Twelve little hand-made, hand-painted statues individually climbed the homemade dowel rod ladder up to the Cenacle, a Greek word meaning ‘upper room’. They were following a red-sashed Jesus figure to take their places behind a long table, covered in a white cloth.
The ancient words were repeated from the Bible to the children gathered around this miniature scene, “This is My Body . . . This is My Blood.” All of the figures exited the diorama the same way they had entered, following Jesus. All eyes flashed as tiny candles on the table were lit and a crucifix was placed in the middle of the table. Quiet thanksgiving followed a short, meaningful description of what would happen to Jesus, adorable voices lifted up both quiet and exuberant prayers and questions, and the candles were snuffed by tiny hands not usually allowed near any kind of fire .
Bring it Home
That was the Cenacle, one of many poignant presentations given to kids from 3 to 6 in Level I Atria across the world. The kids would then be shown how to put it away, and told they could work with it anytime they liked. They did it over and over.
Now that churches are closed to flatten the curve and contain the spread of coronavirus, so are Atria, the specially designed classrooms for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. But you can bring the memory of the presentation home for your kids. You can download the attached coloring sheets to let the kids make their own Apostles and Jesus so they can keep thinking about it. Print out two copies of each (Cenacle Apostles 3, Cenacle Apostles 2, Cenacle Apostles 1), except Jesus (Cenacle Jesus).
Once you have them printed (on cardstock if you’ve got it!), simply cut around the rectangle and let the kids color them in. You are making a tube out of each little guy eventually. If you’ve ever downloaded Catholic Icing’s ABC Saints, you’ll remember this process. If you happen to have spare baby food jars or toilet paper rolls, they make the perfect weight/stand for these little guys. If not, just encourage the kids to work with them on a hard surface.
Grab some playdoh or tin foil and make a rough chalice, or grab the smallest cup you can find. Then, flatten a little pinch of bread or more playdoh for the leavened bread. (My girls used crackers) Cut a small circle of paper or foil for a plate. Find something for the candles – birthday candles in washers, battery tea lights, votives, paper rolled into tubes stuffed with red and orange paper or tissue paper – anything will work. Snag the kids blocks or make a table out of a spare 2×4 chunk, Duplos, or a shoe box. Cover it with a white cloth like a washcloth, handkerchief, or spare material.
Read the Bible verses Mark 14:22-24, and move the figures with the narrative. Then, you can follow the guidelines provided by the national Catechesis of the Good Shepherd office and let the kids work with them all day, reminding them that it was here that Jesus found a new way to be with us. He loves us so much, He gave us all of Himself.