Thursday, April 17, 2014

May 4 3rd Sunday of Easter Cycle A

3rd Sunday of Easter 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

Ask:  Can anyone tell me what our focus is during this Easter season?  Does anyone remember from last week?  <building Jesus’ church>  Why do we need to think about building a church?  Do we need hammers and nails?  <no, we are creating a community>  What we do here in the name of Jesus is create a FAITH COMMUNITY.  Our church is a FAITH COMMUNITY – because we all believe in the same things.  We are all different, just like Jesus’ apostles were all different, but we believe in the same things.

Ask:  Does anyone remember what our symbol was for last week?  <show the hand>  It represented one of the things we need to build our FAITH COMMUNITY.  Can anyone remember what the symbol represented?  <each other!>

Introduce symbol
Say:   Today’s symbol is bread.
Ask:  What do you think of when you see bread?  <eating!> 
Explain:  Bread is food, right?  Bread fills us up.  Even if we don’t have anything else, bread makes a nutritious meal and satisfies our hunger.  When we say the words ‘breaking bread together’, what does that mean?  <eating together>  Did Jesus give us a meal to share?  <YES>  What is it?  <the Eucharist>  He told us to come to Mass and to share the Eucharist.
So for our FAITH COMMUNITY, we need the MASS and the EUCHARIST.

Say:  Let’s look at today’s poster.  What does it say? <I love you, Lord, my strength.>  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 New Testament Acts of the Apostles. (Acts  2:14, 22-24)  In this reading, Peter talks to the people of Jerusalem on Pentecost.  Pentecost is the next great feast that we celebrate, when the Holy Spirit came to the Apostles and gave them the strength they needed to go tell everyone about Jesus.  These are the same people who turned Jesus over to the authorities.  In other words, these are the same people who were responsible for Jesus’ death.  Listen to what Peter has to say to them.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  What did Peter say?  <that Jesus’ death was part of God’s plan>  Jesus is stronger than death.  Did the people do a bad thing by killing Jesus?  <yes>  But what Peter is telling them is that they can be forgiven, that Jesus lives again and that he loves everyone no matter what!

Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
I love you, Lord, my strength.

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of Luke  (Luke 24:13-35).  This reading tells us about two of Jesus’ friends traveling on a road to a small town that was called Emmaus.  They were talking to each other about everything that had happened.  A stranger joins them and asks them to tell him what they are talking about.  Pretend like you are walking along the road with  these three people and listen for one special thing that you haven’t heard before.

Say:  Now we will stand and get ready to hear the Gospel
(hold up card)  Alleluia, alleluia.

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

Read:  Read the Gospel

Ask:  What one special new thing did you hear?  <let the children respond>  Who was the stranger who joined the two friends?  <Jesus>  Did they know who he was?  <no>

Explain:  Why do you think that they didn’t recognize Jesus at first?  <let the children respond> First of all, they saw Jesus die.  Even if he looked exactly the same, they KNEW he was dead – so their minds would not believe it was Jesus.  Second, we know that he rose from the dead, just as we will one day, he had what Scripture calls a ‘glorified body’ – it was perfect and different – no sicknesses, no scratches or scars, no unhappiness of any kind.  Maybe it really looks different to people.  And third, can you think of a reason why Jesus might not want them to recognize him?  <maybe he wanted to really hear what his friends were saying without him there, maybe he wanted his friends to know that they could learn about him from strangers, maybe he wanted his friends to know that he would always be with them, even when they didn’t see him>

Explain:  When did they figure it out?  <when they ate together>  When they all three sat down together and shared their bread, Jesus revealed himself to them.  That tells us that we too can recognize Jesus with us when we gather and break bread.  When we come to Mass to share the Scripture readings and the Eucharist, we experience Jesus with us.  To build our FAITH COMMUNITY, we need to gather together regularly and talk about Jesus and share in the meal he left for us at the Last Supper.

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

Hand out the symbols to color. (The symbol is bread).  Ask the older children to write one thing they will do this week to show that they understand the importance of gathering with their FAITH COMMUNITY.
 
Explain: Color this symbol of bread 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 need to come to Mass with our friends and share in the Eucharist together.

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 a small oval in light colors to add children's names to the communal poster

Use this graphic to make the banner symbol (in browns) and the full size coloring page for the Offertory gift


Parent Letter

3rd Sunday of Easter  A


Dear Parents,

             Today is the Third Sunday of Easter.  The children listened to two of the same readings you did: Acts 2:14, 22-24; Luke 24:13-35.

Symbol: Bread

To reinforce at home:
Today we listened to Peter as he reassured the people of Jerusalem that Jesus’ death at their hands was part of God’s master plan.  Jesus could not rise from the dead if he had not been killed.  He wanted the people to know that they could be forgiven by Jesus who was stronger than death.
We continued our theme of building the new church, talking about things we needed for our own FAITH COMMUNITY.  The Gospel tells us about the disciples on the road to Emmaus who were joined by a stranger that they did not recognize.  They walked along sharing the confusing events of Christ’s death and resurrection with this stranger.  They never even recognized that it was Jesus until they stopped and shared a meal together.  Building a strong church for Jesus, a strong FAITH COMMUNITY, requires that we gather together and share in the meal that Jesus left for us.  We must attend Mass regularly and participate in the Eucharist.

Activities to do at home:

*Sometimes going to Mass regularly is not easy, especially with small children.  Make a decision to do it anyway.  Get the schedules of all the Masses of churches within driving distance.  Sometimes you can’t make it to your own church but might be able to get to a different one.
*With your child, try a weekday Mass or prayer service with communion.  Make a special effort to gather with those who are in your faith community.

