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 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.


  1. We are all doing our children a great disservice by allowing poor catechesis throughout the Church. These children obviously not only knew but understood the stories they told

    1. Thank you david.
      Once again I am in agreement -Catechesis is not simply poor but almost non-existent in that we replaced the catechism with the colouring in of pictures in the 1960's. It is no better today, in my opinion.
      There is a terrible tendency in the Church today to rubbish anything that was solid prior to 1962. Pre-Vatican II liturgy and catechesis (which kept the Church strong) are constantly decried today, in the face of collapsing vocations and precipitous lapsation.
      God Bless.

  2. Father, I'm assuming this page has a video on it? If so it isn't coming up on all devices. Could you possibly put the web address underneath?.

    1. Thank you, Chloe.
      Hopefully they should be fine now..?

      With prayers,

  3. Brilliant! Thank you Andrew

  4. What you say in your opening line is so true Father. The other throwaway line, and usually a put down by the spirit of Vatican II priests, is that the Protestants were more familiar with the bible than Catholics. It didn't matter to these priests whether they have an incomplete understanding and therefore a defective interpretations of the scriptures. They were far superior because they were good at selective quoting. But your post simply highlights another failure of our episcopal fathers and the Gaudium et Spes priests. By the way, it is good to see Mr Tie (Andrew) respond to comments. God bless you both.

    1. Thank you Gregkanga,
      I agree: Catholics knew their bible stories (salvation history) but were not into chapter and verse, which is very different from 'not knowing the bible'. They have have been hoodwinked over the years by clergy telling them they didn't -which is just not true. No one seemed to realise that knowing bible verses is where taking things out of context resides, which is why the Church is nit keen on using the scripture verses as 'proof texts'.
      As for the tie, well, I do wish he would post more postings but he works in health care and is also at college for health-related studies, so his time is limited. Thanks be to God he looks after me when something technical needs to be done (such as having these videos play on phones) -I am not IT competent!
      God bless.


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