Saturday, March 26, 2011

holy hell...

... you know it's Lent when you have to wake up at 7am on your day off to take your son to his First Communion Retreat. Suffering from bronchitis and drugged on codeine laced cough syrup I'm being snatched from the comfort of my bed to, of all things, make felt banners. Mother flipping felt banners. Last time I checked Christ didn't proclaim at the Last Supper "This is My Body, but first make felt banners!". I'm pretty sure glue guns and glitter were not pre-requisites for discipleship.

Oh, and it's a competition too.

Some of those moms had been working on their child's felt banners for a week. Never mind it was supposed to be a craft project the kids were to do with their parents... you know, bonding over the fumes of craft glue. It's all so holy. Apparently the kid with the fanciest felt banners wins the catechism prize and gets more Jesus in their sacraments.

31 comments:

3puddytats said...

I actuually enjoy looking at the banners our First Communion student create..part of the "Learn Do Teach" cycle of learning. They always give me plenty to ponder on during prayer. The beauty and wonder of the Sacrament through the eyes of a child, as so often us adults make things SO DANG complicated..

Sara

Joe @ Defend Us In Battle said...

I just informed my 14 month old that she will NOT be making a felt banner at 1st Communion.

Her always helpful mother replied to me: "What if they use towels?!"

I get no respect.

Julie said...

Maybe you should head over to that Catholic Icing blog for some pointers. :)

Stella Oriens said...

Sabotage the competition by enlisting nuns. I dare you.

elena maria vidal said...

I just lived through a First Communion retreat as well, felt banner and all. I totally empathize.

Nan said...

I'm so glad that felt is a banned substance at my parish!

Cruise the Groove. said...

You would not have this "felt" problem if you enrolled your son at one of the confraternities at St Anthony of Padua church in Mt Holly.
Instead of cutting out green cloth grapes, he would be learning how to chant Prime.

Hmmm... I wonder which is more pleasing to Almighty God, Felt snippets or the Divine Office, hmmm

Lola said...

Bonding over glue fumes.

I have to go yet again for one more 'mandatory' meeting for my little Darlings First Eucharist preperation. This time both parents MUST attend.

Oy!

NBW said...

Ah yes, the felt banners. It brings back a lot of memories none of which were good.

Shelley said...

The felt banners at the First Communion retreat are bad enough, but wait until you get to the Confirmation retreat, where they will make your sulky, recalcitrant teenager paint a t-shirt, which he will then be required to wear at the retreat's Mass.

I saw my fifteen year old's face as she came into the church with the rest of the group and just knew we were in for a very bad evening.

"WHAT DOES PAINTING A STUPID CHEAP T-SHIRT FROM HOBBY LOBBY HAVE TO DO WITH BEING CONFIRMED IN CHRIST?!" she yelled in the car on the way home. "IF SOMEONE COULD JUST TELL ME, MAYBE EXPLAIN THE SIGNIFICANCE OF T-SHIRTS, MAYBE I WOULDN'T BE SO FREAKING PISSED."

I couldn't explain the shirt, which we threw away as soon as we got home, but I did ground her for using bad language.

Badger Catholic said...

My condolences!

Smiley said...

Tell your son its not wrong to bite the holy communion, i know someone who swallowed it whole and choked :(

about banners i cant comment we did not have any of those when growing up.

Smiley said...

When i read some of the posts i thank God i drive 30 minutes to the Toronto Oratory. And thank God almighty for the Heralds of the Gospel.

Heather said...

they had maypole dancing at my daughter's First Communion. I would have traded that for a felt banner.

Dymphna said...

Good grief. I though the felt banners died in the 80s.

Charlie said...

Bullshit. Sorry y'all had to go through that.

سايرة said...

What the heck for? Even as liberal as our first Catholic church was in California, we didn't do anything so ridiculous. We just went through workbooks and memorised prayers like the Hail, Mary, the Glory Be and the Apostle's Creed.

TCN said...

Well, speaking as the coordinator of RE at my parish, this first year on the job I have banished a great deal of this silliness. Since when do second-graders "retreat" worth a darn anyway? We had a talk by Father, who explained why we receive on the tongue, and then a tour of the Church to learn all the names of the parts, and then practiced taking communion with Necco wafers. I even let the little folks try a piece of the unconsecrated host so they will know what to expect. After a talk with the parents about how to dress their kids properly, we adjourned to let everyone get to confession before Mass.

What's so hard about that?

Felt banners are the spawn of Satan.

TCN said...

Well, speaking as the coordinator of RE at my parish, this first year on the job I have banished a great deal of this silliness. Since when do second-graders "retreat" worth a darn anyway? We had a talk by Father, who explained why we receive on the tongue, and then a tour of the Church to learn all the names of the parts, and then practiced taking communion with Necco wafers. I even let the little folks try a piece of the unconsecrated host so they will know what to expect. After a talk with the parents about how to dress their kids properly, we adjourned to let everyone get to confession before Mass.

