Saturday, December 5, 2015
The Holy Door
In just a few days, Pope Francis will officially start the Jubilee of Mercy by opening the Holy Door. This Extraordinary Jubilee is specifically the Year of Mercy, but actually every Jubilee Year focuses on forgiveness. One of the best visuals for the story of God's salvation and forgiveness is the Holy Door in the Vatican. This door (and others around the world) will be open for this entire (Liturgical) year and is an invitation for pilgrims to walk through as an outward sign of the inward choice of turning back to God and accepting his forgiveness.
I'm no expert, so make sure to check out these articles:
Resources about Holy Doors from the Archdiocese of Chicago
CDOP Article on the Holy Doors in the Peoria area
Wikipedia on the Holy Door
Pope Francis' letter on the indulgences associated with the Holy Door
The Holy Door in the Vatican has sixteen panels with sixteen Bible stories of forgiveness and mercy. Using the images as inspiration (see the actual door here), I created a simplified version (aka, stick figures): (All links to printables are at the very bottom of the post)
Want to teach about the Holy Door? Here are several ideas that could be adapted based on the age of the kids and time frame you are working with:
1. Print the door and use as a coloring page. Talk with the kids about the stories that are represented and the theme of mercy and forgiveness.
2. Print the door and the Bible reference pages. Cut open the door and panels (lots of possibilities below) to reveal the story behind each picture.
3. Using the door and references, do a Bible Study at the kids' level. Read the passages and discuss how mercy can be found in each story. Using the blank paneled door, let the kids create their own images of each story.
4. Do any of the above activities, and add the last layer, with Scripture verses helping us picture heaven. The verses remind us that Christ is the door (Jn. 10:7), the righteous enter through the Lord's gate (Ps. 118:20), we come to the Father through Christ (Jn. 14:6), the veil was torn and we can enter into the sanctuary (Mt. 27:51), and that Christ knocks at the door of our hearts (Rev. 3:20).
5. Using the real door as a model, have each student make their own illustration of the Biblical stories on a 9x12" piece of construction paper. Attach the panels to a door so that the students can walk through their own door of mercy.
6. Using the Biblical examples, have the students journal during prayer time ways God has shown them mercy and forgiveness.
7. Using the theme "Merciful Like the Father," brainstorm with the students ways we can extend mercy and forgiveness to others.
Ready to print and get to work? Scroll down to download the Holy Door Activities.
Need some visuals? Keep reading! :)
I printed the door on tan cardstock and then colored the borders a darker brown. I went a little crazy and used a gold paint pen to add the bolts that are visible on the actual door.
You could stop there, and just talk about the scenes of mercy evident on each panel. OR you can continue with the activity and make the doors open!
A little hint to cut open the doors:
Fold the page horizontally and clip the middle. Then unfold, stick the scissors in, and then cut up to the top of the door and over. Repeat with the bottom half.
After you cut open the doors, you can glue it to the "heaven" page, emphasizing crossing the threshold from an old life to a new one.
To finish this one, just run a line of glue along the edge of the heaven page and then place the door over top of it.
Then if you want, you can also cut horizontally so the little panels of the door will open:
Another option is to add a middle layer that gives a name and Scripture reference for the story on each panel:
You can cut those panels just like the actual door:
And layer on top of the heaven page:
To complete the three layer door:
And if you want to get very bold and detailed, you can use a xacto knife and cut three sides of each panel.
And glue on top of an (uncut) Bible passage page:
Then each panel can be opened to reveal the story:
And the door can be stapled to the heaven page to create a door that opens:
I'm sure there are more possibilities! I'd love to hear how you use these! :)
Click here for the printable of the Holy Door complete with images in the panels:
Click here for the printable of the inner panel with the titles and Scripture references: