Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 26, 2017 4th Sunday of Lent Cycle A


4th Sunday 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:  Today is the 4th Sunday of Lent.  And what do we do during Lent?  <prepare for Easter – the death and rising of Jesus Christ>  How’s it going?  What are you doing to prepare, to get closer to God?  <let the children discuss>

Ask:  What was the symbol for last week?  <water>  We talked about how Jesus helps us start over again and again if we just listen and believe in him.

Introduce symbol

Say:  This is the symbol for this week (hold up the symbol).  This is an eye. Today we are going to talk about different kinds of blindness and sight.
Ask:  Tell me what you know about blindness.  <being in the dark, not being able to see things around you, etc.>  What might it mean if I were to say that a person whose eyes work well is really blind?  <discuss>  It means that this person who can see really doesn’t understand.  We have talked in previous weeks about not ‘hardening your hearts’.  And we compared it with being open, and with listening.  Today we will look at the same idea, only comparing it with ‘seeing’.

Say:  Let’s look at the poster.  What does it say? <The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.
Ask:  Was Jesus really a shepherd?  <probably not>  What occupation did Jesus’ earthly father have?  <carpenter>  Most likely Jesus was trained to be a carpenter too.  Why do we refer to Jesus as a shepherd?  <because shepherds take good care of their sheep, they would die to protect them>

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:  The first reading today is taken from the Old Testament book of Samuel (1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a).  Do you remember hearing about the great king David?  This is the story of how David was chosen to be king.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Say:  Was there anything unusual about the way that David was chosen?  <let the children answer>  Why did the Lord choose David the way he did?  What was he looking for?  <he was looking for qualities that would make a good king, things that are not visible to the eye>  It didn’t matter what David looked like, it mattered what he was like inside.

Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading is taken from the book of John (John 9:1, 6-12, 35-38). Today we hear about one of Jesus’ miracles.  We will hear about two kinds of blindness – the kind where a person can’t see with their eyes and the kind where a person doesn’t understand.  Listen and see if you can hear about what Jesus says about people who don’t believe in him.

Say:  Now we will 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 miracle did Jesus perform?  <healed a blind man>  What did Jesus say about people who don’t believe in him?  <he said that they are blind>  Can these people see with their eyes?  <maybe – but more importantly, they didn’t know Jesus – they didn’t understand about the love he brings to us> 

Hand out the poster cut-outs (eyes) for the children to put their names on.  Collect them to glue on the poster when they are finished.

Hand out the symbols to color. (The symbol is the eye).
 
Explain: Color this symbol of the eye and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show that we have learned about being open to Jesus’ love.

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 to cut out the small light colored symbols to make the communal poster

Use this graphic to make the mid-size banner symbol and the large black-line Offertory symbol



Parent Letter

Fourth Sunday Lent A


Dear Parents,

             Today is the Fourth Sunday in Lent.  The children listened to two of the same readings you did: 1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a; John 9:1, 6-12, 35-38.

Symbol:  eye

To reinforce at home:
For several weeks, we have been talking about being open to God, about listening to him.  Today’s readings use another analogy, sight.  In the first reading from Samuel, we hear how King David was chosen to be king.  God chose him specifically for attributes that were invisible to the eye.  God chose him because of what he knew was in David’s heart, even though he was the youngest and weakest of Jesse’s sons, a lowly shepherd boy.
In the Gospel of John, we hear the story of how Jesus cured a blind man.  The blind man’s friends did not recognize him – because they knew the facts – that he had been blind since birth.  They KNEW that this sighted man could not be their friend.  They let their knowledge blind them to the truth.

Activities to do at home:
*Discuss with your child what it means to be blind to the truth, a blindness that has nothing to do with eyes.

*Watch the news together and discuss the blindness towards other people that can come from fear.

* Not knowing can be the same as not seeing.  Together with your child, review your schedule for the upcoming weeks so you will know what is happening within the church.  Talk about how you must work to remain ‘sighted’.

