Excerpt from: Art: Teaching Plans, Book One, Grades 1-2-3
Salve Regina Series
By Sister Esther, S.P
Gregorian Institute Press, 1960
Easter lasts for fifty days! According to the spirit of the reformed liturgy Easter should not be anticipated before the evening of Holy Saturday. This, together with our preoccupation with the Sacred Passion during Holy Week makes any schoolroom pre-celebration of the feast quite inappropriate. But Easter is not over at 12:00 P.M. Sunday night. Easter lasts fifty days — and culminates in Pentecost.
Most of our understanding and appreciation of Easter will — like that of the apostles — be developed after the day itself has passed. The art lesson can play a very active part in interpreting the Paschal joy and in relating Easter and baptism to our daily lives.
Each grade may contribute a different type of work for a school-wide “Lumen Christi Festival” or an “Alleluia Exhibit” to be staged between Easter and Ascension. Assembly presentations, P.T.A. programs, school open-house, and similar occasion may be arranged in connection with the festival. It can be a school-wide, even parish or city-wide event if well planned. the planning must reach back into Holy Week.
Holy Week Preparation: Perhaps every teacher has felt a certain frustration at her inability to do justice to the Holy Week theme in her classroom. Concentration on the Passion weighs heavily on school children. They are depressed if asked to bear the sad burden unrelieved. Let us, after Our Lord’s own example, always point ahead to the Resurrection, insisting that the cross is but the road to glory. A graphic explanation of the Easter Vigil Rite is a very satisfactory way to make such a tie-up of ideas.
Easter Vigil Demonstration: On the last schoolday of Holy Week bring a paschal candle into the classroom and show the children, close up, what happens in the back of the church at the Easter Vigil service. A piece of an old Paschal Candle (cleaned off and rid of decorations) will serve very well. Even better is a newly made candle either hand dipped or moulded, made from melted down candle stubs.
If desirable, a boy dressed in cassock and surplice might perform the rite as the teacher explains and comments on each action. The candle is a symbol of Christ’s body. The cross carved into it with a knife represents the suffering of the Passion — which was “cut into” the sacred boy. Allude to the figures of speech used by the prophets: “Upon my back the plowers plowed; long did they make their furrows.” “They have dug my hands and my feet.”
As the lines of the cross are cut let the children repeat aloud the words used by the priest. They are a beautiful act of hope and faith in the Divinity of Christ.
(2) the Beginning and the End, (carving the transverse beam)
(3) Alpha, (carving the letter A above the vertical beam)
(4) and Omega (carving the letter Omega below the vertical beam)
(5) all time belongs to Him (carving the first numeral of the current year in upper left hand angle of the cross)
(6) and all the ages (carving the second numeral of the current year in the upper right hand angle of the cross)
(7) to Him be glory and power (carving the third numeral of the year in the lower left hand angle of the cross)
(8) through every age for ever. Amen.(carving the last numeral of the year in the lower right angle of the cross).
As the last numeral is carved call attention to the fact that our own time, THIS YEAR, is one year of Christ’s kingdom. THIS year, like our own time, THIS YEAR, is one year of Christ’s kingdom. THIS year, like all before it, was “cut into” the holy Body of Our Redeemer. His Passion and death atoned for OUR sins — this year’s sins — He rose again to make our resurrection possible.
Then place the “five wounds” on the Christ Candle. Instead of the grains of incense, five sharp, red, small pieces of toothpick or something similar could be used. Stress the allusion to the five wounds as the source of hope, protection, and salvation.
This demonstration should be carried out through the entire school. It will serve as a basis for the after-Easter projects.