To learn about the making a Prosforo offering and what it represents.
JOY appropriate, See developmental notes for how to make this session HOPE, GOYA and YAL appropriate.
- Flour, Salt, Yeast & Water
- Bowls, Measuring Cups & Baking Pan
- Bible, Icons, Candles, CD Byzantine Chanting
- Paper and something to draw with
- Poster Board with the seal drawn on it
Let us Pray to the Lord. Lord Have Mercy. Dear Lord, this bread that we are baking represents each one of us. We are offering ourselves to You, our very life, in humble obedience and total commitment to You. We place ourselves on Your holy altar through this bread to be used by You in any way that You feel will help enlarge Your kingdom. Accept our gift and make us worthy to receive the greater gift that You will give us when You consecrate this bread and give it back to us as Your Precious Body.
Activity: Making Prosfora
Have all of the young people wash their hand thoroughly, remove all bracelets, rings and watches, push up any long sleeves
Today we are going to make a gift for God. We are going to make Prosforo.
• Can anyone tell me what you know about Prosforo? (Accept all answers and reflect back)\
Our Lord gives us all things. He gives us wheat, water and wine. We take things from the earth that He gives us and offer them back to God. We take part of the possessions that God has given us and return them to Him.
• Why is it important that we bake this bread for God? (Accept all answers and reflect back)
Think about when you draw a picture for your parents. It doesn’t cost you a lot of money. It isn’t something they need. But it means a lot to them because you made it and it is a way to show them that you love them. Making this bread shows God that you love him and that you are giving him not just this bread but your life as a Christian. Making this bread is an awesome responsibility. We need to make the bread prayerfully. To prepare ourselves, we need to begin with prayer and continue praying as we are preparing the prosforo.
- Read opening prayer as a group
- Split the group in to small groups of 5 people. It is best to have an advisor for each group. The advisors should be there to help keep the young people focused on the task.
As we work on the bread, we are going to continue to pray by singing hymns of the church, listening to chanting music and reading from the bible. Even though it will be hard, we should try our best to not talk about things that are not related to the prosforo. We should stay with our groups.
Also, we should not play with or eat the dough.
We recognize that there are many different ways to make Prosforo. This is one recipe. You can follow your own or bring in someone from your church that regularly makes prosforo to help. More important than recipe is that this is done prayerfully and that all the young people get to contribute.
- Give each table a bowl, 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1cups tepid water, 2 cakes of yeast
- Mix the water and the yeast together and let it sit for about 5 minutes until bubbles are forming.
- Mix the salt and the flour together then add the water/yeast mixture.
- Have the young people take turns mixing the ingredients with their hands
- Once it is mixed well, sprinkle some flour on the table, take the mixture out of the bowl and begin kneading until the dough is smooth. Have the young people take turns kneading.
- Once the dough is done being kneaded. Place it in a bowl with a towel over it a place in a warm (but not too warm area). Allow it to rise for an hour.
While the Dough Rises
- • Give the young people a 5-10 minute stretch break and then have them come back and sit around the tables (if a priest can come and help with this it would be wonderful)
- • Bring out the poster with the drawing of the seal. Hold it up for the young people to see.
This is the seal that we are going to stamp into the bread after it rises.
• Have them all draw a large circle for the seal on the piece of paper
The first thing we are going to draw is this middle part (point to it on the poster board) Does anyone know what this is?
This square piece is the piece that will be changed into the Body of Christ; it is called the Lamb of God. It has the letter ICXC NIKA. Does anyone know what this means? (Jesus Christ Conquers) Have the young people draw the Lamb on their picture
Next we are going to draw the large triangular piece. (point to it on the poster board) Does anyone know what this is?
This represents the Virgin Mary. Have the young people draw this on their picture
Next we are going to draw the nine smaller triangles. Does anyone know what these represent?
These pieces commemorate the angels, prophets, apostles and saints of the church. Have them draw these on the picture and have them finish up the drawing.
During a service before liturgy starts, the priest breaks the bread and the seal and prays for the different people represented by the seal; the Theotokos, the prophets, angels… The priest also prays for all those living whose names have been submitted to him. Then he prays for all those who have passed away whose names have been submitted to him. We are going to make list of people we want the priest to pray for that are living and dead.
- Give the children a sheet of paper with Living and Deceased written across the top. Have them make 2 separate list of whom they would like the priest to pray for.
- Collect the lists and make sure to give them to the priest.
After the Dough as Risen
- Have each group punch out and kneed the dough a bit longer. They should shape it into a smooth round ball.
- Once this is done, place the dough on a floured (not greased) pan. Have the young people press the seal in (make sure to flour the seal). This must be done evenly and firmly. Let each young person help push it in but make sure to hold it straight.
- Once this is done. Have young people use the toothpicks to prick holes around the seal and around the sides of the prosforo.
- Bake for about 30 minutes at 375.
- While the Prosforo is baking, ask the children different questions pertaining to offering in their life. What is their offering to God? How do they make their offering? What is an offering? Also be sure to add that after the priest places all the particles on the diskos, the entire Church is represented (Christ, Theotokos, Saints, Prophets, Martyrs, etc., the living and the dead).
Closing and Wrap-up
Read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
O God, our God, You sent the heavenly Bread, the food for the whole world, our Lord and God Jesus Christ, as Savior, Redeemer, and Benefactor, to bless us and sanctify us. Do bless this offering and accept it upon Your heavenly altar. As a good and loving God remember those who brought it and those for whom it was brought. Keep us blameless in the celebration of Your divine Mysteries. For sanctified and glorified is Your most honorable and majestic name, of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen
Print Information about this session and how to make Prosforo. Encourage families to call the priest if they would like to prepare the Prosforo for a liturgy.
The wording of this is written for the JOY age, simple. To adapt for HOPE, GOYA and YAL please see below
HOPE - This is a difficult task to do as a large group for HOPE age children. They will have a hard time focusing but it would work nice if you had a parent child prosforo making night. This way the parents can work with their child and explain what they are doing. Gather information on the process and meaning together to review with parents right before the session. Then have each parent/child pair with another parent/child group to make one loaf. Smaller loaves could be made.
GOYA – Change the language for GOYA or else you will seem condescending. Because they are older the GOYA is better able to stay focused. Have the GOYAns help you decide which hymns to sing and which bible passages to read while praying. While the bread is rising, discuss the seal but do not have them draw it.
YAL – Obviously the whole wording of the activity will change but making prosforo is a nice YAL activity also. While the bread is rising, you can have a group discussion on offering to our Lord (How we offer our lives to Him, How we remain focused on our Lord in a busy world, etc.)