Thursday, July 16, 2009

Celebrating the Year for Priests

To celebrate the Year for Priests (declared by Pope Benedict XVI, from July 19, 2009 - July 19, 2010), I thought it would be a good time to make our own little priest and vestments with which we can learn about the colors of the liturgical year. The priest wears different colored vestments for different occasions, and this looked like a fun way to display the color of the day in our home (our little priest will be kept on our family altar/prayer table, which is in the works, and which I cannot decide which of the two names to call it... opinions?). I found the idea here. I also used this one as a reference.

To make the priest's body, I bought two dowel rods from the craft store along with a wooden base. I had hubby drill a hole in the base for the thicker dowel, and then we had to figure out what to do about the arms. The arm dowel is much thinner, but drilling a hole completely through the thicker dowel didn't work - it kept splitting. So we opted instead to carve a little niche on each dowel, making a flat, smooth surface, and then using the glue gun to attach them. I don't know how long this will work, but it has held up for a few days so far!

Here is the chasuble in white. I just freehanded an oval-like shape (hence the lack of complete symmetry!) on a piece of paper and then cut it out and used it as a template. Then I used Fabri-tac to attach the gold ribbon. I kept the design simple because the glue is a pain to work with!

Well, I had planned to just make chasubles and stoles, and maybe a cincture, although tying it around a skinny dowel rod would be a little odd-looking (not that it is visible at all when the chasuble is on, but anyway)... then my brother, Seminarian Tim, told me I had to make our priest a cassock and an alb, too, and maniples in each color as well. I thought, "Hmm, why not?" Although the point of the colors is made with just the chasuble, if I was going to make stoles and a cincture, why not make all the vestments so it could also be a lesson in what the priest wears when celebrating Mass?

Okay, so the cassock's just not going to happen - sorry, Tim! The alb was challenge enough, in that I didn't even consider how I was going to get it on the little priest before I over-excitedly began sewing it. Halfway through, I realized I'd have to cut it down the back because it wouldn't fit over his head. Then I realized that little dowel rod people don't bend their arms at all, making it quite the struggle to get the sleeves of the alb over his arms! I still am not quite sure how I did it - maybe I ripped a few stitches in the process - but I got the alb on him, and it's not comin' off again! Therefore, no cassock! The cassock wouldn't have been visible at all under the alb anyway, not to mention I'm not crazy about the idea of putting 33 tiny buttons on it...

So, here he is, wearing his alb (pretend there's a cassock underneath), cincture, stole, and maniple. Caroline can easily switch out the stole, maniple, and chasubles according to color. She dressed him in white this morning for the Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

So, what more could our priest need?

A face, of course! We predicted Caroline would be distressed at his facelessness. So I drew on a very simple face, since the intent is not the person but the vestments and colors. Here he stands, completed, next to our vocations prayer card and prayer for priests, which we will say throughout this Year for Priests.

I told Caroline she could name him. She decided, after pondering it for a few hours, to name him Father Ketter, after a priest at my parents' parish. No idea why she chose him - we've been to a Mass where he was the celebrant once, maybe twice, and Tim got him to give the girls a blessing after Mass once. That must have made an impression on her. That and I think she's got some sixth sense about Catholicism and knows a good priest when she sees one! So, our apologies to Father Ketter that you now have a dowel rod named after you, but I assure you it is meant kindly!

Special thanks to Tim for explanations of each of the vestments... I learned some new things with this project!

Another thing we found (actually, I won one!) for the Year for Priests is this lapbook. We've never done a lapbook before, but it looks like a fun project! it will be neat to have something to remember the year by down the road, too.

Anyone else have a fun idea for celebrating the Year for Priests in your home? I'd love to hear it! I'd also love to hear whetehr you think it is called "The Year of the Priests" or "The Year for Priests." I have been seeing it written both ways!


mel said...

I love it, it came out great! I've seen these around for a while, but what a great year to start one!

Lacy @ Catholic Icing said...

I love this post and featured it yesterday :-)