Sunday, July 27, 2014

August 10, 2014 19th Sunday Ordinary Time

Children’s Liturgy Instructions
            Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time   Cycle A

Welcome children to their worship space.

Ask them to get their carpet squares and sit down in a circle.

Introduce yourself and your helpers.

Introduce
            Say:  Today is the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. 

Ask: Last week’s symbol was a loaf and fish.  We talked about how God will always take care of those who follow God’s laws.

Introduce symbol
            Say:  Today’s symbol is water.  Last week we talked about God taking care of us.  We talked about following Jesus’ example of putting others’ needs before our own.

            Say:  Today we are going to talk about a very important idea, believing that God will take care of us.  It is one thing to say that God will take care of our needs.  It is a whole other idea to actually believe that it will happen.

Say:  Let’s take a look at the poster.  What does it say?  <Lord, show us your mercy and love, and grant us your salvation.>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.
                       

Introduce readings

            We have two readings today.

Say: Let’s light the candle to show that we are ready to listen to the Word of God.

Say:  Today’s first reading is from the first book of Kings in the Old Testament (1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a).  Today we are going to hear about the prophet Elijah.  Elijah was a good man who tried hard to listen to God and do what God told him to do.  This is a story about a time when Elijah was living in a cave.  God told him to go outside because he was going to pass that way.  Elijah wondered what he would see or hear when God passed by.

Ask:  Would you recognize God if he passed by your house?  What do you think you would see or hear?  <let the children respond>  Let’s listen to Elijah’s story and see what he discovered.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  How did he recognize God?  Was God in the mighty wind?  <no>  Was God in the earthquake?  <no>  Where was God when Elijah recognized him?  <in the stillness>  Do you think, if Elijah wasn’t sure that God was coming, that he would have recognized the moment of God’s arrival?

Say:  Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part will be to say:
            Lord, show us your mercy and love, and grant us your salvation.

Say: Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of Matthew (Matt 14:22-33)  Do you remember from last week how tired and sad Jesus was?  When he ministered to all the people and shared the food, what did he really want himself?  <to be alone>  In today’s reading, we hear what happened next.  At the end of the day, Jesus sent his disciples into a boat headed for home.  Jesus stayed behind to get some time alone.  The boat sailed all night and towards morning, the disciples saw Jesus coming toward them walking on the water.  Wow!  Pretend that you are one of the disciples in the boat and listen to what happens next.

Say:  Now we will get ready to hear the Gospel
            Please stand up.
            Glory and praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Read:  Read:
            “a reading from the holy gospel.....”

All respond:  Glory to you, O Lord.

Read the Gospel          

Ask:  Why do you think the disciples were afraid when they saw Jesus walking on the water?  <because they knew that no one can walk on water – maybe they thought they were seeing a ghost>  Peter recognized Jesus.  What happened next? <Peter walked on water>  Peter was the leader and tried to determine if what they saw was really Jesus.  Why do you think that Peter was able to walk on water?  <Because he believed that Jesus would take care of him>  Why do you think that Peter sank?  <because he started thinking that he couldn’t walk on water>

Say:  Peter started thinking that what he was doing was impossible. While he simply believed, he could walk on water.  When he started thinking about it, he stopped believing in the power of Jesus.  Sometime the things that we must do to follow Jesus are much harder than what we think we can do.  We must truly believe that God will take care of us.  Then we have the strength and the ability to do whatever God wants us to do.

Hand out the poster cut-outs of water so that the children can write their names on them for the poster.

Hand out the Offertory symbols to color.

Explain: Let’s color the water symbols and bring them to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show what we have learned about believing that God will take care of us when we do what is right.
           
Ask the older children to write something on their symbol that they can do this week that is hard but that they know is right.

If there is time, ask questions and go over the lessons one more time to help the children remember.

While they are coloring, explain how we will go back into the church, up to the front with our gifts and rejoin our families.

Give out stickers, parent letters and hand-outs as they leave.

This graphic is for the small poster symbol.  Use a light color and cut one out for each child.


Use this graphic to create the mid-sized banner symbol.  Blue construction paper covered with plastic wrap makes an impressive symbol.

