The liturgical calendar, or church year, is a calendar used predominately by the Catholic Church to mark religious feasts and saints days. Movable feasts change date in accordance with Easter, other celebrations, like Christmas, occur on the same date annually. Both Christian and Catholic schools often celebrate events on the liturgical calendar. Activities to celebrate feasts and saints days should be both edifying and fun for children.
Making a Liturgical Circle
A liturgical circle or a circular liturgical calendar is a way to introduce children to the concept of a liturgical year. Help children to make their own calendar using a paper plate or a circle cut from construction paper or use a circle cut from poster board to make a larger calendar that can be displayed on a classroom wall or bulletin board. The liturgical circle or calendar is like a pie graph that cuts the circle into religious seasons. Help students to divide the circles into seasons, label the sections and color them. While assembling the calendar discuss the color used to symbolize the religious season and its significance.
Host a celebration on a feast day. This is an excellent opportunity to have students prepare a presentation, or a craft to share and to invite students' families to join you in the classroom. Prepare a feast with food appropriate to the saint that you are celebrating. Read the story for the saint, and host an open discussion of the saint's life work and the reason for the celebration. Light candles and pray. There are often prayers included with a saint story that is particularly fitting for the occasion. This is best used on special occasions, to celebrate well known saints, or saint which is of a particular local importance.
In his book "School Year, Church Year: Activities and Decoration for the Classroom," Peter Mazar suggests using a bulletin board to celebrate saints' days for saints that are less well known. Children can read the saint story as part of their reading class and complete a simple craft activity that coordinates with the saint story. A copy of the saint story and their project can then be used to decorate the bulletin board until the next liturgical event.
Help students build their own Nativity scene during the Christmas season, and a image of Calvary during Easter festivities. Use a cardboard box as the basis for a liturgical diorama. Children can shape images to go inside the box from clay, paper, cardboard, ice cream sticks and other craft supplies. The importance of the project is to help students focus on the "reason for the season" by becoming involved in the celebration in a very hands-on way.