As families from across the nation gather to begin the great cross-country trek to Indianapolis, Indiana for the National Eucharistic Congress, we thought we’d offer a few things to help you get the kids excited about adoring the Eucharist

The first is this paper lantern monstrance, great for any Eucharistic Procession, even for you local parish on the upcoming Solemnity of Corpus Christi, or as it’s more properly known, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. It’s easy for kids to hang on to, fun to lift up, and exciting to create. Many parishes will celebrate this Solemnity (more important than a Feast) on Thursday, May 30 this year, and then again on Sunday, so check your bulletin for special happenings surrounding the observance. It’s customary to do a Eucharistic Procession, but not all churches are able to.

Steps 1 (images 1-5): Fold and cut a paper lantern.

Our craft starts with a paper lantern. Did you make these in school? I can’t remember my art teacher, or the year she had us create these, but I certainly remember the craft. You fold the paper in half, cut slits every quarter inch or so, flatten the paper back out, and roll it into a cylinder shape. For a lantern, I’d put a handle on it. But for this craft, we’re adding a base instead.

Step 2 (images 6-8): Flatten the lantern and secure with tape.

Looking at a paper lantern may not bring images of a monstrance holding the Holy Eucharist to your head, but try flattening it the way a toddler would when they see it wobble. Press the top circle down until it reaches the bottom circle. Keeping the two together, pick it up so you’re looking through the two circles. Tape the circles together. Are you starting to see the starburst that usually adorns a monstrance? 

Step 3: Create a base with a paper towel tube and paper bowl.

Now, it just needs that base. Since we’re working in paper, clearly we’re going to need a paper towel roll. And to make the whole thing stand up? A paper bowl, of course!

After testing and pricing gold paper, I actually recommend covering the paper monstrance stand in a gold napkin. You can get a pack of them for 97 cents at Walmart, and you only need one per craft monstrance. Because of its size when unfolded, the paper napkin proved so much easier to manipulate than cutting more gold paper to cover the bowl’s shape. So, even though the images show paper covering the bottom, grab those napkins instead.

You’ll cover the paper towel tube in gold paper. Tape works great to secure it. Then, cut four slits in the middle of the bowl, and fold them down. You’re making a spot for the tube to fit. You’ll want it snug so that you don’t lose the bowl. Cover the cut bowl with a completely unfolded paper napkin. Push some of the napkin into the hole, and then place the tube in the hole. Smooth the napkin over the edges of the bowl, and tape it to the underside.

Step 4: Secure the flattened paper lantern to the base.

The only difficult part of this craft is attaching the flattened paper lantern to the base. You need to cut apart a few of the starburst loops you created when you folded and cut in step 1. Make them just a little longer by lengthening the slits into the to interior circle. This allows them to drape over the front and back of the paper towel tube. It helps to refold them a bit. Then, open up the circle some. You can do this by cutting or just separating the two interior circles. Either way, make a space that fits over the paper towel roll tube. Secure it with tape as best you can.

Before you call it complete, make sure to shake it furiously and make sure nothing falls off. Then, you’ll know it’s kid-proof.

What steps should the kids do?

For 2nd grade and up, I suggest that you let them do steps 1, 2, and 3. Really, step four is pretty much on you because it is difficult. For younger kids, I advise having an older sibling guide them in cutting, and help them get pieces of tape from the tape dispenser. And, again, you do step 4.

What about the Host?

You’ll notice this craft doesn’t have a craft host at its center. After I made the monstrance, I considered many ways to incorporate a paper host to represent the Holy Eucharist. But, I just felt like it could end up being irreverent. We want to draw attention to the real monstrance, not confuse kids about where Christ’s True Presence really is. We’d never want them thinking that a craft paper host was anything like the Eucharist.

What do we do with this craft monstrance?

Hand the completed paper monstrance to your youngest kids, and tell them to look for the real one the priest carries. That’s where Jesus will be, in the real one. You could even have them use the empty hole as if it were a telescope to look for Jesus. It will give them something to carry and keep their minds on the focal point you want them to remember.

Do you have any other Eucharistic resources?

Sure! We’ve also made a super-di-duper simple printable. The Eucharist is on one side, and Christ the Good Shepherd is on the other. Print it out, and shine a flashlight behind it. Christ’s image appears on the host! You can print the coloring page version to make this a craft, too. We call it our True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist Visual Aide.

If you’d like a different monstrance craft, we’ve got that, too. Just check out our Easiest First Communion Monstrance Craft.

Check out our Reader Favorite Road to Emmaus craft, too. Remember? “. . . He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread . . .”

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