Catholic Activity: Pentecost Wheel
Construct this Pentecost wheel to remind children of the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives. After constructing the wheel, begin using this seven days before Pentecost, discussing a gift of the Holy Spirit each night.
To help us rediscover Pentecost in our families, to lift it from the "forgotten feast" category, a husband and wife in Illinois have designed a Pentecost Wheel along the lines of the Advent Wreath. The wife, Mrs. Lois Marrone, explains what it signifies and how to make it:
From plywood, my husband cut a twelve-inch circle, drilled seven candle holes around the outside, and painted it white. To stand in the center of the circle, he made a tall, handsome Chi-Rho (symbol for Christ) out of brass. Radiating from the Chi-Rho to the seven candle holes, like spokes in a wheel, we lettered in red enamel the three theological virtues and the four cardinal virtues, pairing each one up with a corresponding (more or less) gift of the Holy Ghost. Around the outside edge of the circle we added twelve of the fruits of the Holy Ghost (freely chosen and translated) for good measure. The candles, of course, were red.
Practical hints on making the wheel: The accompanying diagram shows the lettering, which can also be done with a red Magic Marker pen. The central Chi-Rho obviously need not be brass; I imagine that wood, cardboard or the kind of heavy tinfoil used to hold TV dinners would do as well. For that matter, the symbol wouldn't have to stand up, but could be lettered in as on the diagram. Husbands: you really needn't fuss over getting the candle holes mathematically spaced around the circle; remember that one of the graces apparently given to mothers by the sacrament of Matrimony is the ability to cut a pie into seven equal-appearing slices without thinking twice about it, and let your wife eye them in. Wives with unhandy husbands: you could make the wreath with a circle of heavy cardboard set on top of dimestore candleholders.
The finished "wheel" made an eye-catching Pentecost decoration but, more than that, it turned out to be a Capsule Theology Course for all of us. As one way of using it, we suggest setting it up a week before Pentecost. The symbolism of the Chi-Rho in the center should first of all be explained to the children: that Christ is the Source and Center of the new life in which we share through Baptism. The seven virtues, given to us at Baptism, can be thought of as powers or energies, which enable us to live God's life and grow supernaturally. The seven gifts, made manifest in us through the power of the Holy Spirit Who confirms (makes firm) our life in Christ, are freely given both to strengthen our exercise of the virtues and to make them fruitful in our lives.
On each of the seven days preceding Pentecost, one candle is lighted, and the meaning and relationship of the virtue and gift it symbolizes discussed by the family. On Pentecost all seven candles are lighted and, hopefully, each member of the family will have grown in understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Activity Source: Family Liturgical Customs No. 4: Easter by Ethel Marbach, Abbey Press Publishing Division, St. Meinrad, Indiana, 1964