What's so hard about that?

Felt banners are the spawn of Satan.

Cruise the Groove. said...

"When i read some of the posts i thank God i drive 30 minutes to the Toronto Oratory."
Smiley.
You blessed man you.
We have to drive at least an hour to the nearest non-felt TLM.

The Digital Hairshirt said...

Our kids at St. Joseph's in Santa Ana, CA do the old "reverse-writing-crayon-cloth-square" that then gets sealed with a hot iron and made into an altar cloth for their 1st Holy Communion. Every friggin' year. For all I know, the pastor uses the previous year's to wash his car, since I can't imagine anyone keeping it . . .

Nan said...

TCN, we didn't have a retreat all those years ago. Our CCD class, all 5 or 6 of us, went to the Church where we made our First Confessions then had a Mass Lesson; Father brought us to the Altar, where we crowded around on tip-toes, and he showed us all the things he uses at the altar and explained what he did with each thing, broke a giant host and gave us each a piece, then we were done.

No felt was abused.

therese rita said...

"Hmmm... I wonder which is more pleasing to Almighty God, Felt snippets or the Divine Office, hmmm"

Dear Cruise,
Let me be the first to speak for God & answer your (rhetorical) question:
As loathsome as felt-bannering is, it is no where near as loathsome to God as pride. So, if you're saying the Divine Office with your lips and, all the while in your heart you're thinking, "Thank God I am not like those other loser-Catholics who are cutting felt"...you better get yourself to confession pretty quickly.
Kat, hang in there...glad you're back online!

Mary said...

Since taking over the DRE responsibilities 3 years ago, we have not made felt banners nor baked puffy bread with our First Communion classes. And the children do not do the readings.

I'm surprised someone hasn't asked me to leave yet.

And if I ever see maypole dancing at Mass - I will be driving to another parish! Oy!!!

Rob said...

Felt is a step up from burlap though.

Rosemary said...

In my opinion, felt is only good for making hats. But I say that hesitantly, lest someone decide to force the children to make First Communion HATS!

Hope you are soon well: if you lived nearby, I'd bring chicken soup. :)

Cruise the Groove. said...

"So, if you're saying the Divine Office with your lips and, all the while in your heart you're thinking, "Thank God I am not like those other loser-Catholics who are cutting felt"...you better get yourself to confession pretty quickly."

Therese Rite,
Where did that come from!
I merely put forth the proposition that the official prayer of the Church, which the Divine Office is,is more pleasing to God than cutting out cloth.
This statement is not a matter of pride, but of truth, in most cases.

Of course if one prays without the proper disposition, the prayer is not as fruitful or not fruitful at all, but I was only making a brief response on a weblog comment board.

I do not have all day to expound on the theological efficacy of the "Officium Divinum" over slicing matted wool.

Seraphic Spouse said...

What if the whole point of the lousy arts and crafts projects--the felt, the T-shirts--is to innoculate children AGAINST Catholicism and give it up in disgust as soon as they are old enough? Is it a way of showing them that faith is cheap, stuck together with glue and can be used to clean a car until thrown in the trash?

I am feeling unusually crankly today, so I thought I'd ask. What to Jewish kids do to prepare for bar or bat mivzahs...? Let me think. They learn Hebrew.

a consecrated virgin said...

As a DRE, sometimes reading your blog is like an examination of conscience. (I promise, I for one do all that I can to be nice to parents!)

I do have to point out that, when kept in its proper context (i.e., not turning it into a contest, not making it the core of the Sacramental prep. curriculum, etc.), making a felt banner for first Communion isn’t all that bad! It’s an age-appropriate project that the kids enjoy, and we use the banners to help keep straight who’s sitting in which pew.

Second graders are NOT going to be able to do anything like learning Gregorian chant in Latin. I’m happy when they are able to remember things like how to say the Act of Contrition!

a consecrated virgin said...

After re-reading this post, and on a more pastoral note, there are ways to do a felt banner project which are simple, don’t use noxious craft supplies, and are about as tasteful as you can realistically hope to get with felt. (In my “former life,” I was a painting major and B.F.A. candidate at an art school, so craft projects have never fazed me.)

If there are any parents reading this who want help or ideas with a felt banner project, shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to help in whatever way I can: sponsa.christi.author@gmail.com.

Cruise the Groove. said...

"Second graders are NOT going to be able to do anything like learning Gregorian chant in Latin."

A consecrated Virgin,

Actually yes they are.
I know of at least 10, 7-8 year olds who can chant various parts of the Mass in Latin [Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei]
When I was 7 my mother and our pastor taught us all how to chant the "Pange Lingua" for Benediction.
I also know 7 year olds that can chant the Office of Prime.

Many 7 year olds serve the Traditional Latin Mass and learn all the responses in Latin.

Maybe they do not know what all the words mean, but they know a good amount and it is a great way for a Catholic to get started on his prayer and devotional life.