Theme: Explore the Sacrament of the Eucharist
Virtue: Gratitude (an attitude of thankfulness; showing appreciation)
Light a candle. Ask the kids to tell you what they see on the prayer table and talk about some of the items.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, help us to have hearts of gratitude for you and to believe that you are truly and really present in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Amen.
Bible Verse of the Day:
Show the Bible Verse poster and watch the Bible Verse video.
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever.” John 6:51
Theme Intro: What is the Eucharist
Point to the Sacrament of the Eucharist Poster.
Today, we are learning about the sacrament of the Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion.
Who can tell me what the Eucharist is? It is the Body and Blood of Jesus.
Where do we receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist? When we celebrate the Mass.
Does anyone know what the word Eucharist means? Thanksgiving.
The word Eucharist means thanksgiving. At Mass, we gather together to thank God for his many gifts and blessings. It is important that we have an attitude of gratitude for the great gift of the Eucharist.
Who has already received their First Eucharist/ First Communion? (show of hands)
For those of you that have not yet received your First Holy Communion, Jesus is still very close to you. He loves you very much and looks forward to the great day when you will get to receive Him fully in the Eucharist. You have something really exciting to look forward to.
(Opt.) Share with the kids about what the Eucharist means to you. You can tell them about your own First Communion, what you love about going to Mass or a story of a Eucharistic miracle.
Teaching: The Miracle of Bread and Wine
- Small table with a white tablecloth
- Two candles
- Chalice, paten and unconsecrated host
- (Opt.) Corporal, purificator, crucifix, holy water, etc.
What’s the greatest gift we receive at Mass? Jesus in the Eucharist.
Who can tell me what actually happens to the bread and the wine at consecration? The bread and wine become the REAL Body and Blood of Christ.
Does anyone know what we call this amazing change? Clue: It’s a really big word that begins with the letter T.
It is called transubstantiation. Can you guys say that? (Trans-sub-stan-she-a-shun) It’s a big word that means change of substance. It means that even though the bread and wine still looks the same on the outside, it really becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus on the inside. It’s an incredible miracle that happens at every Mass.
Why is the Eucharist so important in our lives? It feeds our soul, helps us get to Heaven, helps us get closer to Jesus, it strengthens us to live as better Christians, it unites us as Catholics, etc.
We are going to set up a little altar with some of the things that the priest uses at Mass. Lay the tablecloth on the table and set the candles on each side. Add the paten, host and chalice.
The first thing we need to do is light the candles. Light the candles on either side of the altar. Candles remind us that Jesus is the light of the world.
Who can tell me what this little plate is called? Paten. The paten is the plate that holds the large host that becomes the Body of Christ.
Hold up the host. This is a host. It has not been blessed yet, so it is still just a piece of bread.
When the priest consecrates the host, it becomes the Body of Christ.
Does anyone know what this special cup is called? Chalice.
The chalice is the cup which holds the wine that becomes the Blood of Christ. It is very special and is usually made with gold or precious medals. If you have other items for the altar, you can explain them to the kids here.
We should always celebrate the sacrament of the Eucharist with a spirit of prayer, love and thankfulness for the great gift that God has given us.
Go Deeper with Older Kids
What are some ways we can better prepare ourselves for Mass? Spend time in prayer, go to Confession, get dressed in our Sunday best, try to get to Mass early, fast one hour before Mass, etc.
Why is it a good idea not to eat or drink anything one hour before Mass? We fast from all food (including gum, candy and drinks) one hour before Mass, so that we have more of an appetite for Jesus; hungering for the Bread of Life.
What are some ways we can enter more fully into the Mass?
- Sit in one of the front pews with your family.
- Try not to let your mind wander like a monkey who jumps from tree to tree.
- Join in the singing and prayers with all your heart.
- Listen carefully to the Word of God to hear what God wants to say to you.
- Volunteer as an altar server or help to bring up the gifts of the bread and the wine.
What are some prayers we can say in our heart before receiving Jesus in the Eucharist?
Jesus, prepare my heart to receive you. Jesus, I love you, My Lord and My God!
A priest once said: “We should receive the Eucharist as if it was our very first time, our last time and our only time.”
