Today’s idea is something that catechists of every grade level can take advantage of – I call it the Declaration of DEpendence. I originally came up with this idea when teaching about the Lord’s Prayer. It occurred to me that, with its seven petitions, the Our Father is clearly a prayer that expresses our complete dependence upon God. This is, of course, in stark contrast to the independence that we all strive for in our lives and the independence upon which our country was founded and continues to uphold.
At the time that I first came up with the idea, the movie National Treasure was very popular – a film about a quest to “steal” the Declaration of Independence in order to keep it from falling into the wrong hands (because of a supposed invisible treasure map on the back of the document). I purchased a replica of the Declaration of Independence (only $14.95!) to use as a visual in my classes and presentations. In the Lord’s Prayer, instead of declaring our independence from a king, we declare our dependence on a king “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”
In tonight’s Confirmation intensive, one of the mini-sessions will be on the Presentation of the Candidates. I thought this would be another opportunity to use this image of the declaration of dependence. The presentation of the candidates (and their “response” of standing up before the bishop) is a declaration on the part of the Confirmandi that they indeed wish to be confirmed and that declaration is, of course, one of embracing our baptism – the recognition of our total dependence upon God’s grace.
For tonight’s session, I took the image a step further, and actually created a Declaration of DEpendence that the young people will come forward to sign. Here are a couple of photos. Following the photos, I’ll explain how to make your own “parchment.”
Here’s how to make your own “parchment”
- Any sheet of white paper will do. The thinner the paper, the better. I used a sheet from an easel pad (27 x 34)…nice and thin.
- Roll up the paper and then slightly burn the edges (or if you don’t want to use a flame, just tear the edges). When you unroll it, you’ll have these wonderful jagged edges.
- Next, crumple the paper up very tightly into a ball and then flatten it out. Lots of nice wrinkles!
- to create the “aged” look (yellowish/brownish), pour coffee or tea over it (of course, place the paper in a large pan to collect the run-off).
- while the paper is wet, take some instant coffee and sprinkle it lightly around the document. Let it sit for a while (so it begins to dissolve) and then take a sponge or a cloth and wipe/spread it around. Mine came out a bit splotchy but then again, I was aiming for imperfection! It adds character! 🙂
- if you’re in a hurry, you can blow-dry the document. I just hung it from a clothes line (be gentle…it can easily rip when wet) and it dried very quickly.
- once it is dry, you can add your lettering
Personally, I do not know how to do calligraphy. I just mimicked the handwriting from the Declaration of Independence and it turned out pretty nicely. The fine print states, “We, the Confirmandi of Most Holy Redeemer Parish, Evergreen Park, Illinois, class of 2009, do hereby declare our complete dependence on the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with our heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen!”
As you can see, I left lots of room for the “John Hancocks!”