“Wailing Wall” Activity

This great idea came to me from a catechist by the name of Connie…thanks Connie!

Wailing WallHi Joe,
Thanks for the Lenten calendar–I’m always looking for something new! Here’s something I did last night with my sixth graders, who are studying the Old Testament.

We made our own Wailing Wall–which we will use throughout Lent. Before class, I drew outlines of the bricks/stones in black marker on a piece of butcher paper. When the kids came in, I had the paper set up on a table with newspapers, pie tins full of paint, and paintbrushes. They didn’t know what was up, but they were curious! I let them write their names in each “brick” and then they each painted their brick.

When we talked about the Wailing Wall and the Temple in Jerusalem, in relation to what they’ve been studying– Joseph…Moses…David…Solomon–and helped them understand why the Temple was considered so holy by God’s people, and by Jesus, too. I showed them pictures of Pope Benedict praying at the Western Wall in ’09, and one of our catechists talked about her experiences there.
We broke into small groups, where each group created part of a prayer service. (I gave the teachers lots of background material to help with this.) Then we came together before our (almost dry) Wailing Wall for our Lenten prayer service–which the kids wrote. (Our class won’t meet again until Lent is underway, so I wanted to get them started.)

Next time we’ll have them add their prayer intentions (on little pieces of paper) to the wall. With their names on the wall, we’ll talk about how their names are written in the palm of God’s hand, too.
We’ll keep the wall up throughout Lent as a reminder of one of the pillars of Lent–prayer. After Easter, we’ll glue flowers to it to symbolize new life in the Resurrection. So in a way, the kids “created” the entire lesson (with lots of prep by their catechist of course.) But they did seem to connect with it. We’ll see how it goes over the next six weeks!

Thanks again, Joe, for all of your wonderful help for catechists!

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.


  1. Joe – Connie –

    do you have a simple outline for a prayer service – one that can be done in less than 40 minutes?


  2. Hi,
    The prayer service that my kids and I did was something they created on their own. We broke into groups and each group came up with a part of the service. One group did the opening, another chose a Scripture reading and wrote prayer intentions. A third group wrote the closing. I gave them copies of the Missal, and of course the Bible, to get ideas for prayers and scripture readings. They used their textbooks, too, just to get some ideas. This was for a sixth grade level–they really responded to the idea that THEY were the ones creating the prayer service. I don’t know if that helps you very much.

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