PUPPET MINISTRY HISTORY
When did the “Puppet Ministry” Program
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
What is “Puppet Ministry?”
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?
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
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
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
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!”
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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