Independence Day: Revisiting How to Create a Declaration of DEpendence

As we celebrate Independence Day, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit an idea from a lesson I taught several years ago about the Lord’s Prayer as our Declaration of DEpendence. Through the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, we express our dependence on what God provides for us: his name, kingdom, will, daily bread, forgiveness, direction, and deliverance. Have a wonderful and blessed holiday!


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).
  • 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 up the paper very tightly into a ball and then flatten it out for 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.
  • 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 [parish name], [city], [state], class of 2024, 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” and had the young people come forward to sign it prayerfully to conclude the lesson.
  • Here is my parchment next to a replica of the Declaration of Independence.


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

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