Sunday, March 29, 2020

April 5, 2020 Passion (Palm) Sunday Cycle A


Passion Sunday Cycle A

***before you begin, make sure that you have readers for the different roles in the Passion reading: an adult narrator, good readers for Jesus and Pilate, and a few chosen readers to help lead small groups of younger children in the “priests” and the “crowd” parts.  Have the parts ready for the children with highlighted sections***

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:  This is it!  The last Sunday before we begin the celebration of the Passion and Easter week.  We have some extra church services this week to remember the things that happened to Jesus before he died and rose again.  We gather on Holy Thursday to remember his last supper together with his friends.  We gather on Good Friday to remember how he died for us.  And we will gather again on Easter Sunday to celebrate his rising from the dead, his triumph over death.

Ask:  Last week’s symbol was a stone.  We talked about how God was stronger than death.  Next Sunday we sill celebrate how this is true.  Next Sunday we celebrate Easter.

Introduce symbol
Say:   Today’s symbol is a cross with palms on it.  <hold up the symbol>  The cross always stands for Jesus and the sacrifice he made for us.  The palms remind us that on this day we celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  Do you remember how the people acted when he entered?  <let the children respond>  They treated him like a king!

Say:  Just like we did today, they took palms and waved them like we would wave flags at a parade.  They were happy to see him.  These are the same people who will act quite differently before the week ends.  And they are like us.  Sometimes we just follow our feelings without thinking too.

Say:  Let’s look at today’s poster.  What does it say? <My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?>  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 the word ‘abandon’ mean?  <to leave alone, to forget>  Do you think that God really abandons people?  <no>  Does it sometimes feel that way? <yes, absolutely>  That’s when we need to have a lot of faith!

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 50:6-7)  In this reading, Isaiah talks about being tortured because he believed in God. He reminds us that even in the worst of times, God is with us and to never be ashamed to believe in God.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading comes from the New Testament book of Matthew.  (Matt 27:11-54).  It is called the passion. It is a long reading and we will read parts of it together.  This is the story of what happened to Jesus.  It is a sad story.  While we read, think about how you might have acted if you were living at that time.

Say:  Usually we stand to get ready to hear the Gospel; today we will sit because this Gospel is a little different:
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Have the reader begin: “a reading from the holy gospel.....”

Read:  Read the Gospel together

Ask:  Do you think that the people who killed Jesus were all bad people?  Or do you think maybe they might have been frightened into doing the wrong thing?  Maybe they don’t really understand.  Any of us might have behaved in the same way.

Say:  Jesus forgave the people who killed him.  He regularly forgives us too as long as we recognize what we do wrong and are sorry.

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

Hand out the symbols to color. (The symbol is a cross with a palm).  Ask the older children to write one thing they can do this week to help spread Jesus’ forgiveness to others.
 
Explain: Color this symbol of a cross and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show that we have learned about how we all make mistakes and how Jesus keeps on forgiving us.

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

Give out stickers and hand-outs as they leave.


Use this graphic for the little cut-outs used for the poster

This graphic can be used for both the banner symbol and for the black-line coloring page for the Offertory gift




Parent Letter

Passion Sunday  A


Dear Parents,

              Today is Passion Sunday.  The children listened to two of the same readings you heard: Isaiah 50:6-7; Matthew 27:11-54.

Symbol: cross with palms

To reinforce at home:
Today’s we are reminded how the Jewish people welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem.  They treated him like a king.  They waved palms and sang songs just like we did.  We travel in the Gospel reading step-by-step through the judgment of Jesus to the crucifixion.  We recall the tremendous physical and spiritual pain that Jesus willingly went through for our sakes.  We experience again the awesome size of the forgiveness of God.  If he can forgive his own son’s murderers, how can we believe that he would not forgive us?

Activities to do at home:

*Talk about the different holy days that we will celebrate this week and why they are important to Christians.  Go to these services at your church.

*Go to Stations of the Cross this week and follow together in Christ’s footsteps to Calvary.



