I am planning a First Communion Retreat for children in grade two. Do you have any ideas that you've used and found to be helpful? I've used bread-making, banners, symbols (butterfly, Jesus sign), and a few others. I'm looking for something new and creative. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
We also plan a First Communion retreat day. We have several activities and rotate small groups of children through each one. Some of our activities include:
*Handprint keepsake banners (We later laminate them)
*Make prayer beads/rosaries
*Our pastor gives the kids a tour of the church/parish house
*Thank you letters to parents for helping the kids prepare for the sacrements
I know there are others, but I can't think of them right now.
You can also have children recreate the Last Supper, or participate in a seder-it will help them understand where the Eucharist originated and understand the Eucharistic prayer. I remember doing this when I was a child.
Thanks for your response. I'd like to hear more about the "Handprint keepsake banners." Obviously, it involves handprints but what else? It sounds like it might be the something different I've been looking for.
Putting the following ingredients together you or the children say:
The pretzels represent our praying hands.
The Cheerios represent Godís circle of life ... no beginning and no end!
The M & M's - remind us of all the colorful people in our world, different skin colors, hair colors and eye colors.
Nuts are salty and remind us that people have different personalities, and that makes life interesting,
Marshmallows -represent our feelings, also, handicapped, poor people who are fragile and need us to help take care of them.
We use this during our retreat as each child puts the ingredients into a big bowl saying the above as they do so. The parent volunteers then put some into a bag that has this printed on the front. Each child is given one at the end of the retreat.
"Jesus Day". It's an all day retreat. We start in the AM with a prayer service in our high school chapel. Then we come back to our building, watch a video, "Grandma's Bread" and make bun with frozen bread dough. While it bakes we have several activities. We make mobiles of the chalice and bread and wine, we make bead bracelets with their names in alphabet beads and other colors. The color meanings are from the Jelly Bean prayer. These are to remember that Jesus is calling you by name. By then the bread is baked and we eat it. In the afternoon the parents come at 12:30. They watch a video with their kids, called "A Child's First Communion". Then they work on felt banners that they started on at home. We rotate the parents doing that and carving a clay chalice that will be fired and will be used at first communion. They also make a foam craft from Oriental Trading called the Last Supper. We end with a prayer service at our parish church with parents and children. Maybe they're are some ideas that you can use!
I have used some of the ideas shared and want to thank those who have shared some of their "new" ideas with those of us who are always looking for something different.
What I have done is have the children & parent(s) make a loaf of bread to bring to any of the masses two to three weeks prior them making their first communion. This can be a loaf of white, wheat, banana, pumpkin or whatever they like. They can even buy it at a store if mom doesn't bake. But I like to emphasize,to the parent, that this is a good time to share with the child that we are the church and we share. Then they wrap the bread and we give them a bread shaped label to attach to the bread they brought and during mass Father tells the members of the parish that the second grade classes are preparing for their first communion and they have brought a loaf of bread to share with someone from the church community. Those children that have brought bread for that mass then get up and give their loaf of bread to someone in church they do not know. The church members really enjoy this and often send the child from whom they received the bread a first communion card with a note of thanks.
On the label we print the child's name and the date he/she will be making their first communion and then ask that the person receiving the bread will pray for that child as they prepare.
These are great ideas! I also plan a retreat day for my Gr. 2s. We always start with Mass and Confessions. Then we break into 2 groups. One group goes and begins the process of baking bread, while the other group does an activity or two. In the past I've made Rosary bracelets, placemats, and poems. Then the groups switch. We also always watch the movie "Grandma's Bread". After lunch, when the bread is all baked (each child make's a loaf to take home and share with their family) we participate in an "Agape" dinner - we break the bread and pass it to each other and offer blessings and peace. The dinner is in silence. I also provide grape juice and it's like a mini seder.
Some great ideas. I like the snack mix idea but we do have food allergy issues in our program. I am going to get one of the moms who deals with this issue personally to come up with some alternative foods without changing the meaning behind what you are using. As soon as I have an answer I will report back to you. I am still in search of something else to use. We have been doing some of these ideas for a while and would still like to hear more. One idea that we are formulating is a prayer chain. One that they can use when they need to actually express what it is they are feeling at the time ex. sad, happy, or lonely to name a few. We are hoping they will take it out and use it to pray with for themselves or for someone else. Once we have it all worked out we will share the idea. Borrowing from the symbols idea I would like to make a game out of it instead of a craft. Any ideas?
For our First Communion Retreat
First meet at Chruch for a prayer service and tour of the Church given by our pastor.
We rotate through 4 stations:
-paint a ceramic plate
Items (chalice, paten, alb, ect.) are brought from the Church to a classroom. The children can have a close look at the items and even feel them. Then they make their own altar using a shoebox. Inside the shoebox I have pictures of items that you would see at Church with words to match to the picture.
-Art & Environment station. Cut out circles of felt-one is beige to represent the hosts which they make a cross on with glitter glue and the other is a reddish color that they write their name on which will represent the wine. I have an felf cloth that drapes on either side of the altar. One with a chalice and one with a paten. The circles they cut out are place on those and used during First Communion.
They also decorate a cut out person figure to represent themselves in anyway they wish. I place these on a stick and then put in a planter box filled with flowers. On the front it says,"Growing in our Faith" This is placed by our baptismal font.
They also draw a picture on a small sheet of paper (cross, bread, wine, saying, whatever relates to communion). I use these to place in the Mass booklet that is made up for First Communion Day.
At the end of our retreat, we have a potluck lunch! The bread they baked is taken home to share.
I recently had my First Communion retreat day. I hired a the local potter, who came with his wheel and did a beautiful prayer service for the children and a parent. It was important to include the parent (we had two grandparents) because during part of it he sends the children to spend time talking about what makes them special and ends with hugs and kissess. Each child needs to have someone who loves them there. The group then decorates chalices that he brings and after they are fired I placed them in church and Father blessed them as part of the First Communion liturgy. We also began the retreat with making bread...the day was filled with love and faith. Maybe you have a local potter who could offer his services? Good luck...