Fine Art 9: Ravenna Encore

During our Genesis classes in September I threw together a handout to accompany discussion of the Hospitality of Abraham, Abraham’s sacrifice, Cain & Abel, and Melchizedek. Today was the last class of the year, and the last of three on the Mass. Part of the Mass-class fun is having the kids connect all the Bible stuff they learned this year to what happens or is said at Mass.

In past years when we got to this bit-

“Look with favor on these offerings and accept them as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchizedech.”

-I’d just read it out of the Missalette and we’d discuss. But this year I edited the earlier handout to make another handout, like so:


“Be pleased to look upon these offerings with a serene and kindly countenance,
and to accept them, as once you were pleased to accept the gifts of your servant Abel the just,the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek,a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim.”

These two mosaics flank the altar in San Vitale church in Ravenna, Italy


Class was much better with the handout. The kids remembered the pictures and were able to explain them in Genesis terms. Then we read the quote and they sorted out why Abel, Abraham, and Melchizedek matter at this point in the Mass.  I reminded them that these two mosaics are to the immediate right and left of San Vitale’s altar; wouldn’t it be great to hear that bit of the Mass while being able to see the relevant Bible stories on the walls?

All the kids took the handout home (they can leave them on the desk if they don’t want them). The parents will probably see it, and their children may catechize them a bit. (Equipping the children to teach their parents is a constant motivation in Wednesday Sunday School.)

About Christian LeBlanc

Christian LeBlanc is a revert whose pre-Vatican II childhood was spent in South Louisiana, where he marinated in a Catholic universe and acquired a Catholic imagination. During his middle school years in South Carolina, Christian was catechized under the benevolent dictatorship of Sister Mary Alphonsus, who frequently admonished him using the nickname "Little Pagan." After four years of teaching Adult Ed and RCIA, he returned to Sr. Alphonsus' old classroom to teach Catechism himself. This is his ninth year of teaching sixth grade. Married to Janet, the LeBlancs have five children and two grandsons. Christian and Janet belong to St. Mary's Parish in Greenville, South Carolina.

Check out Christian's book on Bible-based catechesis at:

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