Thank you for sharing your children!


Sunday, March 22, 2020

March 29, 2020 Fifth Sunday of Lent Cycle A


5th Sunday of Lent  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: This is it!  The last Sunday before we begin the celebration of the Passion and Easter week.  Next Sunday we celebrate the Passion.  We also know it as Palm Sunday because it is the day when we get new palms for next year.  The week after that is a very serious and very special week.  We go to church several times to celebrate Holy Thursday (the last supper), Good Friday (when Jesus died) and then Easter Sunday (to celebrate his rising from the dead)  We have a lot coming up so remind your parents!


Ask:  Can anyone tell me what we talked about last week?  <show the symbol of the eye>  We talked about different kinds of blindness and the miracles Jesus performed.  We learned how hard we need to work to continually ‘see’ God’s goodness all around us.

Introduce symbol

Say:  Our symbol today is a rock or a stone <hold up symbol>.  Do you remember one story we have heard lately that had a rock in it?  <when Moses struck the rock and got water from it>  Was there anything unusual about that?  <discuss>  Is a rock living?  <no>  Yet God made the rock be an instrument of bringing life to the Israelite people.  God proved that he was stronger than death.  This is what we will explore a little today.  Our rock symbolizes death.


Say:  Let’s look at today’s poster.  What does it say? <With the Lord, there is mercy and fullness of redemption.>  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 the word ‘redemption’ mean?  <redemption refers to Christ gaining eternal life for us>  God will love us and forgive us and bring us to live in heaven with him.

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 Ezekiel. (Eze 37:12-14) In this reading, God is talking to the prophet Ezekiel.  He is talking about people living again.  Listen closely to the reading and see if you can understand what he really means.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask: Do you think that lots of people are really going to be brought out of graves?  <do we really know?>  Maybe many people will receive God’s spirit and make new lives.

Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of John.  (John 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 31-45).  St. John uses this reading to tell us about a time when Jesus actually did raise a good friend of his from the dead.  Jesus had a friend named Lazarus, the brother of two other friends that you have probably heard of – Martha and Mary.  Lazarus got sick and died.  He had already been buried for four days before Jesus arrived.  Pretend that you are one of the Apostles travelling with Jesus and experience what happened at Lazarus’ house.

Say:  Now we will stand and get ready to hear the Gospel
(hold up card)  Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Have the reader begin: “a reading from the holy gospel.....”

Read:  Read the Gospel

Ask:  What happened?  <let the children retell what they heard>  What does this mean?  <it means that Jesus is stronger than death, it reminds us that he will soon die and rise again himself>  This story reminds us one more time to place our trust in Jesus!

Hand out the poster cut-outs of a stone so that the children can write their names on them for the poster.
Hand out the symbols to color. (The symbol is the stone).

Explain: Color this symbol of the seed and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show that we have learned about the power of Jesus.                            

Ask the older children to write one thing they can do this week to show that they believe that Jesus’ love is stronger than anything.

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

Give out stickers and hand-outs as they leave.

*****Have next week’s Passion reading available and give major speaking parts to
good readers to practice*****

Use the same graphic for all 3 purposes: small ones cut from light-colored paper to create the poster, medium - sized in gray for the banner symbol, and large as a coloring page for the Offertory gift



Parent Letter

5th Sunday of Lent  A


Dear Parents,

              Today is the 5th Sunday of Lent.  The children listened to two of the same readings you did: Ezekiel 37:12-14; John 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 31-45.

Symbol: stone

To reinforce at home:
The readings today talk about how God’s love is stronger even than death.  They are a foretelling of the ultimate gift God gave to us, the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us.


Activities to do at home:

*Remember to put the dates for the Easter Triduum services on your family calendar!
*How is your Lent coming?  Take a few minutes this week with your child to talk about how you have grown closer to God during this Lenten period.

*Don’t forget to experience the sacrament of Reconciliation this Lenten season and give your child the opportunity also.



Thank you for sharing your children!