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!

Sept 14, The Feast of the Holy Cross



Feast of the Holy Cross   September 14

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

             Explain: Today is the Feast of the Holy Cross.

Ask:  Does anyone remember what our symbol was for last Sunday? (door)  And what did it symbolize? (that we must open our hearts and ourselves to Jesus)

Introduce symbol
Say: Today’s symbol is a cross. 

Ask:  What do you think of when you see a cross? <get some different answers - the cross symbolizes the choice Jesus made for us, the choice of becoming one of us, choosing to live a life like ours>

Explain:  Jesus did not have to die on the cross for us.  He did it to show how much He loves us.  He became one of us so that He would know exactly what it was like to live a life like ours.  It would have been much easier to stay happy and comfortable in heaven.  The Cross is important to us because it reminds us of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.
Say:  Now we are going to practice the Responsorial Psalm, that part between the readings where you get to help.  The Responsorial Psalm comes from the Bible just like our readings do.  Today’s psalm is:  Our Lord and God, you keep me safe.  Can you say this with me?  <Have the children repeat it.>

Introduce readings

Light the candle and remind the children that it is time to hear the Word of God.

Say:  The first reading is from the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, or Hebrew Scriptures. (Numbers 21: 4b-9).    This reading from Numbers tells us about something that happened to Moses.  Does anyone remember who Moses was? <let the children respond>  When he was in the desert with the Israelites, they became angry.  This reading tells what happened.

Have the reader read the first reading

Ask:  What do you think the message in the reading is for us today?  <take suggestions from the children – some thoughts are:  Moses listened to God and did what he was told, even when he didn’t understand, God listens to us when we complain, the people who did what God said were healed> 

Say:  It is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part will be to say:
Our Lord and God, you keep me safe.
Have the reader read the Responsorial Psalm.

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of St. John. (John 3:13-17).  In this reading we hear about a man named Nicodemus.  Has anyone heard of Nicodemus before?  Nicodemus was an important man during the time when Jesus was alive.  He became curious about the things that Jesus was teaching.  But because he was important, he was afraid to let anyone know that he was talking to Jesus.  He visited Jesus at night in the dark so no one would see.  Jesus told Nicodemus the truth and reminded him of the Old Testament story we just heard.  Pretend that you are Nicodemus and see how Jesus’ words make you feel.

Say: Now it’s time for today’s Gospel reading:
Alleluia!  Alleluia!    (hold up card with phrase on it)  Can you repeat this after me?

Have the reader begin.

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

All respond:  Lord, let your Word be in my mind <make cross on forehead>, on my lips <make cross on lips>, and in my heart <make cross on heart>

Read:  Read the Gospel

Ask:  What is the truth that Jesus told Nicodemus?  <that the Son of God would save the world, that everyone who believes in the Son of Man will have eternal life>  Why do you think that Jesus mentioned the story about Moses and the snake?  <because Nicodemus was an important educated man and had studied the story>

Ask:  Does anyone remember the sign that we give one another to show that there is God’s peace between us?
Say:  Let’s give each other the sign of peace.

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

Explain: We will color the crosses  (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show that we have learned about believing in Jesus.

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 about believing in Jesus.  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.




Parent Letter
Feast of the Holy Cross 
                                                      
                                                      
           Today your children heard a simplified version of the same readings that you heard: Numbers 21:4b-9, John 3:13-17
To reinforce at home:
Today’s readings emphasize believing in Jesus.  They talk about listening to God and following God’s instructions even when we don’t understand.
When we heard the gospel reading from John, the first reading from Numbers is mentioned.  We talked about how Jesus used the Old Testament readings to help teach others about how he was going to save the world.

Activities to do at home:

*Read Scripture.  Find some other examples in the Gospels where Jesus uses the Old Testament to help teach others.

*Make a large cross out of cardboard together and decorate it to remind yourselves to follow Jesus.

Thank you for sharing your children!




Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sept 21, 2014 25th Sunday Ordinary Time A

Children’s Liturgy Instructions
Twenty-fifth 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 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time.

            Ask:  What was the symbol for last week?  <70 times 7>  We talked about forgiveness.  Does anyone remember why we should forgive each other?  <so that God forgives us>

Introduce symbol

            Say:  This is the symbol for this week (hold up the symbol)  This is a coin.
           
Ask:  Tell me what coins are for.  <they are money, you can buy things>  We take money and we trade it for something that we want or need.  Sometimes we trade it for someone’s time, like when we hire someone to do something for us.  Money is something we understand.  God’s way of thinking is not usually the way we think.  We don’t always understand God’s ways.

            Say:  Let’s look at the poster.  What does it say?  <The Lord is near to all who call on him.>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.

            Ask:  The Lord is near to all who call on him.  Does this mean that he is NOT near to everyone?  <discuss>  Sometimes when we get busy, we don’t think about God very much.  When we don’t think about him, God can seem very far away.  This psalm reminds us that God will always be close when we pray to 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 Isaiah. (Isaiah 55:6-9)  This reading from Isaiah reminds us of some of the things we have been talking about in the last few weeks.  Listen to this reading and see if you hear anything that you recognize.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Say:  Did you hear anything that we have talked about?  <forgiveness, that God always forgives us, that God is always near when we call on him>

Ask:  In this reading, we hear that God’s ways are not like our ways.  What do you think that means?  <that we don’t always understand what God does>  God is always fair with us and loving and forgiving.  Sometimes it is hard for us to do that for others.

