In my 40 Ideas for 40 Days of Lent calendar, Monday, March 14 is an activity titled “What’s with the Pretzels?” which goes into the meaning of the pretzel as a traditional lenten food. I received an email from a 6th grade catechist named Marie who had quite a bit to say about the topic. Thanks, Marie! Enjoy!
Joe, I’ve been on your mail list for about three months and have enjoyed the information and viewpoints. Thank you for the 40 Ideas for the 40 Days of Lent. I especially appreciate the idea for March 14th – What’s with the pretzel?
The schedule for our catechism classes at our parish here in Cedarburg, WI, ends during Lent just before Easter. Last year, for the last day of class I wanted to do something special to remind my 6th students of the motto I have tried to reinforce with them all year as we learned about The Church and Jesus Christ… That it is the little things that they do that can make all the difference in the world. Even they are big enough to do small things repetitively that can impact others in a big way. They can be like Jesus, one step at a time. Start small, build up the frequency, build up the comfort, then slowly one will find oneself doing bigger and bigger things more and more often.
Anyway, I found’several websites regarding the history of the pretzel and put together the attached word document page that can be cut into 1/2 sheets. I then made from scratch some large bread style pretzels for the last day of class and handed them out with the 1/2 sheets as a final treat and reminder of their call to spread the word, “a little bit (or bite) at a time”!!
Interesting to note that the pretzel recipe I used boils the pretzels in a pot of water before baking them. When I explained to the children how I made them, I used the analogy of mixing the dough and letting it rise on it’s own, – (we are responsible to change ourselves) but then it must still be formed by someone and left to rise again, – (we are taught our faith and left to do something about it) but it is not until it is “baptized” in the pot of water that the dough becomes bigger (our baptism joins us in faith with the Church – making the Church bigger) but even then they still need to be baked (catechized) and changed into the final product. (but we still need to go through catechism to learn more and change into the final product at Confirmation) I often wonder if they look at pretzels the same way ever again?!I hope not.
I also liked the 40 days of crosses Lenten calendar idea. This also works perfectly in line with the little bit at a time concept for them. A book I just finished reading is “One Simple Act” by Debbie Macomber. I highly suggest it, along with her other book, “God’s Guest List”.She describes real life simple ways to bring God into all the simple acts of life we do each day and spread His word. One of her suggestions – as a writer – is to keep a daily journal of prayers, intercessions, and good deeds. She says one will be’surprised when they look back at the past year how much God really did work in their lives in the long run. So, this Lenten cross calendar is a good start to get that point across to the kids. Thanks again for the tips, ideas, and suggestions.
Marie Fahrendorf, St. Francis Borgia Parish