Sunday, May 22, 2016

Celebrate Mary - and Pass Forward A Simple Gift

For several months, we've been participating in a monthly Adoration-and-Craft time with homeschool friends.  This month, our focus was on the Lady of Fatima.

Adoration and Prayer

Once our group gathered together, a wonderful local priest offered our children teaching about Our Lady of Fatima and Pentecost with through short chat.  Then, we processed into an Adoration chapel where he exposed the Blessed Sacrament and led us in further teaching as well as praying the Divine Mercy.

After Benediction and Reposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the priest led us up to the main part of the church where he offered another brief chat before a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Fatima which was placed in the sanctuary of the church.  At the conclusion of the chat, we prayed a decade of the rosary together before the children were allowed, by special permission, to enter the sanctuary, placing flowers in front of the statue of Our Lady.

Once everyone had placed their flowers in front of Our Lady, the priest went on to do other things, and we all went back to a meeting room to continue honoring Our Lady of Fatima day.

We started off our time in the room by participating in a brief crowning of Mary ceremony, using a small statue of Mary.

After that, the children were quite ready for craft time! 

(And, after craft time, my children were ready for more prayer time.  In fact, they were excited to visit the United Nations International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima and to offer prayers at the church that was hosting it on Our Lady of Fatima's feast day.  The statue continues to travel around, so be sure to check if it may be near you soon or even schedule a visit for your school, parish, hospital, or other location.)

A Simple Gift for Children to Make

In honor of Mary's month of May, at our Adoration-and-Craft time,  we made paper Marian May Baskets inspired by the ones at Cottage Blessings

Basically, while some moms helped children cut, fold, and hot glue scrapbook paper together to make baskets, others of us set up a "buffet" of items that the children could choose from as they continued on to decorate and fill their baskets.

Once children's baskets were glued together, one mom hole punched them and another mom helped cut ribbons for them.  Then, the children passed through the "buffet" to find decorations for their baskets - such as stickers, foam pieces, ribbon, markers to draw with, etc. When their baskets were decorated, the children, then, returned to the buffer to select fillers for their baskets - such as holy cards, rosaries, fake flowers, note cards, notes of encouragement, and small trinkets.

Many of the children chose to make multiple baskets.

The room was a hubbub of focused prayer, creativity, and service crafting.

Some children chose to take their finished baskets home to gift to those close to them while the majority of children left their baskets to be distributed to homebound parishioners from the parish at which we met or nursing home residents in care facilities where my priest offer Mass.

Simple Delights

My Nina set aside one of the baskets that she made in order to gift it to a dear elderly neighbor of ours.  Just today, we were able to visit that neighbor to deliver the basket.   As Nina and I spent time with that neighbor and her husband, I thought, It is the simple things in life that can bring such joy and connection - a small gift, a bit of time spent together... Indeed!  Simple choices can lead to meaningful moments.  

We hope to enjoy more precious moments soon while visiting local nursing homes to deliver Marian May Baskets that the children made. Nina has already helped me organize and box the ones that we were given for nursing home residents in our area, and, if we are able, we will visit care facilities to deliver them when our priest offers Mass.  If not, we will simply bring the baskets to our parish office, so our priest can bring them to Mass at the nursing homes on his own.  Either way, we pray that the children's baskets may bring joy to those who receive them.

What crafts have you found enjoyable for children to make and meaningful for them to pass forward?  We'd love to be inspired by them as we plan future Adoration and Craft times, as well as a Works of Mercy Craft table we hope to have at a fall co-op we'll be participating in.  Thanks in advance for taking time to share your experiences and ideas!


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