*Pray for those who cannot see.  Donate your old glasses to organizations that can distribute them to people who need them.



Thank you for sharing your children!


Sunday, March 12, 2017

March 19, 2017 3rd Sunday Lent Cycle A

3rd Sunday 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 the 3rd Sunday in Lent.  We have only a few more Sundays to prepare for the greatest feast in our church year.  Do you remember what it is?  <Easter>

Ask:  Does anyone remember the symbol for last week?  <a tent>  What did it symbolize?  <how we need to place our trust in God>

Introduce symbol
Say:   Today’s symbol <hold up the symbol> is water.  Tell me what you know about water.  What do we use it for? <drinking, bathing, cleaning>  Can we live without water?  <no>  Water often symbolizes life, something we can’t live without, something that makes us clean and new.
Ask:  Can you think of a sacrament when we use water?  <Baptism>  And why do we use water in Baptism?  <to symbolize washing away the old life and starting a new one>

Say:  Let’s look at today’s poster.  What does it say? <If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.  Psalms were originally songs, so make sure that you pray the response clearly and loudly.

Ask:  What does it meant ‘harden not your hearts’?  <get angry, decide not tolisten, say ‘no’ to God>  Do you think we do that?  <discuss>

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 Exodus. (Exo 17:3-7) We are going to hear about Moses leading his people to the promised land.  Remember that they have been in the desert for a long while and are very thirsty.  They have not been able to find water.  They are very angry with Moses because they are afraid that they will die.  Let’s listen to what happened.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  Did you hear what happened?  <Moses struck a rock with a stick and water came out of it>  Water made the difference between living and dying for these people.  God made a life-giving substance, water, spring from a dead object, the rock.  But only because of one very special action on Moses’ part.  What did Moses do that was so unusual?  <let the children guessà  Moses did exactly what God told him to do… Even though it didn’t make any sense to Moses at all.  Moses did not harden his heart.  Moses had faith.

Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of the Apostle John.  (John 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42).  In the Gospel today, we hear about when Jesus was travelling through Samaria.  What do you remember abut the people who lived in Samaria?  <they were enemies of most Jews>  Jesus was hot and tired.  He sat down by the town well and asked a Samaritan woman to get him a drink of water.  Let’s listen to the reading and see if \we can hear what happened.

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:  Did the woman get him a drink of water?  Why was the woman surprised that Jesus asked her for help?  <because Jews did not like or trust Samaritans>  Then what happened?  What did Jesus mean when he said that he would give her the water of eternal life?  <discuss>

Hand out the poster cut-outs for the children to write their names on them for the poster.

Hand out the symbols to color. (The symbol is water).  Ask the older children to write one thing they can do this week to keep their hearts open to hear God’s word.
 
Explain: Color this symbol of water and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show that we have learned about being open to God’s will.

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 light-blue poster symbols
Use this graphic to make the banner symbol and the black-line coloring page Offertory symbol






Parent Letter

Third Sunday Lent A


Dear Parents,

             Today is the Third Sunday in Lent.  The children listened to two of the same readings you did: Exodus 17:3-7; John 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42.

Symbol: water

To reinforce at home:
Today’s readings both used the symbol of water as a sign of renewal and rebirth.  In the reading from Exodus, Moses listened to God, believed in him, and struck a rock to bring forth water to save all the people.  And in John today, a Samaritan woman, a natural enemy of Jesus, listened to him and gave him the water he asked for.  She, in turn, also listened and received the message of love that Jesus brought to all of us.
Both readings tell of the wonderful things that happen when we listen to God and, as the responsorial psalm reminded us, “harden not our hearts”.

Activities to do at home:

*Choose a quiet prayer time together each day to recount your blessings and ask for God’s guidance with problems.

*Use water to remember to talk to and listen to God.  As you try to drink those recommended 8 glasses of water daily, take a minute to thanks God for the life-giving water he gives us.  Many people in the world today do not have clean water to drink.

*Buy an extra food item this week to donate to your local food pantry.



Thank you for sharing your children!