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 a printable of the blank door, where kiddos can draw their own images of the stories of forgiveness:

Click here for the printable of the inner panel with the titles and Scripture references:
Click here for the printable of the image of "heaven" with Scripture verses about the symbolism of the door:
Looking for more activities? Click on the Year of Mercy tag below, and check back on December 8th for a complete list of everything I've compiled for this Jubilee Year.

45 comments:

  1. This looks wonderful! I recently read an article about The Holy Door and was amazed. I never knew about it and so I'm excited to teach this part of our faith to my children. I will definitely be using these printables with them. Thank you so much for all of your work in doing this. - Laura G.

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    1. Yay, I'm so glad Laura! If you see this comment, I'd love to read the article you liked so much so I can add it above. I feel like there will be more and more published in the next few days, but right now, I've had trouble finding good sources :) Thanks!

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    2. The article I read was in the Catechist magazine, November/December, 2015 issue. It is titled "Merciful Like the Father, Celebrating the Jubilee Year of Mercy". It was very informative. I'm going to re-read it since I always seem to learn something new the second time around. - Laura G.

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    3. Thanks, Laura! I saw that one too, and it was great!

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  2. You are amazing! Thank you for sharing all your lessons.��

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  3. THANK YOU!! This is wonderful! God Bless You!

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  4. Thank you thank you thank you!!!! You have such a gift!!!

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  5. I just love all your ideas and you are so kind to share them. God bless you!

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  6. Beautiful! Thank you so much!

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  7. This is wonderful ideas for kids, thank you so much! I offer a pray for you, Blessings!

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  8. Here I was wondering how I was going to engage the children in this topic and you have done it! Thank you so much for a fantastic resource.

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    1. You are welcome, and thanks for your comment!

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    2. Hello! I was having trouble downloading the Holy Door activity. When I click on the link I'm taken to another site

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    3. Hi! I'm sorry you were having trouble! I checked, and the links are all working. When you click on the last four images in the post, they should take you to a pdf stored in Google Drive. You can download it straight from there- you don't have to be a google user, etc. If you are still having trouble, email me at katherine (dot) bogner (at) gmail (dot) com.

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  9. This is amazing and thank you for sharing. I will be using with my 2nd grade CCD class!

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  10. May God Bless you and I thank you for your talent and the most precious gift of sharing. You opened a window on the web to share this wonderful resource. We will use this in our children's liturgy and Sacramental Prep. Love and Prayers from Geraldine, Norma and Loretta St Mary's Parish Edlington in Doncaster U.K.

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting! I am so glad that you found these resources and can put them to use in your program! :)

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    1. You are welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. Thank you Katie Anne

    You are a blessing!

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  13. I teach art at a K-8 Catholic school and will put this to great use--THANKS! May God bless you!

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  14. Thank you Katie Anne. The resources are awesome. I teach at a Catholic school in Cape Town. I am sharing these resources with all our teachers and children (age: 5-13). God bless.

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    1. Thanks, Karen! I'm so glad that it is a good resource for you, and I appreciate you sharing it!

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  15. I LOVE this!!

    I was wondering if you have a template where I can give one panel of the door to each of my students that would be a full size coloring page.

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    1. Hi Kate! Thanks so much! I don't have a template like that... If I could easily zoom in on each scene I would, but the quality would be too low. My students actually each made a full page of each panel on their own using these printables as inspiration. Those that wanted to created their own drawing for the story they were assigned could, but those that needed some guidance used the stick figures in the example to get started. Sorry, I don't have the post up about how that turned out, but I hope to soon! If you have any questions, you can email me at katherine (dot) bogner (at) gmail (dot) com. Happy Year of Mercy!

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  16. Thank you so much for the great ideas you are sharing, I hope to put some of them into action in our Children's Liturgy group and in the parish. Diolch yn fawr, Dduw bendithia chi.

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    1. That's so great! I'm glad that it is a good resource for you! Thanks for stopping by!

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  17. Thank you very much for providing this. I will use it with my 4th grade class.

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  18. Great activity! I did it with my 3rd graders using chalk pastels and it was beautiful and memorable - thanks so much! I blogged about it here: http://zoomtimes.blogspot.com/2016/02/3rd-grade-religious-ed-corporal-works.html

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    1. How cool Wendy! I love how the pastels turned out- what a great idea! Thanks for linking back and commenting!

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  19. Dear Katie, I jumped into your radiant blog- your creativy and ideas trasmit JOY- thank you1 I'm a ducht/italian teacher living near Venice. I have a blog about the Mercy Year http://millefinestrelle.wix.com/giubileo (knock on the door to enter!) I would love to use your idea about the holy door / making one with my kids at school. If I write your name and blog can I use your ideas? Translate some file? Warm Greetings for Italy

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    1. Astrid, I know I already commented on the other post, but I seriously love how you used this resource. Many blessings! :)

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  20. Can I ask your permission to use it for my kid and show to his school. Many thanks! I've learned as well...

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    1. Of course! That is exactly what this is here for!

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