Wednesday, 10 December 2014
Annunciation to The Nativity for Children and Adults
We are often told that Catholic children prior to Vatican II didn’t know the bible. These very young children from the inner city of Dublin in the 1950’s show this assumption to be quite wrong. In fact, the stories of the scriptures were made very much alive for them by their inspirational teacher, Miss Peg Cunningham, who recorded their story telling on a then new-fangled reel-to-reel tape recorder, saying the children were on the radio. This was a ploy but fifty years later the tapes were discovered and were indeed played on the radio, which brought film makers to add cartoons and realise them –and for which they won an academy award.
In the videos the children tell the tale of John The Baptist, and that of the Annunciation, the Visitation and the Nativity (all quite suitable for Advent). The children speak of St Elizabeth's house being “further away than Oliver Plunkett’s head –further than the whole excursion!”. This refers to the fact that the teacher had taken them on pilgrimage to see Oliver Plunkett’s head and in those days travel took longer. The Nativity story focuses on the shepherds, the wise men and the ‘shocking holy temper’ of Herod. A whole series of these films is available on DVD from http://www.brownbagfilms.com/work/give-up-yer-aul-sins. I highly recommend them not only for their entertainment value, but as a demonstration of how to make the stories of the bible come alive for children.