Pekin teacher, blogger designs liturgical season coloring book for free download

Katie Bogner, a fifth grade teacher at St. Joseph School in Pekin, has designed a Coloring Book of the Signs and Symbols of the Liturgical Seasons. The Advent and Christmas drawings were colored by Olivia Draher and Addison Goessman.

PEKIN — With Advent comes the beginning of a new church year, and Katie Bogner has given families a new way to walk through it together.

A fifth grade teacher at St. Joseph School, Bogner has designed a Coloring Book of the Signs and Symbols of the Liturgical Seasons. The book, as well as ideas for Advent, New (Liturgical) Year Resolutions, and more, can be found at looktohimandberadiant.blogspot.com and are available as a free download.

“I just love the liturgical year and I think it’s one of the most beautiful things we have as Catholics. What better way to help (children) get to know Jesus than to have them walk through his life, step by step, with him?” — Katie Bogner

“I just love the liturgical year and I think it’s one of the most beautiful things we have as Catholics,” Bogner told The Catholic Post.

“It’s a great thing to be able to pass on to our kids because you get to relive the life of Christ each time you go through the liturgical year,” she said. “What better way to help them get to know Jesus than to have them walk through his life, step by step, with him?”

Each page in the coloring book covers a different liturgical season and includes words, figures and symbols specific to it. For example, the Christmas page (at right) includes:

  • The Christ Candle, which matches the candles in the Advent wreath;
  • The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and a symbol for their flight into Egypt;
  • The Three Kings and the gifts they brought to the Christ Child;
  • A jewel, which represents the gifts we bring to Jesus;
  • Christmas lights, which aren’t a liturgical symbol but call to mind how Jesus is the Light of the World;
  • A lamb to remind us that Jesus is the Lamb of God; and
  • Holly berries, with red symbolizing the sacrifice of Jesus. The green leaves are pointy like the crown of thorns he will wear. “He was born so he could die and save us from our sins,” Bogner said.

HELP FOR VISUAL LEARNERS

She developed the coloring book as a tool that would get her class talking as they worked. This is an especially effective resource for children who are visual learners.

“Considering that most kids are in front of screens all the time, it’s hard for them to learn through just discussion or through just reading a story,” Bogner explained. “We can talk about it, but they’re not necessarily going to remember it as well as if they have this coloring page in front of them while we’re talking about it.”

the-liturgical-year-coloring-book-1Bogner said she took a page from the church, which taught people about the faith through stained glass windows, statues, pictures and murals before books were widely available. Not only could people revel in the beauty of what they saw, but each viewing offered the possibility discovering new symbols and growing deeper in faith.

“We can continue to use simple pictures and symbols to do the same thing as we’re catechizing kids,” she said.

The coloring book could be used with children of varying ages, although it would probably be most effective for those in kindergarten through fifth grade, according to Bogner.

With a very young child, an Advent conversation might start by looking at symbols like the Advent wreath or empty manager, or pointing to Mary, who is going to have a baby. The discussion with Bogner’s fifth-graders went much deeper as they explored the symbolism of purple and rose as the colors for the candles in the Advent wreath and the Jesse Tree’s connection to the genealogy of Jesus.

Use of Scripture is key as parents or teachers use the coloring pages, she said. One verse could be enough for some little ones, while others might be able to handle the whole biblical account.

“I think getting the child into Scripture is the best thing that you could do,” Bogner said. “Picking even just one thing and reading a small chunk of Scripture and then talking about it and praying it with them would be the best thing you could do.”

USE AGAIN AND AGAIN

Advent, Christmas and Lent were fairly easy to put together because they are seasons rich in symbolism. Ordinary Time presented a few more challenges, Bogner said, because it is so big and there are so many things that could be included.

“We celebrate the saints during Ordinary Time. We are missionaries during Ordinary Time. We focus on discipleship,” she said. “There are the Feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We pray. That one was a little harder to be specific with.”

This is the first year Bogner has put all the pages together in one book. Last year she gave the students one page at a time.

“This is something we’ll use for the rest of the school year and keep coming back to it,” she said. “I’m a big fan of projects where the kids see the big scope of everything. Then they’ll take the whole thing home.”

The coloring book isn’t specific to any one lectionary cycle. Many of basic themes remain the same, Bogner said.

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