Throughout the faith formation year, I devote part of my lessons to introducing the children to the Blessed Mother. Whenever I teach about Mary, my goal is for the children to know that:
- Mary is our mother;
- Mary is our best model of faith; and
- Mary said yes to God, and we can say yes to God too.
My lessons on Mary are based on the liturgical year. I begin in October, which is dedicated to the Holy Rosary, and end in May, which is the month honoring Mary. During Advent and Christmas, Mary figures prominently in Scripture. At other times in the year, I introduce the appearances of Mary as time permits.
Children can relate to having a loving mother. I want the children to know that Mary is our loving mother in heaven, whom we can call on for help. We pray the Hail Mary at the end of every class to remind the children that we can ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to pray for our needs. When retelling the Passion of Christ, I emphasize Mary’s faithfulness at the foot of the Cross and how Jesus told the Beloved Disciple to take Mary into his house as his mother.
In one of our first classes, we look at each line of the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary. As the children sit around me in our story area, I read the story of the Annunciation. We focus on the details of the story. Next, we review each part of the Hail Mary. When we get to, “Blessed art thou among women \ and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus,” I also read the story of the Visitation. This is the perfect time for me to introduce the Rosary to the children. They color a page that shows them how to pray the Rosary, and they make a one-decade rosary from pipe cleaners and pony beads.
During this lesson, I explain that Mary is our best example of a faithful disciple, because she said yes to being the mother of Jesus—the most important yes anyone had ever said. Mary teaches us about accepting God’s will and trusting God even when we are not sure.
In Advent, we read again the story of the Annunciation. This year, one of the children responded, “That was the most important yes any person ever said.” I was thrilled to find that he had taken to heart what I had taught earlier about Mary. Since Mary figures so prominently throughout Advent and Christmas, I again remind the children that Mary is our mother too, Mary is our best model of faith, and Mary said yes to God.
Several times during the year I give the children holy cards or sacramentals like saint medals to encourage their faith. In November I tell the story of Mary’s appearance to St. Catherine Labouré. I give each child a small Miraculous Medal. The Miraculous Medal Shrine in Paris has an excellent one-page children’s pamphlet explaining the devotion. The children get excited about these physical reminders of our faith.
Our faith formation year comes to a close in May with a prayer service and May Crowning. This is another chance to remind the children about the importance of Mary in our Catholic faith. If your parish does not have a May Crowning, you could easily have one in your classroom. The May Crowning is a beautiful way to end the year.
How do you introduce the Blessed Mother to the children in your classroom?