Because of the respect and love we have for Jesus in the Eucharist, we ask that only Catholic Christians (who truly believe in the Real Presence) receive Communion. Those who do not receive Communion, for whatever reason, may come forward for a blessing. They should place their right hand on their heart to indicate their desire to have a blessing. We should receive the Bread of Life worthily, in faith, hope and love and not just out of routine or habit. To receive Holy Communion, one must be in the state of grace, free of having committed a mortal sin.
What should we do at Mass, after receiving the Eucharist?
We should spend some time praying to God, adoring Him, thanking Him, loving Him, and asking for His help.
The Holy Eucharist is also called The Blessed Sacrament. Where is The Blessed Sacrament kept in the church? In a special gold box called a tabernacle.
Jesus is really and truly present in every Catholic church in the world. Isn’t that cool? He is also here in our church, too. Jesus wants us to visit Him as often as we can.
Choose any two of the following activities:
Visiting Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament
Ask your parish priest to expose Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament for the children.
Jesus wants to be our best friend and he loves it when we spend time with him. One way we can do this is by taking a few minutes to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, and we can visit him in any church anywhere in the world.
The first thing we are going to do when we enter the church is bless ourselves with the Holy Water.
Next, we are going to walk over to the tabernacle.
Does anyone know what a tabernacle is? The special box where Jesus is present in the Eucharist.
If the Eucharist is exposed in a monstrance, you can ask the kids if they know what a monstrance is.
Can anyone see the Sanctuary Lamp? Why is it always beside the tabernacle?
When the red light is on it means that the Eucharist (the real presence of Jesus) is inside.
We are all going to gather and kneel (genuflect) on the floor in front of the Blessed Sacrament. It’s important that we remain very quiet and peaceful and talk to Jesus in our hearts.
Everyone close your eyes and listen to Jesus. You can whisper a prayer and say: “Jesus, I love you”.
Jesus loves it when we tell him what’s going on in our heart and how our day is going. You can thank him for something that you’re grateful for, and tell tell him about your favorite part of VBS.
We will spend a couple minutes of silence before going back to our faith station.
Bible Story: The Last Supper
7 minutes - MATTHEW 26:17-30
- Pita bread wrapped in cloth
- Grape juice in a cup
- Tablecloth and candles
- Small table and a chair
- Bowl of water and towel
Lay the tablecloth on the table. Put candles on the table and light them. Place the bread and the cup of grape juice beside the candles. Turn off some of the lights in the room.
Jesus and his disciples were preparing for the Passover, which was a very important Jewish feast. The disciples asked Jesus where he wanted them to prepare the Passover meal. Jesus told them to go into the city where they would find a room waiting for them.
The disciples arrived at the special room and began to prepare for their supper with Jesus. Jesus came and joined the apostles. Before they started eating, Jesus began to wash their feet.
Invite a child to come and sit down on the chair and take off one shoe. Dip one foot in the water and wipe it dry with the towel.
The disciples were amazed! Only servants washed people’s feet. They were wondering why Jesus was washing their feet, and Jesus said that it was because He wanted to show them how we are all called to serve one another. The child can return to his seat.
After Jesus had washed all of the disciples’ feet, they sat down to have their supper together.
If Jesus came to eat a meal with you and your family, what would you talk to Him about?
When they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, and broke it. Grab a slice of the pita bread, and rip it in half. Pass the two pieces around the room and let each child rip a small piece.
Jesus gave the bread to His disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”
Then Jesus took the chalice, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them saying, “Take and drink, all of you, for this is my blood which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Leader take a drink. Tell the kids you won’t pass around the cup to everyone, but that they’ll get grape juice in the snack station.
That was the last meal Jesus got to have with his friends before he died, and it was where he gave them the gift of the Eucharist. Blow out the candles and turn the lights back on.
Why did Jesus wash his disciples’ feet? He wanted to show us that we are called to serve each other.
What happens to the bread and wine at Mass? It becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus.
Why do we need Jesus in the Eucharist? He gives us strength, He prepares us for heaven, etc.
Who remembers receiving Jesus for the first time in Holy Communion? Can you tell us about it?
