Help! Giving church tour to teens!


#1

I’ve been asked to give a tour of our church to the high school confirmation class.

Has anyone done that? Suggestions on what to cover?

Here are some of my ideas:

Our Church Specifics:

  • When it was built
  • physical changes made after Vatican II
  • Various disasters that damaged the church
  • Remodels

Entering a church:

  • Genuflecting, why we do it
  • No hats, why.
  • No gum, why.

Holy Oils:

  • Oil of Chrism
  • Oil of the sick
  • Oil of catechumens

Baptismal Font:

  • why it’s at the front door

Tabernacle:

  • Jesus’ presence
  • The significance of the lit candle

Paintings of the saints on the ceiling, Stained Glass Windows, Statues:

  • Inspiration, we not to worship saints
  • Differences with protestant churches

Stations of the Cross:

  • Origins (Jerusalem Pilgrimages)

Altar Area Furniture:

  • Altar - contains relic of a saint
  • Ambo
  • Lectionary
  • Presider’s Chair

Confessionals

Sacristy

Thurible and incense boat

Any other ideas?


#2

I would make the following additions, deletions, and order changes:

-]Our Church Specifics:

  • When it was built
  • physical changes made after Vatican II
  • Various disasters that damaged the church
  • Remodels/-]

The Nave:
Paintings of the saints on the ceiling, Stained Glass Windows, Statues:

  • Inspiration, -]we not to worship saints/-]
    -]- Differences with protestant churches/-]

Stations of the Cross:

  • Origins (Jerusalem Pilgrimages)

Entering a church:

  • Genuflecting, why we do it
  • No hats, why.
  • No gum, why.
  • Holy water font

The Sanctuary:

  • Altar - contains relic of a saint
  • Ambo
  • Lectionary
  • Presider’s Chair
    Thurible and incense boat
    Aspergillum and aspersoria

Sacristy -
Sacred Vessels including ciborium, chalice, paten, pall, etc, and how these are placed on the altar.

Sacred vestments - alb, chasuble, stole, etc

The Sacraments:

Holy Oils:

  • Ambry
  • Oil of Chrism
  • Oil of the sick
  • Oil of catechumens

Baptismal Font:
-]- why it’s at the front door/-] it’s not at the front door in every church

Tabernacle:

  • Jesus’ presence
  • The significance of the lit candle
  • Monstrance

Confessionals


#3

[quote="1ke, post:2, topic:304232"]
I would make the following additions, deletions, and order changes:

-]Our Church Specifics:
- When it was built
- physical changes made after Vatican II
- Various disasters that damaged the church
- Remodels/-]

The Nave:
Paintings of the saints on the ceiling, Stained Glass Windows, Statues:
- Inspiration, -]we not to worship saints/-]
-]- Differences with protestant churches/-]

Stations of the Cross:
- Origins (Jerusalem Pilgrimages)

Entering a church:
- Genuflecting, why we do it
- No hats, why.
- No gum, why.
- Holy water font

The Sanctuary:
- Altar - contains relic of a saint
- Ambo
- Lectionary
- Presider's Chair
Thurible and incense boat
Aspergillum and aspersoria

Sacristy -
Sacred Vessels including ciborium, chalice, paten, pall, etc, and how these are placed on the altar.

Sacred vestments - alb, chasuble, stole, etc

The Sacraments:

Holy Oils:
- Ambry
- Oil of Chrism
- Oil of the sick
- Oil of catechumens

Baptismal Font:
-]- why it's at the front door/-] it's not at the front door in every church

Tabernacle:
- Jesus' presence
- The significance of the lit candle
- Monstrance

Confessionals

[/quote]

1ke's adjustments make it exactly what we did on our walk of the church for RCIA. :thumbsup:

I would only add that if you have a specific painting or statue or other artwork (Triptych ?) that was specifically commissioned for your parish that you might mention the story behind it. We have a couple of tapestries that were hand made by a parishioner and our stations of the cross were hand-carved out of brick by a local artist. Those things are neat little factoids. :)


#4

It might also be fun to learn up on the symbolism in the artwork in your church. That is, if there is any artwork. This of course varies from building to building.


