Catholic Activity: Fish Mobile
Mary Reed Newland discusses the fish symbol as central to Lent, and encourages parents to find ways of explaining its historical significance to their children. She suggests that children make a fish mobile to hang in a prominent place so that they will be continually reminded of its meaning.
Since fish is much in the scheme of things during Lent, let us make the most of this symbol that reminds us that we are Christians by virtue of our rebirth in the waters of Baptism. The story of how the fish became a symbol of the Christian is good conversation at a Lenten dinner table.
During the time of persecution in the early Church, Christians had to be very circumspect about attending Mass. They always celebrated Mass at a meal (just as our family eats together each night). Their way of indicating where the Mass would be held was to scratch a fish on the door or wall of that particular house. If a pagan happened to notice the fish, he would think it was merely the work of small boys writing on buildings as small boys have always done. But the fish said something else to the Christians. Icthus, the Greek word for fish, contained in order the initial letters for the phrase Jesus Christ Son of God Saviour. Thus, ever since, the fish has been a symbol of Christ, of the baptized Christians who take their life from Him, of the Apostles (who were also fishers of men) and of a host of related ideas.
Some families make a mobile from which hangs a fish for each member. A wire coat hanger unwound and twisted into an interesting shape, or two slender sticks from a discarded bamboo screen, crossed and fastened, provide the support for the mobile from which the fishes are hung by strings. Colored paper cut-outs make the fishes. A variety of designs might be used and each one decorated individually for the different members of the family.
Activity Source: Homemade Christians by Mary Reed Newland, George A. Pflaum, Dayton, Ohio, 1964