The Jesus boat and schools of fish – 2013 K&L Diocesan Congress

Introduction

for more info – www.kandle.ie

Primary Schools in K&L were invited to be part the preparation for our 2013 Diocesan Congress (8/9th March) which included a special art project.

Invitiation

Pupils are invited to decorate a FISH symbol.  Examples of this artwork from all our schools will form part a special Installation in the Cathedral of the Assumption Carlow which will be in place for the Diocesan Congress and will remain in the Cathedral throughout the Lenten and Easter Seasons.

The installation will feature a model of a fishing boat similar to the kind used on the Sea of Galilee during Jesus’ time and the fish symbols will be attached to the boat’s net. This Installation will be in place for the Diocesan Congress and will remain in the Cathedral throughout the Lenten and Easter Seasons.

See below for more details, including the invitiation to contribute Prayer Petitions (on fish-shaped cards) which will be gathered together with parish petitions and placed in the boat in Carlow Cathedral during the Congress.

Jesus and Fish

Our boat also has a net and this reminds us of all the times that Jesus talked about fish, went fishing with his friends and even told them where to find the best catch. Remember that his first four disciples were fishermen! You can read about this in: Mark 1:16-20. St Luke tells the same story but in his version Jesus gets into Simon’s boat and taught the people on the lake shore. He then told Simon to put his nets back into the water and they caught so many fish that they needed help to bring them to shore. You can read about this in Luke 5:1-11

There are other stories about Jesus and fish:

  • The feeding of the five thousand: Luke9:10-17 Matthew 15:32-39 Mark 8:1-10 John 6:1-15
  • Jesus appears to his disciples: John 21:1-14

Fish symbol in the lives of Early Christians

The fish is an ancient and very important Christian symbol . We have already seen how fish are mentioned in many of the Gospel stories. Fish is not only part of Gospel stories, but,we are told that it was also used as a symbol by early Christians to let others know that they were followers of Jesus.

During the first three hundred years of Christianity there was persecution of those who wanted to follow Christ. In many places it was dangerous to be known as a Christian. It is said that when two people met and one wanted to see if the other was a Christian they would draw the beginning of a fish symbol on the ground. If the other person completed the drawing each would know that they were followers of Jesus. This was a simple and safe way of identifying other Christians. It was also easy to erase if the other showed no sign of recognition.

ICHTHUS

In later years Christians began using the Greek word ICHTHUS or ICHTHYS.  The use of the fish symbol by Christians may or may not be true. But it is certain that sometime around the 16th century Christians began using the Greek word ichthys for ‘fish’. Ichthys is made up of five letters from the Greek alphabet: I-ch-th-y-s. We can use these five letters to make an Acrostic in Greek, Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter. This translates into English as ‘Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Saviour.’

= IXQUS = ICHTHYS = Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Saviour

I Iota the first letter in the Greek Word Iesous Jesus

X Chi the first letter in the Greek Word Christos Christ

Q Theta the first letter in the Greek Word Theos of God

U Upsilon the first letter in the Greek Word Yiso Son

S Sigma the first letter in the Greek Word Soter Saviour

Some Christians continue to use the fish symbol today. You will see it on cars and books.

 

About The Author
-

Kildare & Leighlin Diocese has 56 parishes and a Catholic population of nearly 250,000. You can find out more about our diocese and our services on our diocesan website – KandLe.ie – along with accessing our pastoral resources.
www.KandLe.ie