Do your kids know about the Trinity? Holy Trinity Sunday is a good time to brush up on this central mystery of the faith…and to celebrate, too. Here are a few ideas and resources.
The Trinity is the “central mystery of the Christian faith,” yet most kids are a little fuzzy on the details. You can begin to remedy that by marking the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity with your kids. Here are some ways to celebrate the day, plus some talking points to get you started.
A Trinity Quiz for Older Kids
Do your older kids and teens know the answers to these questions about the Trinity? You’ll find succinct answers to all of these questions in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
- What is the central mystery of the Christian faith? (#44)
- What does it mean for us to believe in one God in whom there are three persons? (#48)
- Do the three persons of the Trinity do different work? (#49)
- What event in the Gospels showed forth the Trinity? (#110)
- How do those who live in heaven experience the Trinity? (#209)
And here’s a simple diagram that might be helpful:
Symbols of the Trinity for Younger Children
Explaining the Trinity to kids can be hard when we as adults have such a hard time grasping the concept.
If you have younger children, make or find a traditional symbol of the Trinity and place it on your home prayer table. Traditional symbols include trefoil (the shamrock), the pansy, or the Trinitaria, a delicately perfumed white flower with three petals. Or make a triangle surrounded by rays, with an eye looking out from the center. As you make your symbol of the Trinity, talk about the unity of the three persons in one God.
The Sign of the Cross: A Profoundly Trinitarian Prayer
This week is a good time to teach kids as young as two and three years old to say the sign of the cross. Let them attempt to imitate you as you slowly make the motions. You can explain to kids four and up some of the meaning of what they are doing. If you’re a bit rusty on the sign of the cross, you can get a refresher in how to make it reverently here:
Can you name the 21 things we do when we make the sign of the cross? Stephen Beale can, and does, in 21 Things We Do When We Make the Sign of the Cross. Go to his article for reflections on each of these items; here is the short version:
- Open ourselves to grace
- Sanctify the day
- Commit the whole self to Christ
- Recall the Incarnation
- Remember the Passion of the Lord
- Affirm the Trinity
- Focus our prayer on God
- Affirm the procession of the Son and the Spirit
- Confess the faith
- Invoke the power of God’s name
- Crucify ourselves with Christ
- Ask for support in our suffering
- Reaffirm our baptism
- Reverse the curse
- Mark ourselves for Christ
- Remake ourselves in Christ’s image
- Soldier on for Christ
- Ward off the devil
- Seal ourselves with the Spirit
- Witness to others
You can also learn the history behind this prayer (which is actually a sacramental, a means of preparing ourselves to receive grace) over at the Catholic Education Resource Center.
Food for the Feast
At dinner this Sunday, share some foods with a Trinitarian theme. Italian Rainbow Cookies have three colors—they make a good dessert! Or cook something that includes “the Cajun Holy Trinity”: onion, celery and green peppers. Here are 18 recipes to try.
Strawberries were planted in medieval Trinity gardens because of their three-pointed leaves.
As always, for the ultimate roundup of fun recipes for this feast day, head over to Catholic Cuisine’s Trinity files, where you’ll find tri-color pasta, tres leche cake, a taco meal menu with a Trinity theme, Trinity cake and ice cream, Trinity cookies, and on and on. Those guys are so thorough.