where the shepherd leads his sheep to a special place, to the Eucharist. The Good Shepherd calls his sheep to the altar, to the Eucharist because He gives them everything he has…all of His time and all of His Life." Move the Shepherd to the new circle around the table and place the shepherd on the table and sheep around the table.
Continue with, "He wants to be with the sheep in a particular way, to give all of Himself to them. We do not need this statue. He is not present with the sheep in a wooden statue. At the Eucharist, the Good Shepherd is present in the bread." Place the paten with the bread on the altar. "At the Eucharist the Good Shepherd is present in the wine." Place the chalice on the altar.
Leave the statue on the altar a while and then remove it. Do this several times. Discuss how the statue can be there, or not. Say, "In the bread and the wine, Jesus offers Himself. Do you think we can move the statue away? Yes, is he still there? Yes. Do you think the sheep still feel close to the shepherd? This is a very special moment when the Shepherd calls His sheep and offers all of Himself. Jesus is not present in the statue, but He is in the bread and the wine. He says some special words to the sheep about the bread and wine. ‘This is my body…this is my blood.' In the Eucharist, the bread and the wine become His Body and Blood, His very life. He gives all of Himself to His sheep in the bread and wine."
Allow for a time of silence and prayer; the first time the children see this, do not question them. The material is powerful enough.
Restore the material. Invite the children to use the material.
Review what was discussed in Part I. Suggested questions include, "We know who the sheep are don't we? Do you want to trade out the sheep for people? I have these figures." Trade the sheep for people. Bring out the priest somewhere in the middle. Continue with, "There is one sheep that has a very particular role to say the words that Jesus said at the Mystical Supper. The priest has this special role to say Jesus' words. ‘This is my body, This is my blood'. So at the Eucharist the priest says the words of Jesus about the bread and the wine."
Read the booklet. Then reread and meditate on the words of Jesus, depending on the children's interest.
End with silence, prayer, or song.
Restore the material, then invite the children to use the materials or otherwise ponder what they saw.
Work with material directly
Older children can copy the verses
Notice: This lesson plan utilizes training and the general philosophy/method of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. Materials found in this document, however, have been created specifically to incorporate the theology and dogmatic teaching of the Orthodox Church. The author of this lesson offers special recognition to Mrs. JoAnne Padget, CGS Instructor, who provided instruction and guidance in the CGS method. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program requires intensive study and strongly recommends that teachers using their program enroll in and complete coursework through an authorized CGS instructor. More information about CGS is available at http://www.cgsusa.org.