#5

I'd follow 1ke's suggestions.


#6

I've have always found it useful to focus on the mystery within a Church as well.

For example, how we have stained glass windows instead of normal windows. How the nave leads into the sanctuary (a lot of older floors have a slight incline leading to the sanctuary). The separation of the nave as "earth" and sanctuary as "heaven".

The reminder that all these things have a two-fold purpose: practical and spiritual.

Stained Glass for example. Practical purpose: Artwork and teaching tool. Spiritual purpose: Creates an "atmosphere"; we're not just entering any other building.

Incense is another example. Practice purpose: Provide a pleasing smell (to a possibly stinky congregation ;)). Spiritual Purpose: (1) Our Prayer rising to God, (2) The pleasant scent of Christ, and, I believe, (3) a blessing similar to holy water [since the incense is blessed before being burnt]


#7

I would make this explanation. Even though it is not at the front door of every church, the fact that it is in this church has symbolic significance.

Otherwise a very good list of changes.


#8

[quote="1ke, post:2, topic:304232"]
I would make the following additions, deletions, and order changes:

....

Entering a church:
- Genuflecting, why we do it
- No hats, why.
- No gum, why.
- Holy water font

....

[/quote]

Strictly speaking, isn't "no hats" only for men? I know most women choose to not cover their heads at all, and that it is not a requirement, but it might be an opportunity to mention a devotion that used to be widespread (and that some young people may have questions about but never knew who to ask)?


#9

Thank you all for the suggestions. I'll definitely make some adjustments.

Yes, not all fonts are at the entrance of all churches. My understanding is that the current preferred location by the Church is, when/where possible, near the entrance.

Yes, the "no hat" rule was/is primarily males. Years ago, it was very common for females to cover their heads. That said, I'd find a baseball cap no more appropriate on a female as a male.

This tour will be a mix information about our specific church and also things universally found in other Catholic churches.

Any other suggestions? I don't want to make the tour too short . . . :-)


#10

I don’t know where the tabernacle is in your church, but you could say how the custom of having it so near the main altar came about from the Franciscans, because their first churches were so small. It isn’t a rule, and we certainly don’t offer Mass to the tabernacle as some seem to think.
In some parishes, the tabernacle is in a separate chapel, - you could explain Perpetual Adoration at that point, perhaps.


#11

Excellent list. Here are a few more suggestions.

explain crucifix, bells (all the different types & traditional purpose), votive candles

traditional meaning of gestures - besides genuflecting (before & after Mass) – standing, sitting, kneeling, bowing before the altar & before receiving the Eucharist

The collection baskets, and how to volunteer to help

while in sacristy – sacred books & other books (Book of the Gospels, Lectionary, Missal, Book of Blessings, Liturgy of the Hours, etc.

Also the linens – and how they are washed and by whom, and how to volunteer

Sacrarium

Show them where the Church Environment committee prepares the flowers, keeps the cleaning supplies, etc. and explain that the church is cleaned by volunteers every Saturday morning.

Point out wish list (“We’re praying for a wealthy person who could fix this / donate that some day…”). Acknowledge individuals or parish groups (Knights of Columbus, etc.) which have recently fixed or donated something (pews, new sacred vessels or linens, etc.)

Do not show them the safe : )


#12

[quote="FutureSaint, post:9, topic:304232"]

Any other suggestions? I don't want to make the tour too short . . . :-)

[/quote]

This will take you much longer to do than you think. This is already over an hour.


#13

Tha tlooks like a good list to me. Good luck.
:):):)


#14

Thanks to all for the advice. We had the tour on Sunday. It went fairly well. The only question I couldn’t answer was where the attic-like door in the sacristy ceiling went!

A few of the young teenagers, being teenagers, did a little chatting when they should have been paying closer attention, but the director of the confirmation program said that the group acted interested.

Thanks!


closed #15

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.