Week 4: St. Patrick & the Christian Church
Read K – 3: Saint Patrick by Ann Tompert
At the heart of any community in the Middle Ages was the Christian church. It held great economic, religious, and political power over the people. It also greatly influenced the decisions of a community. The following were key members/objects/aspects of the Christian community of the Middle Ages:
- Monks: Monks were men who lived lives of prayer. They lived in monasteries where no man had personal belongings, but shared everything with the other monks of the community. They could not marry. Monasteries often became centers of great wealth because of the donations of the rich who wanted the monks to pray for them. They were also centers of great learning. Very few people living during the Middle Ages could read and write. However, monks spent much of their time reading and making copies of the Bible and other great literary works. They would make copies by hand and decorate them with beautiful illustrations. Schools were often set up in monasteries so their knowledge could be passed on to others. Nevertheless, many monasteries were secluded from daily Feudal life.
- Friars: Friars were religious men who lived among the people. They depended on the charity of others for their basic needs and did not own property. They traveled from town to town, preaching the gospel, helping the community, and taking care of the sick.
- Nuns: Nuns were religious women who devoted their lives to God. They lived as a community in buildings called convents. In addition to prayer, nuns spent time teaching and sewing. Although they were somewhat secluded from village life, they sought to be a help to villagers who were sick or in need.
- Priests: Priests were men in charge of a local church in a community. The church was considered by many to be the most important building in a village. A priest’s responsibilities included baptizing infants, burying the dead, organizing celebrations on Holy Days, organizing religious plays, and conducting mass or church services. Most church services were done in Latin, which few people could understand.
- Bishops: Bishops were men in charge of a larger geographical area containing many churches. They had great influence over the Lords, Ladies, and Kings in their community. A bishop would make a circuit each year, visiting the local churches in his geographical area.
- Archbishops: Archbishops were men responsible for overseeing the work of several bishops. They also had great influence over the Lords, Ladies, and Kings in their communities. During the Middle Ages, enormous cathedrals were built for the Glory of God. Archbishops and Bishops performed church services in these magnificent structures. The wealth of the church was very evident in these structures, especially in comparison to the simple homes of the peasants living around them.
- The Pope: The Pope was the man considered to be the head of the Christian church. He selected and oversaw the work of bishops and archbishops. He coronated Kings and other political leaders. In general, most of the Popes served from the city of Rome. Popes of the Middle Ages played a major role in the Crusades, a series of Christian “Holy Wars” fought during this time.
- Religious Relics: Relics were religious objects during the Middle Ages. They could be such things as the bones of a saint, a fragment of Jesus’s cross, the material in which Jesus was buried, etc. They were highly valued and kept in special areas of a church. People often traveled great distances and paid to see them, increasing the wealth of the church that housed them. Many people believed by seeing or touching a relic they could have an illness cured, win a battle, see a miracle, receive Spiritual healing, or even forgiveness of sins.
- Pilgrimages: People of the Middle Ages would go on great pilgrimages or travel great distances to see or touch important relics. They also often traveled to Jerusalem, Israel, or “The Holy Land” to receive Spiritual healing or forgiveness of sins. The Medieval Church taught that a man who wasn’t a saint must go to Purgatory and pay for his sins after he died. A trip to Jerusalem was a way for a man to help pay for his sins and shorten his time in Purgatory.
- What was Patrick’s real name? (Succat)
- What happened to Patrick when he was 16? (captured by Irish Pirates and sold into slavery)
- As a slave, Patrick began to remember the teachings of the church. What did he do about 100 times a day? (pray)
- After he had been a slave for 6 years, Patrick heard a voice one night. What did the voice say and what did he do? (the voice said “You will soon go to your own country,” and “Your ship is ready.” Patrick escaped from his master. He traveled at night and hid by day.)
- After Patrick’s ship landed in Britain, he and his shipmates got lost in the woods and ran out of food. How did God provide for Patrick and his companions? (herd of pigs; finally found a village)
- Did Patrick find his family again? (yes)
- Why did Patrick decide to travel back to Ireland? (to preach the gospel to the people of Ireland)
- What did Patrick do first to prepare for the mission? (studied God’s word and became a deacon, then a priest, and eventually a bishop.)
- Describe Patrick’s ministry in Ireland? ( baptized thousands of people; preached to all who would listen)
- What other troubles did Patrick face in Ireland? (threatened & imprisoned; missed family)
- On what day did St. Patrick die? (March 17th; Saint Patrick’s Day)
Questions for Grades 4 – 8:
- What group of Christian men spent much of their time making copies of the Bible? (monks)
- What group of Christian men spent much of their time traveling from place to place, preaching the gospel? (Friars)
- What group of Christian women lived in convents and devoted their live to God? (nuns)
- What group of Christian men were in charge of local churches? (priests)
- Bishops and Archbishops often said mass in magnificent large churches called …. (cathedrals)
- Who was considered to be the religious and political leader of the Christian church during the Middle Ages? (the Pope)
- What were relics? (bones of a saint, a piece of Jesus’s cross, or other religious items that were said to have powers to heal and perform miracles)
- T/F The Christian church of the Middle ages was wealthy compared to the common people. (True)
- Why did people of the Middle ages go on Pilgrimages? (to see religious relics, to travel to the Holy Land, to receive physical or spiritual healing)
Activities K – 2: Online coloring page: http://www.oncoloring.com/a-bishop-a-nun-and-a-monk-or-a-friar-members-of-the-clergy-coloring-page_1331.html
3 – 5: Fold a piece of paper in half. Then fold it again. Then again. Open up your piece of paper. It should be divided evenly into 8 sections. Do the following for each of the 8 sections:
• Section 1: Write the word “Monk”. Draw a picture of a man with a Bible and a feather pen.
• Section 2: Write the word “Friar”. Draw a picture of a man with a walking stick. Create a cartoon bubble to show that he is speaking. Write the words “Come to Christ” in the bubble.
• Section 3: Write the word “Nun.” Draw a picture of a woman in long robes.
• Section 4: Write the word “Priest.” Draw a picture of a man in front of a small church.
• Section 5: Write the word “Bishop.” Draw a picture of a man in front of many small churches.
• Section 6: Write the word “Archbishop.” Draw a picture of a man in front of a large cathedral. Give him a fancy hat with a cross on it.
• Section 7: Write the word “Pope”. Draw a picture of a man wearing a fancy hat with a cross on it and fancy robes. Next to him draw a picture of a king.
• Section 8: Write the word “Relics”. Draw a picture of a bone, a piece of Jesus’ cross, and a piece of material.
• On the back of your paper, write the words “Pilgrimage” in big letters. Then, draw a picture of a road. Draw people traveling on the road to go on a pilgrimage.
6 – 8: Pretend you must choose to be a member of the clergy. Any position is available to you whether you are male or female. What job would you prefer? (Monk, Friar, Nun, Priest, Bishop, Archbishop, Pope) Why? Write an essay discussing your views.
Copyright July 4th, 2014 by Gwen Fredette