Sunday, September 28, 2014

Oct 12, 2014 28th Sunday Ordinary Time A

Twenty-eighth Sunday in 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 Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time. 

Ask: Last week’s symbol was grapes.  We talked about the man who owned the vineyard and the people who took advantage of him.  They grew the grapes on his land but didn’t give him his fair share.  Sometimes we do this too.  When we take, we should give back too.  God gives us many gifts.  We need to repay God by being the best people we can be.

Introduce symbol
            Say:  Today’s symbol is a cake.  When do we have cakes?  <when there is a party>  Can anyone tell me what we do when we want to have a party?  <we are happy, we decorate, we ask people to come>  When you invite people to a party, how does it make you feel when they say YES?  <happy>  When they say NO how does it feel?  <sad>

            Say:  Heaven is like a party that God is preparing for us.  Today we are going to talk a little bit about heaven.

Say:  Let’s take a look at the poster.  What does it say?  <I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.

            Ask:  How can you like in “the house of the Lord” all your life?  <discuss>  Most people think of the “house of the Lord” as heaven.  But when you believe in God and give your troubles to God, you have a peace and happiness in your heart.  That wonderful feeling can be called “the house of the Lord.”
                       

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 (Isaiah 25:6-10a).  This reading tells us something that God will do for us.  Pretend that you are one of the people listening to Isaiah.  See if you can hear one thing that the Lord will do for us.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  What did you hear?  <the Lord will prepare a feast on the mountain, destroy the power of death, wipe away every tear, save the people, protect the mountain>  Here is the next question:  what does that mean for us? Is the Lord going to come down to earth and make a party like we are thinking of?  <probably not – thought with God all things are possible>

Say:  Heaven is also known as the “house of the Lord”.  We think of it as a place where we go after we die, a place where we are very close to God. But heaven is also a way to feel.  When you behave the way God asks you to, it’s like answering his invitation to a great life.  Inside your heart, you feel good because you know that you are doing good things.

Say:  Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part will be to say:
            I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. 

Say: Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of Matthew (Matt 22:1-10)  Matthew tells us about another parable Jesus used to teach about what God wants for us.  In biblical times, the Jewish people believed that God was available just for them.  They believed that if they followed all the rules of their church, they would go straight to heaven.  Some of them believed they would go to heaven simply because they were Jewish.  And they definitely believed that if you were NOT Jewish, that you could not go to heaven. 
            Today’s reading is a story about a man who wanted to give a great party.  Pretend that you are a Jewish child listening to Jesus tell this story.  What do you think this story would mean to you?

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          

Say:  So, the invited guests didn’t listen or come and the man went out and invited everyone off the streets to come to his party.  If you were Jewish (one of the people chosen by God) in biblical times, what do you think this story might mean?  <that just being invited is not enough, you have to accept the invitation, that God invites everyone – not just a few people> 

Ask:  God wants us all to come to his party.  We just have to listen to him and follow his laws of love.  A few weeks ago, we talked about how God is always near, we just have to talk to him.  God wants us to be close to him.  It’s our job to always remember that God is right there!

Hand out the symbols to color and cut out. (the symbol is a cake

Explain: Let’s color the cakes  (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show what we have learned about listening to God and coming to the celebration..
           
Ask the older children to write something on their symbol that they can do this week to say YES! To God’s invitation.

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.

Use this graphic for the banner symbol and the large coloring page......   Use a small square for the communal poster




Parent Letter

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time  A


Dear Parents,

            Today is the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The children listened to simplified versions of two of the same readings you did: Isaiah 9:9-16 and Matthew 22:1-10.

Symbol: cake

To reinforce at home:

            Today we talked about God’s love.  We talked about different meanings of heaven.  We remembered that heaven is a place where we go to be with God after we die.  We also talked about heaven being a state of mind, a way to feel when we are very close to God.  This kind of heaven is something we can achieve on earth when we say YES and act the way God asks us to.

God wants us all to be happy in his love.  He invites us all to be with him.  It is our job to remember that God is always close to us offering us a better way to live.
           
Activities to do at home:

            *Define heaven!  In heaven, all things are perfect.  Make a fun list of all the things that will be in your heaven.  What can you change in your life to make it more like heaven.

            *Have a party!  Together with your child, plan a celebration for your family.  Make invitations for each family member that tell why you want them to come to the party.

            *Discuss it together!  Talk about how you would feel if someone refused to come to your party.  God feels the same way about us.  God wants us to be with him.


