Today is Pope Benedict’s last day and since we have been following the news coverage and will continue to do so throughout the conclave, it seemed like a very good time to talk more with the girls about the pope and our Catholic faith. I wanted to share our activities with our Catholic friends since there will continue to be quite a bit of pope talk over the next few weeks.
On This Rock
Our Peter craft worked perfect with this. While the girls were coloring Peter and the church, we talked about Peter being a friend of Jesus and that after Jesus went to heaven Peter led our church with the help of friends. This is why Peter was the first pope. You can find the directions and template for the craft here.
Paper Bishop Miter or “Pope Hat”
I used the directions from Catholic Missionary Family found here to fold our own “pope hats.” After making them out of white paper, the girls decorated them with crayons and fun foam crosses. They were very excited when we saw a picture of the Pope and cardinals all wearing them.
A Little Research
To help the girls understand a little better we looked at pictures of Pope Benedict and the Holy See through the Vatican website. We also found Rome on our globe and looked through our book The Vatican, Secrets and Treasurers of the Holy City by Fr. Michael Collins (a Christmas gift from my awesome sister Maggie). And of course we looked at our Pope John Paul II paperdolls–who wouldn’t break those out? 🙂 (Thank you Jennifer!)
A Thank You Card
As a family we wrote a thank you card to Pope Benedict to thank him for all that he did as our Holy Father. The girls decorated the front and then helped to write the message which we all signed before mailing it. Where to send mail to the Pope? Oddly enough he hasn’t sent me a change of address notice so I used the Vatican address. Here’s his address:
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI PP.
00120 Via del Pellegrino
Citta del Vaticano
Our Conclave Cave
To talk about how they will choose the next pope, I was going to make a cave with blankets for us to sit in together. I know that they don’t meet in a cave, despite the way conclave sounds. (The word actually means “with a key” and refers to the cardinals being locked in until they voted in a pope.) We were a little tired though so just put up our castle tent and we called it a cave. When the girls saw pictures of St. Peters Basilica they decide that’s where we were. We talked about how the cardinals do special voting to pick the pope (to remind us what voting is we did a few practice votes about things we like) and then how the cardinals are unable to leave the Vatican until they have picked someone, which we will know by the color of the smoke.