Use this graphic full-size on a page so that the children can color it to bring to the Offertory.



Parent Letter

19th Sunday of Ordinary Time  A


Dear Parents,

            Today is the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time.  The children listened to two of the same readings you did: 1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a and Matthew 14:22-33.

Symbol: water

To reinforce at home:
            The readings today remind us that we need to pay attention to recognize God in our lives.  Elijah expected God to appear in the great wind and then looked for him in the mighty earthquake – yet God used the quiet stillness to come forward.  Elijah needed to believe strongly that God was coming and that he needed to pay attention to recognize God.
           
            In the Gospel account today, we can imagine the tired disciples on the boat in the middle of a huge lake.  Near dawn they see (or think they see) Jesus walking across the water toward them.  They struggled to believe hat it was really Jesus and not a figment of their imaginations.  Peter showed that he believed and with Jesus’ help was able to do the impossible.  His only problem came in when he stopped believing that Jesus was with him.  We can do anything that God asks of us IF we believe God will be with us to make it possible.

Activities to do at home:

            *Believe in the impossible!  Together with your child, think of one thing you know you should do but just don’t believe that you can.  Pray for strength and guidance, step out in faith and begin!
                       
            *Make a game!  Practice listening with your child for God in your life.  Discuss with each other each time this week that you experience God.  Some examples would be when you know in your heart the right thing to do, when you see the smile of a child, or when a song on the radio hits you and gives you a message you need to hear.

            *Try something new!  Think up a new activity to try this week and do it!


Thank you for sharing your children!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

August 3, 2014 18th Sunday Ordinary Time

Children’s Liturgy Instructions
            Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time   Cycle A

Welcome children to their worship space.

Ask them to get their carpet squares and sit down in a circle.

Introduce yourself and your helpers.

Introduce
            Say:  Today is the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. 

Ask: Last week’s symbol was a treasure chest.  We talked about the treasures that were important to us and about the treasure that God wants to share with us, heaven.

Introduce symbol
            Say:  Today’s symbol is a loaf and fish.  Does that remind anyone of anything?  <some children will probably recall today’s story of the 5 loaves and 2 fishes>

            Say:  Today we will hear some scripture readings that remind us to follow Jesus’ laws of love and God will take care of us.

Say:  Let’s take a look at the poster.  What does it say?  <You open your hand to feed us, Lord; you answer all our needs.>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.
                       

Introduce readings

            We have two readings today.

Say: Let’s light the candle to show that we are ready to listen to the Word of God.

Say:  Today’s first reading is from the Old Testament book of the prophet Isaiah (Isa 55:1-3).  God promises to give us everything we need.  What are some things that you need in order to live?  <food, shelter, clothing, etc.>  Let’s listen to this reading from Isaiah that lists some of the things we need and see if they are the same ones we listed.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  What did you hear?  <add eternal life to the list!>  If we follow God, we will gain heaven!

Say:  Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part will be to say:
            You open your hand to feed us, Lord; you answer all our needs.

Say: Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of Matthew (Matt 14:13-21)  In today’s Gospel reading we hear about the great love that Jesus has for us!  As we begin, Jesus has heard some news about John and wants to be alone.  Can anyone tell me who John is and what Jesus might have heard?  <it is his cousin John and Jesus heard about John’s death>  Does anyone remember anything about John?  <let the children recall details, remind them that John spent his life telling people that the Messiah was coming!>  Can you imagine how sad Jesus must have been?

Say:  So he was sad and he wanted to be alone.  But the people loved Jesus and followed him.  So Jesus left his sadness behind and spent the day teaching and healing.  Then Jesus’ disciples came to him with a problem.  Let’s pretend that you are the people who loved Jesus.  Listen to what happened.

Say:  Now we will get ready to hear the Gospel
            Please stand up.
            Glory and praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Read:  Read:
            “a reading from the holy gospel.....”

All respond:  Glory to you, O Lord.

