I first taught religion on Saturday mornings at St. Lucy’s, a mission church. My “classroom” was the kitchen. The room was equipped with folding chairs, a small chalkboard, and a phone, but nothing conducive to focusing young minds on the faith. If you teach in a situation like this you might consider assembling a portable prayer corner, like I did.
Why a prayer corner?
- A prayer corner marks the room a sacred space where the Christian message is shared.
- Religious images can leave an indelible mark on students’ minds and perhaps touch their hearts in a way that our words do not.
- The prayer corner can be used to teach rituals and reverence for the holy.
- Gathering at the prayer corner for prayer provides variety in the lesson, and unites them.
- It will remind the students (and you!) That prayer is a necessary part of faith formation.
What to use
First, you need a good base, such as a tray table or a sturdy box. You could use this box to carry the other items. Drape material over this base. Use liturgical colors that go with the seasons of the Church year, for example, violet for Advent and white for Easter. To create a more personalized cover decorate the material with your students’ handprints or their names, using fabric paint or permanent markers.
The essential objects
Unless the room already has a crucifix, stand one on the prayer table or set one upright in a mound of clay. Keep a Bible open on a bookstand propped up. Near the Bible, set a candle, which symbolizes Christ, the light. In May and October, set a statue or picture of Mary.
Other items on the prayer table can vary according to the lesson or the season. Remember less is more. Avoid clutter to keep your corner inspiring and pleasing to the eye.
Other items may include:
- Statues, icons, or other pictures of saints and angels
- Fresh flowers or potted plant
- A prayer book and a rosary
- Holy water
- Seasonal symbols such as an Advent wreath or palm branches
More great ideas
Keep a small box of slips of paper at the prayer corner so that students can write prayers and intentions. A prayer corner is easy to make and keeps the focus on why you gather—to learn about the faith and deepen our relationship with God.
Adapted with permission from Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND.
This article was originally published in RTJ’s creative catechist September 2013.
Photo: FatCamera, istock