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PUPPET MINISTRY HISTORY

When did the “Puppet Ministry” Program begin?

Thanks to the support of our Pastor, Father Peter Casey, Puppet Ministry began in November 2003, at St. Agatha Parish. At that time Debbie Riley, our Parish Secretary, and Ellen Cronin, the Administrative Assistant for Faith Formation, teamed up together and began the program by using the puppets to help all the second-grade students prepare for their First Penance.

What is “Puppet Ministry?”
Very simply, “Puppet Ministry is a ministry serving God through the performance of skits, Bible stories, and songs with Christian truths/thoughts/beliefs to children, teens, and adults of all ages through the use of puppets in a fun, thoughtful, and prayerful way. Puppets have caught the attention of people down through history helping people laugh, pretend, dream, empathize, and learn new ideas---just think of how successful “Sesame Street” has been. Many churches, groups, and individuals have discovered that a handful of foam rubber, fake fur, and cloth can become a ministry tool with eternal results. Puppet Ministry provides opportunities for young and old to share their faith and work together to create an effective method of outreach through the use of puppets. As one person has said, ‘the lighthearted message of love conveyed by puppets rarely fails in getting people to open up and look at their hearts’.”

Is there a Puppet Team and if so, who is on it?
Yes, we now have a Puppet Team comprised of Fr. Casey, better known as “Fr. Charlie”, 5 adults, and two sixth-grade boys. We hope to add a couple of more students and also come up with a name for our Team.

What kind of puppets do you use?


We use what are called “big mouth, rod-arm puppets” that have been purchased on ebay or a puppet company called One Way Street. Some are full-bodied and some are only half-bodied. We have a priest puppet, boys, girls (some are black-light puppets and different nationalities), a baby, a doctor, a fireman and his dog who is dressed like the fireman, Elvis, a grandmother and grandfather, 2 cute monsters (Shaggy can be seen in the Martin Luther King, Jr. script), 2 camels, a goose, 2 sheep, a cow, a donkey, a clown, and Santa Claus! Learning to manipulate the puppets with a rod is an art in itself. We are all still learning how to move the mouth of the puppet correctly, along with different mannerisms, and choreography.

What have been the topics for the scripts?
The program began when Ellen and Debbie presented a proposal to Pat Friel, our Director of Faith Formation, to have the puppets perform a script to all the second graders who would be making their First Penance. As a result, three different scripts were written and the puppets were used to help prepare the children for their first Confession in an open, prayerful, fun atmosphere. The scripts were written after asking for thoughts and insights from Fr. Casey, Fr. Joe, and Msgr. Anadore as to what they might say to a child making their First Penance.


Where do you get ideas for the scripts and who writes them?
Debbie has resources that she has ordered from One Way Street, Group Publishers, and other professional places on the Internet. She has also searched many resources on the web for free scripts which can be downloaded. Some of the ideas she gets from these places, however, most of the material is built on an idea and is original. Once a script is written it is given to Fr. Casey and all the Team members to review. Then the Team meets together and discuss the content of the script and add, delete, or whatever is necessary to make it acceptable to all of them. As time goes on, they hope to enlist the ideas of other students, Faith Formation classes, or any parishioner who would like to submit an idea for consideration.

At what Mass do you perform?
Right now we are only performing once a month for the 9:00 Family Mass. We feel it is the best place to begin. Larger productions for the parish are a goal for the future and, possibly, as an outreach program for the community….but we are going to take “one step at a time”, pray, and let God lead us to where He wants us to go.

How do you finance the Puppet Ministry program?
Much of the funds were raised from the sales of Msgr. Charles Anadore’s poetry booklet/CD’s/tapes, entitled “Little Lines That Linger”. There was a tremendous response from these sales! Because of the success, our priest puppet was named, “Fr. Charlie”.

Why is “Puppet Ministry” important?
The exciting part of this ministry is that many parishioners will have the opportunity to be involved. Besides the Puppet Team, our goal is to have parishioners volunteer their skills and talents by helping to create props, helping with lighting during performances, writing scripts, making puppets, sewing clothing for the puppets, etc. There are endless possibilities!
Puppet Ministry can be performed with rod-arm puppets, human-hand puppets, human-size puppets, ventriloquism, “signing”, black light puppets, and more. As mentioned earlier, right now we will be using the rod-arm puppets.

People learn and comprehend differently……some people are more visual than others and learn better when they see things. Visually, Puppet Ministry can make Bible stories and Christian messages come alive to the audience in a non-threatening and thought-provoking, fun way. Popular songs can be adapted to faith-filled messages (just think of those performed in “Sister Act”). You might just find yourself humming the song during the day because you can’t get it out of your mind! It is our hope that you will leave Mass with a “little lesson/thought” in your “pocket” to carry you through your week!

Hopefully, when you get the chance to see the puppets perform or you join us in this new ministry, doors will begin to open for you that you never thought possible and an adventure will begin to ENHANCE, ENTHUSE, AND ENRICH your faith.

The Puppet Team hopes that you will share this new adventure with them. We hope that you will say a prayer for them as they begin this new journey in serving God. They begin each performance with a prayer for God to guide them and they always remember 10 little words…..
“ IF IT IS TO BE……..IT IS UP TO ME!”

Click here to some photos of our cast

For more information, email us at PuppetMinistry@StAgathaParish.org



(A good web site to be introduced to Puppet Ministry is www.OneWayStreet.com. They have been doing this since 1974, travel all around the country and the world. This is the Company that held the puppet festival that Debbie first saw in 1997.)
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St. Agatha Parish
432 Adams Street / Milton, MA 02186
Telephone: 617-698-2439 / Fax: 617-698-1517

E-mail: rectory@stagathaparish.org

 
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