All 452 kids (or so) in attendance yesterday came down to visit our convent chapel. Originally we were slated for the visit last Tuesday when the Lord sent snow. We celebrated Marde Gras with a very short trip down the street just a few doors to our chapel.
We moved the “pews”, chairs at present, out of the chapel to make room for people. Our little chapel held the classes nicely when the children all stood. We started with an explanation of a few things there, depending on the age of the child. There was room to kneel for a prayer at the end and then off they kids went back to school.
Two things in our beautiful little chapel provided superb pedagogical fodder – the crucifix and the tabernacle. The crucifix – here it is.
Jesus here is under the title of “Jesus Christ the Kingly High Priest”. The kids got the Christ the King almost immediately every time. It took some prodding about the stole under the chasuble for them to come up with the priest part of the title, but they all got there. I am drawn to the image for two particular reasons. 1) Jesus is strong here. His arms are not sagging under the weight of sin, he is a strong Savior. 2) As the Kingly High Priest, He reminds me of the multitude of graces that come to us through the priesthood and the Church. Not only Baptism, and Confirmation, though those flood gates release many graces, but also the Eucharist, Penance, Scripture, and consistent prayer sustain and immerse us in His goodness. Wow, it is good to write this as I am reminded again.
The Tabernacle – The pelican and her chicks are on the front of the tabernacle. The symbolism behind the pelican is that in times of famine when there is nothing to feed her chicks, the mother pelican will use her sharp beak to wound herself and nourish her chicks on her own blood. Not a class in our school took any time at all to connect the pelican to Jesus and His gift of His Body and Blood for us.
After all the children had been through the convent, the white tile floor didn’t look so good. One seventh grade boy noticed that there were a couple of mud puddles on the floor. He asked if he could clean them up. A young MAN noticed….I hope I’m not being too stereotypical, but usually it is the girls who come up with details first. He had the goodness to say something. I think he appreciated the beauty of the chapel and wanted to leave the place in good shape. He was joined by three other fellows who asked if they could mop up a few puddles. They got all the wet spots off and did a very fine job of getting off all the worst. They also did a very fine job of reinforcing the fact that humanity is good. Kids are good. They want things to be beautiful and in order and some of them have the kindness and courage to ask if they can help restore order. God be praised, and may those young men have a particularly blessed Lenten Season. I am very proud of them.