Thank you for sharing your children!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Oct 2, 2014 27th Sunday Ordinary Time A

Children’s Liturgy Instructions

Welcome the 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 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

            Ask:  Last week’s symbol was a question mark.  We talked about how difficult it sometimes is to decide what is right and what is wrong.  We talked about how God is fair and knows what is in our hearts.  God wants us to show others love most of all.

Introduce symbol

Say:  Today’s symbol is grapes.  Can anyone tell something about grapes?  <let the children respond>  Grapes grow on vines, sometimes in vineyards like we have been discussing for the past few weeks.

Say:  In Biblical times, most people drank wine.  Wine is made from grapes.  So most people were familiar with the way grapes were grown in vineyards.  Just like Jesus used sheep and shepherds in the parables, grapes and vineyards were another teaching tool that Jesus used.

Ask: If Jesus came today, what kinds of things might he use to teach us?  <let the children respond – we would probably hear about cars, cell phones and computers, etc>  Any of these things might be possible!

Say:  Let’s look at today’s poster.  What does it say? <The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.>  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 today is from the Old Testament book of the prophet Isaiah.  (Isaiah 5:1-7). In this reading, the prophet Isaiah tells a story like Jesus did.  He tells about a friend of his and his vineyard.  Pretend that you are hearing the prophet Isaiah for the first time.  See if you can understand what he is trying to tell you.
                         
Have the reader read the reading.

Ask:  Did you hear what happened?  <let the children re-tell the story>  What do you think it means?  <that the Lord was not pleased with the behavior of the Jewish people>  It sounds like he was thinking of a punishment for the people who were sinning against God.

Say:  Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
 The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.          

Have reader read the psalm

Say: Today’s Gospel reading comes from the New Testament book of Matthew.  (Matt 21:33-43) In Matthew’s Gospel today, we hear Jesus tell another parable.  This one is about a man who owned a vineyard.  This man rented it out to some people.  Can anyone tell me what the word “RENT”  means?  <that the people were to farm it and use it like it was their own BUT they had to pay the owner in order to use it>  Listen to what happened to the vineyard and to the owner.  Think about what you think you might have done if you had been the owner.
 
Say:  Now we will stand and get ready to hear the Gospel.
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Read the Gospel.

Ask:  What happened?  <let the children discuss>  Can anyone tell me what they would have done if they were the owner?  <discuss>  Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven (or eternal life) belongs to those who do God’s will.  If we want to be part of that kingdom, we need to behave the way God tells us to.

Hand out the large Offertory symbols (grapes) for the children to color and the smaller symbols (circle) for the children to put their names on for the poster.

Explain: We will color the grapes (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show that we have learned about doing what God asks us to do.

Ask:  If you can, write one thing that you can do this week to obey God.

While they are coloring, go over the procedure for entering the church at the Offertory, how they approach the altar and put their symbols in the basket that the lead child will place at the altar.

Remind the children that the large symbol is to be offered in the Offertory procession to show the congregation what they have learned.  Remind them to put their names on the back and that they can retrieve the symbols after Mass.

Collect the smaller symbols to glue to the communal poster.  Remind the children to bring their parents back after Mass to see it.

Give out parent letters, coloring hand-outs and stickers as the children leave their worship space.


Cut out small ovals in light colors for the communal poster

Use this graphic to create the mid-sized banner symbol in "grape" colors and the full-size black-line coloring page for the Offertory gift



Parent Letter

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time  A


Dear Parents,

            Today is the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The children listened to simplified versions of two of the same readings you did: Isaiah 5:1-7 and Matthew 21:33-43.

Symbol: Grapes

To reinforce at home:

            Today we have readings that clearly tell us that God expects us to listen and obey.  In both Isaiah and Matthew, we hear about vineyards.  In Isaiah, the owner of the vineyard did everything he could to raise a good crop.  The harvest was poor.  The owner then declared that he would destroy the vineyard.

In Matthew, Jesus’ parable was about the owner of a vineyard who rented it out in exchange for a portion of the grape harvest.  The renters were dishonest and went to great lengths to cheat the owner of what they owed him.  The owner punished the renters and found some other people to take their place.  God wants us to keep our part of our baptismal promise – to be God’s child and to obey him. 

           
Activities to do at home:

            *Jesus used parables to teach us about God’s love.  His parables used things that his listeners were familiar with like sheep and vineyards.  Together with your child, make a list of things you think Jesus might use to tell parables to us.

