Monday, November 7, 2011

First Friday

St. Martin of Tours

Last Friday our local group of Catholic homeschoolers gathered together for First Friday. The morning started with an 8:15 am Mass, followed by a quick "breakfast"/snack. Then off we went into our monthly activity - the life of St. Martin of Tours, whose feast day we celebrate next Friday, November 11th.

First we started off with a quick life story of St. Martin, including two legends. Martin was born in the Netherlands/Yugoslavia regions, the son of a Roman officer. As a child the family moved to northern Italy where Martin was exposed to the Christian faith. He was immediately attracted to the faith but took no further steps in joining the church. At the age of 15 he was required to serve as a soldier in the Roman army. As a young man he had an experience that led to his being baptized. Martin was riding his horse toward a city gate on a cold and snowy winter day. At the gate he saw a beggar, and having nothing to give him, Martin used his sword to cut his cloak in two, sharing one half with the beggar. That night he dreamed of Jesus, wearing the one half of the cloak, surrounded by angels. Many other stories and traditions surround the feast day of St. Martin.

As I told the brief story of St. Martin, I had the kids act out his actions with the beggar. One child was a horse who carried "St. Martin" (actually this paper doll that I made a construction paper cloak for). Another was his sword and one was the beggar. When the horse/doll/sword met the beggar, the "sword" tore the cloak in two. The story was fun, though the once you mention acting like a horse, the kids tend to get a little crazy.

We then moved on to creating a paper bag lantern to use on his actual feast day for a traditional lantern walk. Supplies needed (for one lantern): paper bag with handles, scissors, ruler, tape, tracing paper or parchment paper, coloring page printed to size, permanent marker, colored pencils, battery-operated tea light.


Cut out square from bag (we did 4"W x 5"H). Trace coloring page design on parchment paper with marker. Color in with pencils. Tape to bag (we taped inside and outside). Place tea light inside and enjoy.


Our coloring page resources: St. Martin, goose, St. Martin stained glass, cloak/sword.

Alternatives:
  • Forget the coloring pages and just cut out simple shapes from the bag. Put in wax paper or not to create a different glow.
  • Check out these lanterns from Under Her Starry Mantle.
  • Punch out tin can lanterns and attach handle.
We wrapped up our time learning a simple lantern song to sing on our walk:

My Lantern! My Lantern!

My lantern! My lantern!
Sun and moon and stars.
Put out all your lights. Put out all your lights.
That my lantern may truly shine bright.

Check out an audio version here (scroll down), as well as additional lantern songs. At home, we are also learning "I Go Outside with My Lantern" (found on previous link) and a "St. Martin" lantern song.

We are definitely looking forward to this Friday evening!

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