Read the Gospel          

Ask:  Did you hear what happened?  <let the children retell the story>  Jesus took care of all the people who gave up their time to follow him.  Have you heard this story before? What do you think this story means for us today? <When we do what God wants us to do, Jesus always makes sure that we are taken care of>

Say:  People try to stay where they are the most comfortable. Don’t you like to make sure that you have your toys and your snacks and your favorite things nearby?  Sometimes when we are truly trying to live out the love of Jesus, we aren’t doing what makes us the most comfortable – like when Jesus put aside his sadness so that he could take care of others.  Sometimes we have to put our own feelings behind and think of others too.

Hand out the poster cut-outs of fish or ovals so that the children can write their names on them for the poster.

Hand out the Offertory symbols to color.

Explain: Let’s color the loaf and fish symbols and bring them to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show what we have learned about thinking about the feelings of others.
           
Ask the older children to write something on their symbol that they can do this week to put their feelings aside and take care of someone else.

If there is time, ask questions and go over the lessons one more time to help the children remember.

While they are coloring, explain how we will go back into the church, up to the front with our gifts and rejoin our families.

Give out stickers, parent letters and hand-outs as they leave.


Use this pattern to cut out the small symbols for the attendance poster

Use this pattern to create the medium-sized banner symbol from construction paper and also for the full-sized coloring page.



Parent Letter

18th Sunday of Ordinary Time  A


Dear Parents,

            Today is the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The children listened to two of the same readings you did: Isaiah 55:1-3 and Matthew 14:13-21.

Symbol: loaf and fish

To reinforce at home:
            The readings today remind us that God takes care of us.  When we listen to God’s word and try to do what God asks, God promises us eternal life.  In Matthew’s account of the loaves and the fishes, we are reminded that upon that day, Jesus himself was very sad.  Jesus really wanted to be alone because he had just learned of his cousin John’s death.  His example to us was to put aside his own feelings and take care of others.  When we put aside our own feelings and take care of others, we follow Jesus’ example.


Activities to do at home:

            *Set the example!  Next time you are really busy and your child is begging for a story or an activity, take the time to share yourself with him or her.
           
            *Together with your child, think of one thing you can do this week for another person.  Take time out of your schedule and do it!

            *Make one loaf of bread together and share it with each other at dinner.



Thank you for sharing your children!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 27, 2014 17th Sunday Ordinary Time

Children’s Liturgy Instructions
            Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time   Cycle A

Welcome children to their worship space.

Ask them to get their carpet squares and sit down in a circle.

Introduce yourself and your helpers.

Introduce
            Say:  Today is the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. 

Ask: Last week’s symbol was a scale.  We talked about judging others.  Can anyone tell me who is the final judge of others’ behavior?  <God>  Whose behavior should we ourselves judge?  <our own>

Introduce symbol
            Say:  Today’s symbol is treasure.  What is treasure?  <gold, silver, anything we really value>  Who wants treasure?  <we all do!>  What we are going to find out about today is treasure!

Say:  Let’s take a look at the poster.  What does it say?  <Lord, you are good and forgiving.>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.
                       

Introduce readings

            We have two readings today.

Say: Let’s light the candle to show that we are ready to listen to the Word of God.

Say:  Today’s first reading is from the Old Testament book of First Kings (1 Kings 3:5, 7-12).  Today’s reading is about a king named Solomon.  Has anyone ever heard of him?  What can you tell me about Solomon?  <let the children discuss>  Solomon was known as a very wise king.  He was very smart and very kind to people.  In this reading, we hear about a time when God offered Solomon anything that he wanted.  Listen closely and see if you can hear what Solomon asked for.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  Did you hear what Solomon asked for?  <wisdom>  Why would he want that instead of gold or silver?  <with wisdom, he would know what to do when he was confused>  If we are wise, we know how to serve God and get all the things that we need.

Say:  Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part will be to say:
            Lord, you are good and forgiving.

Say: Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of Matthew (Matt 13:44-46)  What would you do if you found a treasure in someone else’s yard?  What might you do to make sure that the treasure would be yours?  <discuss>  This is what today’s reading is about.  Jesus is teaching something with a story.  Does anyone remember what the word is for a teaching story?  <PARABLE>  Let’s pretend that we are some of the people who are listening to Jesus.  Let’s see if we can figure out what the treasure is that he is talking about.

Say:  Now we will get ready to hear the Gospel
            Please stand up.
            Glory and praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Read:  Read:
            “a reading from the holy gospel.....”

