For the past several years at Christmas, I’ve written the words “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…” (I consider our driveway and chalk to be fantastic evangelization tools!). This week’s Gospel, then, makes me think about Christmas, with all of its tangible and spiritual gifts. God gave us Himself, not just as one powerful Creator, but in three forms—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As God the Father, He took literally ages to create the perfect place for us and fashion us perfectly for that place. As God the Son, He offered, and still offers, His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity so we’d have a chance at Heaven, at life with Him. As God the Holy Spirit, He sets our hearts on fire and gives us every grace we need to do His will and spread His love and forgiveness. Confronted with such immense and perfect love, how do we respond?
In Level II of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, which is geared toward 6-9-year-olds, recognizing God’s great love for us and how He shows it in the course of history constitutes the bulk of the first presentations. As the children in Level II approach readiness for First Reconciliation, they are directed toward recognition of the difference between the perfection with which God loves us and the imperfection of our own attempts at love. The difference is named sin. What a beautiful reminder that God didn’t come into our world to condemn us for when we fail, but to show us how much and how well He loves us.
The Apple Craft Analogy:
Years ago, searching blogs for ideas on Holy Trinity Sunday, I ran across a beautiful post about a book called, “3 in 1: A Picture of God.” While the book is not Catholic, it is so close, it might as well convert! It describes the three parts of an apple – the skin, the flesh, and the seeds. It even goes into how good the flesh is for eating! It uses simple, attainable language for kids, and modern illustrations despite it’s original publication date sometime in the ‘70s.
The craft, then, is an apple! Just cut an apple shape out of red construction paper. Then, make another, smaller apple shape out of white construction paper sans stem and leaf. Finally, cut a few tear-drop shaped seeds out of black paper. Let the kids glue it together into one apple that was made of three parts.
Activities and Resources for Celebrating Holy Trinity Sunday at Home
This week, as every week, we’ve got plenty to work with. Do, watch, read, listen, and discuss with your whole family the glory of the Holy Trinity!
Gospel: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son . . .”
Saint: St. Anthony of Padua, June 13
Prayer: Glory to God
Work of Mercy: Admonish the Sinner
Extensions: Mt. Sinai, symbols of the Holy Trinity in the natural world- clover, triangle, apple and other fruits, water
- Practice the sign of the cross. Pay attention NOT to make 4 points, but to draw the two lines of a cross on your body as a way to ask for Jesus to be close to you.
- Make triangles, squares and line segments from toothpicks and marshmallows. Then, make them into 3D shapes. What shape is the strongest? What does that tell us about the Holy Trinity?
- Find a three-leaf clover, (we have plenty in our yard if you need to borrow some!) and talk about the Trinity as St. Patrick did. Then, let the kids find and pull all the clover!
- Create a Mass scavenger hunt to find where the priest repeats the words of St. Paul in the second reading: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ . . .” Hide names of the parts of the Mass and the prayers said at these parts. Find them all, match them up, and decide where it lands. Use Mass guides like Magnifikid and the St. Joseph Children’s Missal to help match them. Or, you can try this fantastic book on the Mass (pre-Vatican II) written for children by Maria Montessori. Pauline Press has also been knocking it out of the park with fabulous children’s books, and this Mass book for adults by the author of the “Gospel Time Trekkers” series.
- Make a big poster of signs of God’s love for us that everyone can add to with words or drawings
- Put a stack of blank thank-you notes on the prayer table with colorful writing utensils nearby. Encourage the family to write one to God every time they notice a gift from him. At the end of the week, make writing thank you notes the family service project and send them to everyone you can think of – first responders, medical staff, priests, deacons, church staff, family and friends, mail carriers and delivery drivers, nursing home residents, etc.
- Draw up a comparison chart of what God made vs. what people make. Circle the things we need to live.
- Fill a big box with images of God’s gifts to us. Put them in order of creation, including light, water, earth, sky, stars, plants, trees, animals, etc., us, and finally, Christ. Wrap it up and let the kids tear it open. Then talk about the beauty of each gift.
- If you are a CGS catechist, get some grosgrain ribbon and present the History of the Kingdom of God. Do it outside for the neighbors to watch!
- Practice going to Confession. You can make your own script, or get this one from CatholicIcing.com. Use this Examination of Conscience for Kids I wrote for our oldest. Also, check out the site’s other Holy Trinity ideas.
- Fill your driveway or windows or balcony with encouraging words.
- Make the apple craft above and read, “3 in 1: A Picture of God.” Then, cut open an apple and eat it.
- Have a water day (on your designated watering day) and play in kiddie pools and sprinklers, or even just in the tub. Boil water on the stove to watch the steam, and freeze water into ice. Talk about what each kind of water can do, and how that is like God in Three Persons.
Here’s the YouTube Playlist for Holy Trinity Sunday.
Catholic Sprouts has a podcast on Reconciliation. You can also search the web for different versions of Gloria or Glory to God.
Download and Print:
As always, I suggest going to Holy Heroes and signing up for their Mass Prep. This will get you their coloring sheet and a Mass quiz for the older kids. TheCatholicKid.com has a Holy Trinity coloring sheet, and a St. Anthony of Padua coloring page. LooktoHimandBeRadiant has a virtue of charity coloring page and a lesson on charity for older kids. Print out the story of St. Anthony from Loyola Press. Check out Gospel questions for your kids from TeachingCatholicKids.com. There’s even a coloring sheet for the second reading this week from FlameCreativeKids.
How do we make and take behavior critiques?
Can you correct Mom and Dad? What about an older sibling?
What’s the difference between a kiss and a holy kiss?
What do we do when we don’t agree with someone?
What is God’s greatest sign of love for us? How are we still sharing in that gift?
How do we know what’s best for someone else?
How can we encourage someone when we can’t be with them? How does God encourage us when we can’t see him?