Create a personalized banner as a keepsake
Creating banners in anticipation of First Holy Communion celebrations have become popular projects through the years. Mix it up this year by creating personalized banners using the students’ handprints as the focal point of the banner. The handprints and students’ handwriting will create unique banners that will make the perfect decorations for your church to display during Mass, as well as keepsakes for the families after the big day is over.
■ White cardstock or felt
■ Washable paint (beige, brown, black, white, yellow, red)
■ Plate for paint mixing
■ Glitter glue pens (optional) — or use markers for less of a mess
1. Have students use combinations of beige, brown, black, and white to create a skin-tone color. Once they have the color they want, students will need to paint the palms and fingers of both of their hands. This might be easiest to do as a partner activity. Or have a small group work with you so you can help paint hands and press them flat onto the paper. This might control the mess a little better. They will place their painted hands on the paper one at a time so that the palms are overlapping and the fingers are pointing up. This should look like their hands when they are receiving Communion.
2. After the paint has dried, have students paint a white circle in the middle of their handprints. This will represent the host. Optionally, they can use the yellow paint to add a cross on top of the white circle. Depending on the type of paint used and how thick it is, you may need to let these dry in between colors so they don’t blend together.
3. Once the paint is dry, have students write “I am receiving Jesus” across the top in pencil. At the bottom, students will write their name and the year or the specific date of their First Holy Communion. Once the writing is complete, have students use glitter glue pens (or markers) to carefully trace over the letters they made in pencil. Allow this to dry completely.
4. Use the ribbon to create a hanging loop for the banner so it can be displayed. If you are using card stock, you could punch holes along the top and tie the ribbon. Alternately, you could tape the ribbon to the back of the banner. If you are using felt, you could glue the ribbon to the back. Note: For students who do not receive Communion on the hand, they can adjust the placement of the hands so it makes more of a heart shape. That way their tiny handprints are still represented in the banner, but it represents their heart more than their hands. You can also outline the hands with red paint in the shape of a heart.
Let us pray
As our First Holy Communion approaches, Jesus, help our minds and bodies prepare to receive you fully. Thank you for the sacrament of the Eucharist, the true source and summit of Christian life. Amen.
SARA JONCKHEERE, MA, is an elementary-school teacher turned work-at-home mom. Creating digital curriculum and resources, she shares teaching ideas at SaraJCreations.com.
PHOTOS: SARA JONCKHEERE
This article was originally published in Catechist, November-December, 2019.