All respond:  Glory to you, O Lord.

Read the Gospel          

Ask:  What is the treasure that Jesus is talking about?  <heaven>  What should we do to gain the treasure of heaven? <anything that we have to do!>  Does this mean that we can make a one-time decision and know that we will get into heaven?  <discuss>

Say:  We have to wake up every day and bring Jesus into our lives.  We need to live our lives thinking about heaven.  All of our actions together, day in or day out, affect whether or not we gain salvation.

Hand out the poster cut-outs of a circle so that the children can write their names on them for the poster.

Hand out the Offertory symbols to color.

Explain: Let’s color the treasure chests and bring them to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show what we have learned about living our lives here on earth so that we will live forever in heaven with Jesus..
           
Ask the older children to write something on their symbol that they can do this week to gain the treasure of heaven.

If there is time, ask questions and go over the lessons one more time to help the children remember.

While they are coloring, explain how we will go back into the church, up to the front with our gifts and rejoin our families.

Give out stickers, parent letters and hand-outs as they leave.

Use this graphic to make the small symbols for the poster.  Cut them out in light colored yellow paper.





Use this graphic in a mid-size (with construction paper) for the banner.  Use it in black-line on a full-size sheet of paper to color and use as the Offertory symbol.



Parent Letter

17th Sunday of Ordinary Time  A


Dear Parents,

            Today is the 5th Sunday in the Easter season.  The children listened to two of the same readings you did: 1Kings 3:5, 7-12 and Matthew 13:44-46.

Symbol: treasure chest

To reinforce at home:
            In today’s selection from the first book of Kings, God gives King Solomon the opportunity to ask for anything he wanted.  Solomon didn’t choose gold or silver or even anything that we usually regard as treasure.  He chose Wisdom – because with wisdom, he would know how to rule people well.  He would be able to follow God’s law and live a good life.

            In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus asks us what we would do to get a treasure?  How far will we go to get what we want?  He wants us to work that hard to go to heaven!

Activities to do at home:

            *Together with your child, make alist of the treasures in your lives.  Include things like good health, food, friends, and other things (not money!) that make your life worthwhile.

            *Have a treasure hunt!  Hide something that your child really likes and have fun while he or she hunts for it. Talk about the obstacles encountered.

            *Think of one thing that you can do with your child to help make someone else’s life better.  Donate an item to the food pantry, send a note to a relative or visit a fellow parishioner.



Thank you for sharing your children!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 20, 2014 16th Sunday Ordinary Time

Children’s Liturgy Instructions
            Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time   Cycle A

Welcome children to their worship space.

Ask them to get their carpet squares and sit down in a circle.

Introduce yourself and your helpers.

Introduce
            Say:  Today is the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. 

Ask: Last week’s symbol was a seed.  We talked about how Jesus’ teachings are like seeds and we are the soil that the seeds fall upon.

Introduce symbol
            Say:  Today’s symbol is a scale.  What is a scale for?  <it is for measuring or weighing>  Where do you find scales?  <at a doctor’s office, in a grocery store>  Why would we weigh something?  <to find out how heavy it is>  Why do we care how heavy objects are?  <discuss>

            Say:  We are gathering information about something to make a decision.  A doctor would decide about the health of a person.  In a grocery store, you decide about buying food.  Our readings today follow the readings of last week.  We will be talking about crops and harvest, but our message is about a word called JUDGMENT.  Can anyone tell me what JUDGMENT is?  <deciding whether people are good or bad>  Whose job is it to JUDGE people?  <God’s job!>

Say:  Let’s take a look at the poster.  What does it say?  <Lord, you are good and forgiving>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.
                       
            Ask:  What does “good and forgiving” have to do with the word JUDGMENT?  <”good and forgiving” would be FAIR>  WE TRUST God to make good JUDGMENTS about our behavior.

Introduce readings

            We have two readings today.

Say: Let’s light the candle to show that we are ready to listen to the Word of God.