            *Go to the grocery store and buy some grapes.  Spend a little time together with your child eating grapes and reviewing the parables that you have heard in the past few weeks.


Thank you for sharing your children!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sept 28, 2014 26th Sunday Ordinary Time A

Children’s Liturgy Instructions
Twenty-sixth Sunday in 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 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time.

            Ask:  Can anyone tell me what we talked about last week?  <show the symbol of the coin>  We talked about how generous God is to us.  He gives us everything even when we don’t deserve it.

Introduce symbol


            Say:  Today’s symbol is a question mark.  Sometimes things are confusing.  Sometimes it is hard to tell right from wrong.  Sometimes we don’t think God is fair to us.  We’re going to hear some readings today that will help us figure things out.

            Say:  Let’s look at the poster.  What does it say?  <Remember your mercies, O Lord.>  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 Ezekiel. (Ezekiel 18:25-28)  In this reading, God is talking with Ezekiel.  The people of Israel were complaining that God wasn’t fair to them.  He answered back in this reading that he is fair.  He talks about people living and dying.  Listen to the reading and see if you think that God really meant actual life and death or if you think he might mean something else.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  What did you hear that tells about life or death?  <that if you do what God wants you to do, you will live and if you don’t you will die>  We all sin sometimes.  When we do wrong, how do we feel inside? Like when you look into your parent’s face after you do something wrong, what does that feel like?  <BAD>  And what about when you do something that makes your parents happy, how does that make you feel?  <GOOD>  When you feel good and happy, you feel ALIVE!  When we do the right thing, we feel great!  And when we hurt others, we feel like we have cut off our happiness.  That feels kind of DEAD.

Say:  Now is the time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
            Remember your mercies, O Lord.

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading is taken from the book of Matthew (Matthew 21:28–32).  In the reading today, St. Matthew tells us about another time that Jesus was talking with some of the important people in the Jewish church.  He was trying to tell them about how to get to heaven.  He told a parable about another vineyard owner.  This man had two sons.  He wanted both of them to work in the vineyard one day.  One of the sons told his father NO and then later changed his mind and did it anyway.  The other told his father YES and then decided not to go.  Listen to the story and think about which son did what his father asked him to do.

Say:  Now we will stand and get ready to hear the Gospel
                       
Have the reader begin:  “a reading from the holy Gospel according to…”

Say together:  Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Read:  Read the Gospel

Ask:  What happened?  <let the children retell what they heard>  Which son did what his father asked?  <the one who said NO at first and then went to do the work>

Say:  Jesus was trying to tell the important priests that even if they did all the right things in their church, the most important thing they needed to do was to LOVE.  God asks us to love each other.  That’s number one!  God told them that the regular people who made lots of mistakes would go to heaven sooner than the important priests would because they listened and changed their behavior.  They believed in what Jesus said and they shared his love!

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

Hand out the larger Offertory symbols (question mark).  Ask the older children to write one thing they can do this week to show how they can obey their parents.

Explain:  Color this symbol of the question mark and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!) to show that we have learned about doing what God asks us to do.

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 the children leave to join the Offertory procession.


This graphic is used for the small poster symbol - cut out in light colors
Use this graphic to make the mid-size banner symbol and the full size coloring page for the Offertory gift



Parent Letter

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time  A


Dear Parents,

            Today is the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The children listened to simplified versions of the same readings you did: Ezekiel 18:25-28 and Matthew 20:28-32.

Symbol:  Question mark

To reinforce at home:
            The readings today talk again about how God is fair to us.  The question mark we used as a symbol represents the difficulty we sometimes have figuring out the right thing to do.  The Gospel reading in Matthew showed us the difficulty sometimes in deciding what is right and what is wrong.  Jesus was using this parable in talking to the high priests to show them that regular people who listened and believed in him would have an easier time getting into heaven than they would. Sometimes we are like the high priest and get so wrapped up in the details of our church that we forget the very simple message that Jesus brought us:  LOVE.

Activities to do at home:

*Show your faith in God!  Say a prayer together to ask God to help keep his love in the very front of your mind as you go about your day.

*Love others!  Think of someone who you think has not been fair to you.  Make an effort to set things straight between you.

             *Help your child surprise you!  Think up a few small chores that you would love to have done.  Make a list (of words or pictures) and share it with your child.  Ask them to surprise you this week by doing one.  Be very aware so that you recognize when the effort is made.  Reward your child with a bug hug!

Thank you for sharing your children!