Sunday, November 2, 2008

All Saints Eve

For weeks the kids have been looking forward to our celebration of All Saints' Day, particularly our parish's All Saints' Party on October 31 (complete with mass in honor of the Feast Day, a "procession of saints" a hot dog dinner (Brendan was in heaven!), games, a hay ride--and a boatload of candy!) Several months ago, while I was on a silent retreat, I read a book about the lives of the children of Fatima (Blesseds Francicso and Jacinta Marto and their older cousin, Lucia dos Santos) and was convinced that it was the perfect story to focus on during October (the month of the Holy Rosary) in preparation for the Feast of All Saints.

I actually had a difficult time finding materials that I considered suitable for our kids because they tend to get scared easily. Although it is important to be honest about the stories of the Christians who have gone before us, I've found it beneficial to tell the stories of the saints in terms that the kids can relate to without too much fear associated. For example, in the movie The Day the Sun Danced there's a line where the mayor of Ourem says in this wicked voice something like "Is the oil good and hot?!" And in the book we read, "We'll fry them like fish!" We skipped that line and explained that some adults thought the children were lying about the apparitions and that they brought them to jail and threatened to let them die if they didn't tell them what the Lady had revealed to them. Our kids were actually really interested in discussing the fact that the Blessed Mother had been appearing to them was real and that the children were willing to die because they knew they were telling the truth and that they could soon be with Jesus in heaven.

Throughout October we read portions of Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco Marto: Shepherds of Fatima during our family prayer time. The kids spent a lot of time pretending to be the children, going to the Cova de Iria to pray the Rosary. They loved that Francisco would play the flute while the girls danced and also that Fransisco once gave all his money to save a poor bird that was being tortured by some village boys. They would pretend to give their lunch to the poor and offer their sufferings for poor sinners. There was also a moment during their playtime when Lucia (Clara) whipped out a cell phone and called her mom in Florida. :)

If I had been organized enough, I probably could have convinced my sister-in-law, Allison, to come up with a sheep costume for Max so that he could be part of the story, too, but it was just too convenient to whip out the old dinosaur costume from a couple of years ago. He was actually quite thrilled to be a part of the big kids' playtime, even though he had no idea what he was participating in. When we were taking pictures outside last Friday, he was actually running around in circles chasing his own tail. What could be more fun?!

I'm always amazed at the depth that children can reach in matters of faith. Once again, it was my children who taught me more than I may have taught them!

Jacinta (Eleanor), Francisco (Aidan), and Lucia (Clara)
Kneeling with their rosaries

The Children of Fatima
(As you can see, the apparition is to the left of the children) :)

Jacinta, Francisco, Lucia, and the Dinosaur
(What? You don't remember the dinosaur in the story?!)


Margaret Mary said...

Would the appearance of a dinosaur at Fatima be any more miraculous than what really happened?


Therese Z said...

LOVE the dinosaur!

allison koop said...

I actually could have pulled off a great sheep costume, but I must say I prefer the dinosaur! And everyone thinks Aidan looks like a Newsie!