Say:  Today’s first reading is from the Old Testament book of Wisdom (Wis 12:13, 16-19).  We know that God is all powerful.  We trust in God’s justice and mercy.  We trust that God will judge us fairly.  In this reading, we also hear something about how we, God’s people, should act if we want to do good.  Listen closely to the reading and see if you can hear what it is.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  Did you hear anything special about how we should act?  <God tells us that if we want to be good, we will do what God does – we will care about others>  Sometimes we get so involved with doing good things that we forget that what we are supposed to do most of all is love others.  Can anyone think of an example where someone is so caught up in their own business (even if it’s good!) that they don’t show God’s love to others?  <perhaps being in such a hurry to get to church that you ignore someone who needs you along the way – an example might be from the parable of the Good Samaritan>

Say:  Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part will be to say:
            Lord, you are good and forgiving.

Say: Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of Matthew (Matt 13:24-30)  Matthew brings us another parable to go along with the one from last week.  Last week we talked about seed being scattered in different places and what happened to them.  Today we hear about some seeds which grow very well, both good crops and weeds.  The question is:  what do we do when it is time to harvest the crop?  Pretend that you are a child listening to Jesus tell the story.  Remember that a PARABLE is a teaching story.  See if you can find out who the plants are and who the farmer is.

Say:  Now we will get ready to hear the Gospel
            Please stand up.
            Glory and praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Read:  Read:
            “a reading from the holy gospel.....”

All respond:  Glory to you, O Lord.

Read the Gospel          

Ask:  Can anyone tell me about the plants, the good crops and the weeds?  <the good crops are people who follow God’s laws and the weeds are the ones who don’t>  Who is the farmer?  <GOD>  Who planted the weeds?  <the devil>  What happens next?  How does the farmer get rid of his problem?  <he waits until harvest time to make the judgment>  What might this mean to us?  <that it is God’s job to figure out who does right and wrong>

Say:  The harvest time is the end of the world when God makes the decision about who goes to heaven to be with him.  There will be bad things happening in the world until then.  It is our responsibility to do our best to follow God’s laws and not judge other people.  God knows what is in everyone’s hearts and will make the final decision.  God will weigh everything we do in our lives, the good and the bad to make that decision.

Hand out the poster cut-outs of a rectangle so that the children can write their names on them for the poster.

Hand out the Offertory symbols to color.

Explain: Let’s color the scales and bring them to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show what we have learned about God’s judgment of us and others.
           
Ask the older children to write something on their symbol that they can do this week to show God’s fairness to someone in their lives.

If there is time for discussion, try to ask questions and reinforce what has already been discussed.  This helps the children to remember what they learned.

While they are coloring, explain how we will go back into the church, up to the front with our gifts and rejoin our families.

Give out stickers, parent letters and hand-outs as they leave.


Add caption



Use this graphic to make the medium-sized banner symbol (with construction paper in colors) and plain on a full-sized sheet of paper for the Offertory symbol to color.


Parent Letter

16th Sunday of Ordinary Time  A


Dear Parents,
            Today is the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time.  The children listened to two of the same readings you did: Jeremiah 20:10-12a, 13 and Matthew 13:24-30.

Symbol: scale

To reinforce at home:
            The readings today tell us about God’s judgment of us and others.  The selection from the book of Wisdom reminds us that we are to show God’s love to others.  This is more important than what we might think are good works.  The story of the Good Samaritan is a good example of people who were too busy going about their business (which might even be GOOD things) to notice a person who needed them along the way.

            Matthew’s Gospel reading tells the parable of the farmer who planted good seed and had an enemy come in and plant weeds.  Once the plants were growing, the farmer could do nothing without hurting the good crops.  The solution is that the farmer waits until harvest time to separate the plants.  God will do that with us too.  He will allow us to exercise free will on this earth – for good and bad – and God will make the final judgment about us at the end of our lives.

New word / concept:  JUDGMENT

Activities to do at home:

            *See the other side! With your child, think of someone that you think does not act like Jesus taught us to act.  Make a list of all the reasons WHY that person might act the way he or she does.
           
            *Catch yourself and model Jesus’ behavior!  This week, with your child, watch for examples of harsh judgment – on tv, from first impressions, and in daily conversation.  Pray about how to stop being judgmental toward others.

            *Do something!  Write a note to someone you may have judged unfairly.



Thank you for sharing your children!