Monday, August 18, 2014

Happy The Home- Family Shrines- Immaculate Conception

"Only by praying together with their children can a father and mother- exercising their royal priesthood- penetrate the innermost depths of their children's hearts and leave an impression that the future events in their lives will not be able to efface."  
~St. John Paul II

In this post last week, I wrote about using the idea of traveling shrines to encourage family prayer.  I made the example shrine dedicated to St. Maximilian Kolbe, who is the patron Saint of my classroom.  You could use this idea with any Saint, including our Blessed Mother.  This Marian Shrine will be making the rounds with my Immaculate Conception CCD families, honoring Mary as the patron of our parish.

Here is the list of basics that I would include in any traveling shrine:
1. A simple introduction note, explaining the shrine, giving ideas for use, and a date for its return.
Update: click here for an editable version of the note that you can adapt for your program.
2. An icon, framed picture, or small statue of the Saint. It would be a nice idea to have your priest bless the item before sending it to the homes.
3. A prayer notebook for the families to record their intentions and thanksgivings.
4. Books for both the kids and the adults about the life of the Saint.
5. Holy cards (or something similar) for each family to be able to keep after their time with the shrine.  Bonus points if the card includes a prayer asking for the Saint's intercession.
6. Simple activities that the families could choose to do about the Saint:
-coloring pages or activity sheets
-an easy craft with supplies included
-a list of recommended websites with more information
-a movie about the Saint or music CD that would encourage prayer
7. A bag to carry it all in.  Make sure that the bag is labeled with where it should be returned (ex. a tag tied on that reads "St. Joseph School 5th Grade").  I would also recommend a card or paper that lists the original contents of the bag so that parents can pack everything up before sending it back.

For our Marian Shrine, I am including this beautiful statue of Mary. 
She spent some time on my kitchen table this summer :)
I am also including in this shrine a pretty little cloth for Mary to stand on.  This happens to be a trimmed handkerchief, but you could send a placement, small runner, or doily along with the statue.  In your introduction note, you can explain the cloth and how it sets apart a special place for the shrine, whether on the family dinner table, shelf or other location.
While still breakable, I chose a statue made of pretty sturdy stuff.   I'd like her to last, so she will be traveling in this appropriately sized box wrapped in tissue paper.

I had this pretty little box left over from something else...
...and it became the perfect place to store these Immaculate Conception holy cards that each family will get to keep as a reminder after they send back the shrine.
I am also including this sweet, sweet book called Just Like Mary by Rosemarie Gortler.  I liked how it didn't need to be read cover to cover, but told individual stories and prayers connecting the life of Mary to things a child also goes through, like trusting God, loving others, listening to God, etc.
Just like in my last post, I am including a notebook for the families' intentions and thanksgivings.  I started with a cheap and simple notebook:
Wrote a note similar to this one inside the front cover: (see the text here)
Labeled all of the pages with Thanksgivings and Prayer Requests:
And added a cute cover:

Finally, I decorated a basic canvas bag with acrylic paint:

And loaded it all up!  I still need to add a book for adults, a CD with Marian music, and some simple coloring pages and activity sheets before I send this home with the first family next month.  I am excited to see how it goes!

Have you tried a traveling family Marian shrine with your parish or school?  I'd love to hear how it worked!

Also, if you are looking more ideas on teaching kids about Mary, check out:
Marian Typology Cards
Hail Mary Prayer Cards

Mary Garden Plant Labels 
Mary and Discipleship 
Mary Fact Flipbooks
My Soul Magnifies the Lord Theme
Pop Up Notebook Marian Shrine 
Pop Up Marian Shrine in a Lapbook
Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue
Marian Paper Dolls
Mary as the Moon coloring page


  1. Katie! Your classroom looks lovely! I want to save all of these pictures as a possible inspiration for my possible children and possible homeschooling.... the possibilities are interested!

  2. I love this idea! We are going to use it for our CCE classes this year. Thank you for such a beautiful and prayerful idea honoring Mary!

    1. I'm so glad that it is an idea you will be able to use in your program!

  3. We use the Pilgrim Queen of the Family as a traveling shrine for our First Communion Group. Books about Our Lady of Guadalupe, Br. Francis video, note book to share with other families and on occasion coloring pages of Marian Feast are in the bag.
    Thanks for all you ideas! Deb

    1. Love the idea of doing it for a Sacrament year!