Vox Pastoris

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Level I Presentation Descriptions: Infancy Narratives

In presenting Infancy Narratives, the catechist seeks to introduce the child to the great mystery of the child Jesus, a baby like each of us was, yet completely unique as the Son of God. We concentrate on these presentations during Advent and Christmas.

There are five presentations under the subject of Infancy Narratives:

  1. Annunciation to Mary (Luke 1:26-38)
  2. Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-49, 56)
  3. Birth of Jesus and Adoration of the Shepherds (Luke 2:1-20)
  4. Adoration of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12)
  5. Presentation in the Temple (Luke 2:21-33, 36-39)

All of these presentations follow a similar format. The catechist gives the background to the event with reference to the raised surface map of Israel (for example, locating Nazareth before presenting the Annunciation). Locating the place of the event from Jesus' life helps to reinforce the historicity of what the Scriptures relate.

Each presentation has a diorama model of the main setting and three-dimensional figures of the people to help the children enter into the events from Scripture. (In the atrium, all the figures from historical accounts are three-dimensional, but the figures for the parable materials are two-dimensional. This difference also helps to reinforce the historicity of what is being related.) The catechist then reads the Scripture and moves the figures appropriately (for example, bringing the shepherds to the stable to see Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus when indicated by Scripture). The catechist and children reflect on what they have heard, focusing especially on what is proclaimed about Jesus in the passage. The catechist invites a response of prayer and/or song. The children are then invited to work with the scene and the figures on their own; they often ask the catechist to read the Scripture passages to them again as they work.

Using the language of the Bible in this way, and drawing the children to see the grandeur of this event, opens the door to wonder in their heart. This great event is not simply something that happened in the distant past, merely a part of ancient history. The children are helped to enter into this event here and now. Together we ask ourselves, in amazement, "But who can this Child be?" Stressing the greatness of the Incarnation in this way makes it easier for children to catch hold of its eternal presence in their own lives. (Cavalletti, The Good Shepherd and the Child, 73)

For further reading about the Infancy Narratives, please see The Religious Potential of the Child, pages 108-113, and The Good Shepherd and the Child, pages 71-73.

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