Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Last Supper, Revisited

Last Sunday, children in the Good Shepherd and True Vine Atria saw the Cenacle Presentation. Today I am re-posting a description of the work, that appeared in the blog last Lent. I hope you enjoy it!

Recently children in the Good Shepherd and True Vine Atria saw the Cenacle (or Last Supper) Presentation. The Cenacle is a Latin name for the Upper Room, where the Last Supper took place. This is one of my favorite works in the atrium and one that the children return to again and again. With this work, we read a scriptural account of Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples (which is actually a compilation of several accounts), pausing to move the figures accordingly.

The highlight of the reading is this moment when Jesus is gathered around the table celebrating the Passover with his friends. We hear anew the words he said over the bread and wine--words that hadn't been said before. "Take, this is my body." and "This is my blood which is poured out for many."

In the presentation, the catechist narrates the time after Jesus and the disciples go to the Mount of Olives, including Jesus' death and resurrection. She hangs a cross behind the table, and lights the candles to remember those two moments.

And suddenly the children are presented with another tableau - one that is very familiar to them! Several times, I have had the pleasure of hearing children suck in their breath as they recognize the altar. I've also heard children call out "The Church!!" As catechists, we leave this lovely connection for the children to discover. Whenever it comes, I've found that this work enables the children to make a profound connection between the way Jesus loved his disciples and his desire to be with them always, and the way that Jesus loves us and expresses his love in the bread and wine that we are blessed to receive each week.

My daughter working with the Cenacle many years ago!
Every Lent we hold a Last Supper Celebration with the children. This is a wonderful gathering which draws upon the children's experience of the Cenacle material. I'll be sure to post about it when it comes along.

We will be holding our Last Supper Celebration for 2012 this Sunday, March 18th for the children in all three atria! For a description of this special day read the Last Supper Celebration.

Two wonderful blogging friends of mine, Sheila at Explore and Express, and Storyteller at Wonderful in an Easter kind of Way are collecting links with ideas for preparing for Easter. I am listing this post in their Lenten Link-Up Party. Click here to see all of the great posts they have collected!  


  1. It's great to see this post again. I love the faces you've created for your figures! Do you associate each one with a particular disciple, or did you just make twelve different figures? (I notice that there's more than one who doesn't have a beard...)

    And another question - do children who've had this lesson the previous year call out "The Church!" earlier than you'd like? Maybe not to show off to the younger children, necessarily, but just to demonstrate to you that they remember, for example. If so, do you feel that that "ruins" it for the other children?

    1. Hi Storyteller! It's so nice to hear from you! :) I'm glad you like the figures. I didn't base them on particular disciples. I tried to represent different looks, and, to be honest several of them are quite feminine! It's my understanding that women and children would have attended the Passover meal along with the men.
      As far as the children blurting out answers before other children have the chance to think the question through, that does sometimes happen. As with the “who are the sheep” question, I sometimes feel that even when children hear the answer it doesn’t become real for them, and they still sometimes discover it for themselves later. We give the presentation for new children on their own when we have the time and catechists, because it can be special that first time they hear it. Thanks for asking!

  2. Leslie, The original version of this post is what inspired me to start making more of my own material and figures for Godly Play. I also love reading more about how you present this lesson! It is interesting to hear that from your understanding that women and children also would have attended the Passover meal. Do you mean the Passover meal in general or also the Last Supper Passover meal? Inquiring minds want to know . . . : )

    1. Hi Sheila, It's my understanding that because Passover was celebrated with the whole family, children and women were likely present. They weren't mentioned but it seems possible that some of Jesus' female followers would have been there on that special night. Thanks for the compliments on the disciples. I'm so glad they inspired you to do you own work! Is always so nice to hear from you! :)


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