Title: Altar II: Jesus is Present in the Tabernacle and the Word
Subject: Nomenclature for Life in the Church
Age: 8+ years
Liturgical Time: Non-Specific, though typically in the beginning of the church/school year.
Prerequisite: Altar 1: Introduction to the Altar Table
Doctrinal Content: Christ has died, Christ is Risen. He invites us to His table to participate in the gift of Himself, He invites us to participate in His life in the bread, His Body, and in the wine, His Blood. He is also present to us in the reading of the Gospel and remains present in the consecrated bread and wine kept in the tabernacle.
Direct Aim: To name and make accessible the first, basic/essential articles of the altar table used in celebrating the Eucharist.
Indirect Aims: Indirect aims are for the child to have greater participation in the life of the church and Kingdom of Heaven; to foster reverence for the Eucharist; to have better preparation for prayer; to prepare for future Altar presentations, and to more fully appreciate the gift of Jesus that is made available to us in the Eucharist.
Description of Materials:
Note: All materials should be small beautiful models similar in appearance to what is used in your church.
All Altar I materials, see Altar I for description.
Gospel Book model (wooden, painted in gold to copy one in church altar)
1 smaller sized vigil candle
Invite a child to set the altar table ahead of time, or have group set it together while catechist repeats the names of articles.
Reflect with children about Altar I as you set up:
"We have learned about some of the articles of the altar table, and we have set them here on our model altar. This is Jesus' table and He invites us to His feast. Jesus died, and Jesus is Risen (place cross/icon, set out candles). We will light the candles in a moment, I want to show you something else…"
Show children model of Tabernacle and place on altar.
"Jesus is present at this table in the wine and in the bread. Inside the Tabernacle is stored the Reserve Eucharist. This is the Body and Blood of Jesus kept always present on Jesus' table.
More information for the older child:
There are prayers that the priest says over the bread and the wine once a year on Holy Thursday. The priest prepares this for people who are unable to be with us in the church. He blesses the bread and tinctures-or dunks-it with the wine. Then they are dried together and put in a very special place called the tabernacle. This bread and wine is saved for those who might be too sick to come to church; perhaps they are in the hospital. Or maybe someone has hurt him or herself so badly that they cannot walk or drive, so the priest would take the bread and wine to them. Or someone who is very very old might not be able to get to church. So the bread and wine for them is kept in the tabernacle. The tabernacle has a drawer in front where these Gifts are kept. Show, pass around. Return. Touch model and repeat name. "Tabernacle."
Show a vigil lamp/candle.
"When we go to church, Jesus is present in the consecrated bread and wine. How do we know this? There is a special lamp or candle in front of the Tabernacle. When it is lit, we know Jesus is present in the consecrated bread and wine. (For older children, at a later time, you can tell them the only time the light is put out is on Holy Friday at 3pm and then it is relit on Pascha, at the midnight service)."
Show a model of a gospel book.
"Jesus is present in the bread and in the wine, in the Tabernacle. He is also present in the word whenever his words are read from the Holy Gospel."
Isn't this a beautiful table? What might you want to say to Jesus?
Restoring Materials and Dismissing to Work:
Let's put the altar table away. I will show you how….carefully and slowly, put all the items on a shelf, labeled with pictures. (Remembering to show how to snuff candle, etc.)
Sing "Alleluias" or "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal"
Work with materials
Tracing cards: items of altar table (clip board, tracing paper, pencils)
Matching Altar Art cards with same pictures, or matching with naming labels, or pictures with labels
Altar Collage: gluing activity (construction paper and cut pieces of altar items, glue)
Basket of miniature articles with pictures to work with.
Level I, St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church; JoAnn Padgett-trainer; 2007
Religious Potential of the Child, Chapter 4
The Good Shepherd and Child,, pp 68-69
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Manual for Construction of the 3-6 year materials, 2001, pp 18-52
Listening to God with Children, pp 59-61
The Orthodox Faith, Volume ii-Worship, by: Fr. Thomas Hopko, pg 6-8
We Worship God, Edited by: Rev. John Kivko
Byzantine Coloring Book, Sketches by Fr. John Matusiak
Let's Take A Walk through our Orthodox Church, By Anthony Coniaris, pg 24.
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.