Lent and Easter
in the Domestic Church

Craft: Shrines and Stations

Peter Fournier and Catherine Fournier

Page 68 in "Lent and Easter in the Domestic Church"

Children love collecting stuff. Little boys collect rocks and sticks and small metal cars, bent nails, pieces of paper, and the occasional insect. Little girls collect doll parts, costume jewelry, pretty rocks (these are sometimes indistinguishable from little boy rocks), plastic hair barrettes, and coloring pictures.

Lent and Easter in the Domestic Church

"Lent and Easter in the Domestic Church"
at the
Catholic Company store.

If given the opportunity, girls and boys love collecting cards too. And if given the opportunity, they will collect holy cards, Mass cards, and saints' cards as avidly as any other type. Since these kinds of cards and portraits foster their spiritual development and give healthy imagery to their imaginations, why not encourage collecting them?

One way to encourage enjoyment and appreciation of holy cards is to provide craft ideas using holy cards. Some families put them into photo albums with stories of the lives of the saints and prayers. Others buy or make simple frames to hang the holy cards in the children's rooms. Here's another craft idea: making small shrines.

Depending on the image on the cards these shrines can be used for Stations of the Cross, small shrines for a name saint, in a prayer corner, or at the family altar. For the family Stations of the Cross, use the images found in the following "Coloring Pictures" section. Pictures drawn by child or parent could replace holy cards if the subject you want is not available.

Popsicle-Stick Shrines



Working on a flat surface, lay two Popsicle sticks at an angle to each other, with the tips just touching. These are the beginning pieces of the roof.

Arrange them so that the roof slope is neither too wide nor too steep to fit your holy card. Test this by laying two Popsicle sticks in place as side walls. Check that your shrine will be tall enough to fit the picture.

When you are satisfied with the arrangement, glue the two roof pieces together. Allow the glue to dry. Brace it with pieces of plasticine, if necessary, to keep the roof pieces at the correct angle. You can also use a clothespin as a clamp to hold the pieces while the glue dries.

Next, glue two side wall pieces onto the roof pieces, laying and gluing a floor piece under the two side wall pieces at the same time, as shown in the first illustration on page 69. Allow the glue to dry.

Make another layer of two roof pieces, two side wall pieces, and a floor piece. This time glue all five pieces at the same time. Allow the glue to dry. Repeat this layering another three or four times, depending on how deep you want your shrine or station to be.

When the shrine is deep enough, glue on a back wall, with Popsicle sticks laid horizontally across the back (illustration above right). You will have to trim the pieces in the peak of the roof. (Children above the age of eight can safely use a small hacksaw, or an adult can cut the pieces with a sharp kitchen knife.)

Turn the shrine over, front face up. Using four small segments of Popsicle sticks, add another two layers of floor, so that the floor extends a bit to the front, as shown in the illustration at right.

Glue your picture, holy card, or station into the shrine, and set it aside to dry.

Catholic gift shops, religious goods stores, and your parish priest are possible sources of holy cards. There are also mail order companies supplying holy cards and other devotionals to families. Try a web search for them, or, if you know the company name, call 1-800-555-1212 for their toll-free number.