- Large gift bags
- Mass Items (bells, candle, paten, chalice, crusifix, cruets, Bible, altar serving robe, stole, etc.)
- Place an item in each bag.
- If I call your name, come up to the front and choose a bag.
- Close your eyes and reach your hand inside the bag. Keep your eyes closed and touch the item.
- Try guessing what it is and then take it out of the bag for everyone to see.
Have kids take turns guessing the items in the bags.
With younger kids, simply take the item out of the bag and pass it around as “show n’ tell”.
- Thank you Posters (1 set/group)
- Markers and tape
- Poster board (1/group)
- Print the Thank You Posters
- Get into groups and choose a picture to color.
- Write your names on the pictures and tape them to the poster board.
Talk to the craft leader before choosing this activity as this is also an optional idea in the craft guide.
Find a time to present the posters to your parish priest during VBS week or at Mass on Sunday.
We are going to listen to a short story from Papa about his journey of faith when he was young.
Play Audio Drama Clip
Sarah: Uncle Jer, did you always have Jesus in your heart?
Papa: (quite surprised) Oh my, Sarah. That’s an interesting question. It’s kind of a long story.
Hannah: Story? Can we hear it, Papa? Can we? Can we?
Josh: Papa, we love your stories!
Papa: Hmm... I have to think about this one.
Jesse: Hey, Josh quit hogging all the marshmallows!
Josh: Oh, sorry, Jesse, but they’re so good.
Papa: Now, let’s see if I can remember. Well, ever since I was a little boy, my mother and father would…
Hannah: (interrupts) that’s grandma and grandpa!
Papa: Right. Well, every Sunday, they would take all seven of us to church.
Jesse: Your parents had seven kids? Wow!
Papa: (chuckles) That’s right, Jesse. Seven awesome kids. My three sisters sang in the choir (Alleluia, Alleluia) and my brothers and I were altar boys, just like you Josh. Our priest was so cool. Sometimes, after mass, he’d give us bubble gum and candies and tell us funny jokes.
Josh & Jesse: That’s cool. Wow!
Papa: And, I was always the one who would ask the priest lots of questions. There was one time, when I was about 8 or maybe 9 years old and I asked him,
Young Papa: “Father Paul, will I get to go to heaven? “
Father Paul: “Well, Jeremy, hmm… just keep loving God with your whole heart. And try to think of others before yourself. Continue coming to Mass as often as you can, to receive the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus, in Holy Communion, this way you will get closer to Jesus and further away from sin. Do you understand all that?
Young Papa: Yes, Father.
Father Paul: Good for you, Jeremy. Then, of course, you can look forward to eternal life in heaven.
Papa: So, Father Paul helped me to realize how important it was for me to go to church, even when I didn’t feel like it, and to read my Bible, to take the time to pray the rosary, and to try my best to be more like Jesus.
How many kids were in Papa’s family? Seven kids.
What was the name of the priest? Father Paul.
What did Fr. Paul give the kids after Mass? Bubble gum and candies.
What are some important things Father Paul shared about how we can get closer to Jesus? Keep loving God with your whole heart, think of others before yourself, continue coming to Mass as often as you can, read the Bible and pray the rosary.
Ages: 4-6 year olds
Father Ben Gets Ready for Mass
This is a great book for the younger kids to help them understand what happens at Mass, and how they can be a part of it. It’s a fun, interactive journey as the kids follow along with Fr. Ben as he prepares to celebrate the incredible sacrament of the Eucharist.
This book can also be suggested to the snack leader to read as the kids are eating their snack.
VBS Saint of the Day
I’d like to share with you a story about our VBS Saint of the Day who had a great love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. His name was St. Martin de Porres.
Read the saint story and ask the following questions:
Where was St. Martin born? Lima, Peru.
How old was he when he joined the Dominicans? 15 years old.
Why is he often pictured with a broom? Because he considered all work to be holy, no matter how small the job was.
Give each child a saint card as a special VBS take home item. Encourage the children to read the story on the back of their saint card with a parent.
Jesus, thank you for giving us the gift of the Eucharist. We are so grateful for your never-ending presence in our lives. Help us to love you more and more each day. Amen.