Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Holy Ascension

The 40 day Paschal celebration will come to a close this next Thursday, May 17th, with the feast of the Holy Ascension. This feast marks Christ's ascent into heaven after the 40 days he spent with the disciples demonstrating his Resurrection.

Readings: Luke 24:36-53 and Acts of the Apostles 1:1-12

For the Little Ones: There are two fun Western customs associated with Ascension Thursday. The first is that it is common to eat some sort of bird on this day since Christ "flew" into heaven. I think I'll stick with chicken or a Cornish hen...but you may be more bold if you wish. Maybe some Peking Duck? Anyhow, I digress. It is also a popular custom to take a hike up hills or Mountains on Ascension Day to commemorate Christ and the Disciples climbing up Mt. Olives. The Swedes have a tradition of getting up very early in the morning and going to a forest glen to hear birds singing at sunrise. Dependent on when the sun rises in your city, you might want to try some variation of this. Maybe start a morning hike at sunrise and end on top of a hill with a picnic breakfast.

In the Catholic Church, there is recorded an English custom of a processional involving a banner bearing a lion at the head and a dragon at the rear to symbolize Christ's triumph in his ascension over the evil one. So, the project for Ascension Day is to make a Banner of Triumph. Here are two links for paper plate lion and dragon crafts. You can draw the faces and let your toddlers color them in before attaching them to a banner. Then, at the end of the day before extinguishing the Paschal candle, make a processional around the house during prayer time singing the hymn "Christ is Risen from the dead" one last time. Then, hang the banner on the wall until Pentecost (remove the Christ is Risen banner) and extinguish the Paschal candle together before bedtime.

No comments: