Palm Sunday Family Reflection

Families from St Joseph Calasanctius and St Andrew Bobola parishes are coming together for our first Zoom CCD session on Palm Sunday!

To reflect on the start of Holy Week, we will use illustrations from Tomie dePaola’s Book of Bible Stories.*

Amazon: Tomie dePaola’s Book of Bible Stories

If you don’t have these illustrations, you can still follow along by reading Mark 10:32-34, 11:1-10.

Younger kids and draw-ers are asked to have blank paper and colored pencils or markers.

Older children & writers are asked to have lined paper and a pen or pencil. (Or you can still choose to draw!)

Who Are We? How Are We Feeling?

To reconnect, and start our reflection, we will take time for each person to share:

  • Your name
  • How you’re feeling**
Source: Public Domain Pixabay

Who Were They? How Were They Feeling?

Let’s prepare our bodies and hearts to listen to the Word of God. As we listen, let’s ask ourselves: who are the people? How are they feeling?

Read Mark 10:32-34.

The people named are:

  • Jesus
  • Twelve disciples
  • Chief Priests and Rabbis
  • Gentiles (Pontius Pilate & Roman soldiers)

Choose one of these people. How do you think they are feeling? Our book has pictures to help us see what Tomie dePaola thinks they may have looked like. Look at their faces when they are with Jesus.

Let’s continue by reading Mark 11:1-10.

We hear about a few people here, and even an animal:

  • Two disciples
  • Colt (baby donkey)
  • Some people standing there
  • People who followed Jesus, waving branches and shouting
Source: Public Domain

3-6 year olds, try to draw or write what you think the person you choose looks like. Think especially about their face. How are they feeling?

6-9 year olds, draw or write down what you think your person is feeling about Jesus riding a colt into Jerusalem. What might they say to him?

9-12 year olds, I want you to draw a comic about how the person or group you chose reacted to Jesus. Why do you think they felt this way? What is the motivation behind their reaction?

After you have a few minutes to reflect, who wants to share?

Let’s end our session by being the people who followed Jesus. Pretend to throw your cloak on the road. Pretend to wave your branches in the hair. Let’s shout!

Source: Public Domain Clipartix

“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna in the highest!”

Mark 11:9-10

This is how we usually start Mass on Palm Sunday: we parade in and shout! But… did you notice we also sing (or say) these words in every Mass? Whenever we sing or say “Hosanna!”, we can be the people who follow Jesus, and celebrate him!

You are invited to join in spiritual communion with our Palm Sunday Mass at 10am Sunday on Facebook Live (or the recording) at: https://m.facebook.com/StAndrewBobola/

Our readings today in Mass are long. Listen for the name of a person, and what they say and do. Think about who they are, what they might be feeling, and why.

Choose a different person each year. Every time you hear or read the Bible, you can think about a different person, who they are, how they felt, and why? It makes the Bible come alive!***

Source: Public Domain Pictures

*Indeed, what makes Tomie dePaola’s books so great is his reliance on the source material. The text are the direct quotes from scripture. As his illustrations and selections demonstrate, children are very capable of understanding the Bible directly when presented clearly and reverently.

**This seemingly simple technique is called emotional coaching, based on the psychology research of John Gottman. Our reflection includes four of the five steps of this technique: connect with children, listen to them, help them become aware of emotions, and name emotions. Emotional intelligence is a critical component to helping children develop resilience through crisis.

***What we are doing in this Bible study is a form of exegesis. Focusing on one figure at a time helps us better understand the meaning and message of the Bible passage. Even young children can do this in their own way. As we learn more about the Bible’s history and context, we can apply that to gain more insight into the meaning of a passage. We can teach about vocabulary, genres, comprehension, and more… what can’t be taught is our love for the True Author of the text. Our primary goal today is to prepare the children (and ourselves) for full participation in the Palm Sunday liturgy.

As our quarantine continues, it may not feel like Lent is over. But indeed we must remember that even as we carry our own cross, Jesus is Risen. Nothing can take that Easter joy from us. Hope rises anew with each dawn.

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