Thank you for sharing your children!



April 27, 2014 2nd Sunday of Easter Cycle A



2nd Sunday of Easter 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 2nd Sunday of Easter.  Last week, we had some changes in the way we celebrate Mass and in the decoration of the church.  Did anyone notice what they were?  <the music is back, lots of flowers, etc.>  You will notice when we read the Gospel that the Alleluia is back too.

Explain:  Does anyone remember what the symbol for the last Sunday was?  <a shining sun>  And what did it represent?  <the light of Jesus, Jesus rising from the dead, Jesus conquering death>

Introduce symbol
Ask: Before I begin, I have a question for you:  can anyone remember where our first reading usually comes from?  <the Old Testament>  The New Testament book called the  Acts of the Apostles tells us about the early church. It tells us about the things that happened to the Apostles in the very beginning right after Jesus rose from the dead.  During the Easter season – from now until the feast of Pentecost, we will be talking about how the new church began.  We will see the kinds of problems that the Apostles faced, which happen to be many of the same problems we face today.  We will learn what we need to build our church community right here at <say the name of your church>

Say:   Today’s symbol is a hand.

Ask:  What does a hand make you think of?  <let the children answer>  We use our hands to do things for each other and for ourselves.  Our hands can hold on to each other – and they can prove things to us by using the sense of touch.

Explain:  One of the most important things that we need to build a strong church community for God s each other.  We need each other to live the way that Jesus taught us to live.  Today we’ll hear a little and talk a little about how we can help each other be good folowwers of Jesus.

Say:  Let’s look at today’s poster.  What does it say? <Give thanks for the Lord is good.  God’s love is everlasting.>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today, a psalm of praise.

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 New Testament book of Acts. (Acts 2:42-47)  In this reading, we learn how the apostles and other early followers of Jesus treated each other.  If you think about Jesus’ message, how do you think his followers would treat each other?  <let the children respond>  Let’s pretend that we don’t know about Jesus.  His followers are strangers to us.  Let’s listen to this reading and see if the way the apostles lived is the way most people in the world live.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  How did they live? <discuss>  Do you think that everybody lives this way?  <no>  What is different?  <they shared everything, they sold all their things and gave away the money, they spent a lot of time praying together>  Do you think that it is possible for us to live the way they did?  Why or why not?

Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
Give thanks for the Lord is good.  God’s love is everlasting.

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of the Apostle John.  (John 20:19-29). Do you remember who the Gospel writers are?  And how many? <4 – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John>  During this season of Easter, we will hear mostly from St. John.
This reading tells us about two times when all of Jesus’ friends were gathered together in an upper room with the doors locked, probably the same one where they shared the Last Supper with Jesus. It was right after Jesus rose from the dead.  The Apostles were frightened of the Romans and of their fellow Jews.  Remember that their friend, Jesus, had just been tried and executed as a criminal.  Can you imagine how you would feel if you were one of Jesus’ friends?  <let the children respond a little>  They were afraid that they would be arrested and killed too.  They still believed in all that Jesus told them, but they didn’t know what to do.  Pretend that you are one of the Apostles and listen closely to the Gospel to find out what happened on those nights.

Say:  Now we will stand and get ready to hear the Gospel
(hold up card)  Alleluia, Alleluia!

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

Read:  Read the Gospel

Ask:  Did you already know this story?  Did you hear anything new?  <let the children respond>  On the first night, what happened?  <Jesus appeared to the Apostles>  How do you think the Apostles felt? <glad to see him, scared a little because they had watched him die, worried about what it all meant>  What did Jesus tell them? <he said he was sending them out, just like the Father had sent him>  Then what happened?  <they told the other Apostles about seeing Jesus>  Who was second night all about?  <Thomas>  Thomas didn’t believe, did he?
What did Thomas say to the Apostles?  <that he would believe that Jesus had come back when he actually saw him and felt his wounds>  When Jesus appeared the next time, what did he tell Thomas?  <blessed are those who believe without seeing>  Do you know anyone who believes in Jesus but has not seen him?  <US>  Thomas needed proof that Jesus had risen – and Jesus loved him anyway.  Thomas received his proof with his hands.  We can help each other to find the proof we need to have faith in Jesus.

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

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

Ask the older children to write down one thing that they can do this week to show how they can be Jesus to someone else.

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.

Poster graphic

 
Banner Symbol and Offertory gift




Parent Letter

2nd Sunday of Easter  A


Dear Parents,

             Today is the 2nd Sunday in the season of Easter.  The children listened to two of the same readings you did: Acts 2:42-47; John 20:19-29.

Symbol: Hand

To reinforce at home:

Today we talked about the beginnings of the church after Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead.  That will be our focus for the entire Easter season – until Pentecost.  We talked about one of the key ingredients in building our church community: faith.

We need each other as described in Acts.  We need to treat each other like family, spend time with each other and take care of each other’s needs.

We need faith in Jesus, faith that he is God who made the supreme sacrifice for us just because he loves us.  Like Thomas, sometimes we need to see to believe, but how much more blessed we are when we can have faith without proof.

Activities to do at home:

*With all the pressures of life today, it is difficult even to treat our own families like family.  Talk with your child about how you can spend more time together as a family.  Turn off the television and play a game together.
*Read your church bulletin with your child and choose one activity to participate in with your parish.

*Call your church office and find one parishioner who needs your help.  Consider making an anonymous donation for that person.  Or perhaps you and your child can help someone in your parish who needs help with yardwork or running errands.



Thank you for sharing your children!