Say:  Now is the time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
            The Lord is near to all who call on him.


Say:  Today’s Gospel reading is taken from the book of Matthew (Matt 20:1–16a).  In the Gospel today, Jesus tries to explain what heaven will be like.  He uses a PARABLE about a man who owned a vineyard.  Can anyone tell me what a vineyard is?  <a place where grapes are grown – to make wine>  The man in the PARABLE went out one day to hire some workers to work for him picking grapes.  Later in the day he went back out and hired some more for the same amount of money.  And near the end of the day, he hired some more workers again for the same amount of money. Let’s listen to Jesus’ story and see if we can understand what happens.

Say:  Now we will stand and get ready to hear the Gospel

Have the reader begin:  “a reading from the holy Gospel according to…”

Read:  Read the Gospel

Ask:  What happened?  <let the children re-tell the story>  How much did the man pay the workers?  <a full day’s pay>  Did they all work a full day?  <no>  Do you think that the man was fair?  <discuss – the man actually did pay each worker exactly what they agreed to work for, but most of us would feel that this was not fair>

Say:  How does this story tell us about heaven?  <God promises all of us the same reward – eternal life>  From the moment we choose to follow Jesus and work hard a t being good, whether we are young or old, we get the same reward.  God is very generous with sinners!

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 (Coin).  Ask the older children to write one thing they can do this week to try and be as generous as God is.

Explain:  Color this symbol of a coin and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!) to show that we have learned about how good God is to all of 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 the children leave to join the Offertory procession.

Use this graphic for all 3 applications... small ones of a light yellow color for the communal poster, a medium-sized one from construction paper & a full black & white sheet for the Offertory gift.




Parent Letter

Twenty-fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time  A


Dear Parents,

            The children listened today to simplified versions of two of the same readings you did: Isaiah 55:6-9 and Matthew 20:1-16a.

To reinforce at home:

            God is always near us.  Sometimes we get so busy that we forget about God.  Then God seems very far away.  Isaiah reminds us that God is waiting for us.  All we have to do is call and God is right there.

            The parable that we heard today was about a man who owned a vineyard.  He needed help with the harvest and hired helpers at different times of the day.  The tricky part of this parable comes in when the owner paid all the helpers the same amount of money.  Most of us generally believe that this is unfair – and in human terms, it may be.  But the owner did in fact pay each worker exactly what he agreed to pay them.  God is like that with us.  He promises all of us eternal life when we do what he asks whether we begin when we are very young or when we are very old.  God is very generous with us.

Activities to do at home:
           
            *Be generous!  Buy an extra item this week when you buy groceries.  Donate it to your local food pantry.
           
            *Watch the news this week!  Many children live in terrible conditions.  Together with your child, learn about a country you hear about on the news.  Make up a prayer for the children who live there.
           
            *Do something in your community!  Is there something happening in your community that is unfair?  Get involved.  Write a letter to the appropriate government official or news media to encourage those responsible to fix the problem.

Thank you for sharing your children!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sept 7, 2014 23rd Sunday Ordinary Time A

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time  Cycle A

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 Sunday

           
Ask:  Does anyone remember what Last Sunday was?  <show the cross>  It represented doing what God wants you to do, even when it’s not easy.

Say:  Today is the twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Introduce symbol:
 Say:  Today’s symbol <hold up symbol> is a person and a heart. What does the heart make you think of?  <love> We are the people and what did Jesus ask us to do?  <LOVE>  Jesus gave us the two greatest commandments that have to do with love.  Who are we supposed to love?  <#1.  Love God.  #2.  Love each other.>

Explain:  Last week we talked about how sometimes it is hard to behave the way God wants us to.  Today we are going to talk about how we need to not only make sure that we do the right thing ourselves, but that we also need to help each other to do the right thing, too.

Say:  Now we are going to practice the Responsorial Psalm, that part between the readings where you get to help.  The Responsorial Psalm comes from the Bible just like our readings do.  Today’s psalm is:  If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.  Can you say this with me?  <Have the children repeat it.>

            Ask:  Are hearts Hard?  <no>  What do you think it means – “to “harden your heart”?  <to turn away from God, do decide not to listen, to choose not to love.>

Introduce the 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 from the Old Testament book of Ezekiel.  (Ezekiel 33:7-9). In this reading, the Lord tells Ezekiel that being good is not enough.  We have to do more.  Listenclosely and see if you can hear what else the Lord asks Ezekiel to do.

Have the reader read the reading.

Ask:  Did you hear what else God asked?  <God asked Ezekiel to help others to be good>  When someone else does wrong, can that ever be your fault? <NO – discuss>

Say:  Now is the time for the Responsorial Psalm that we practiced.
Repeat after me:  If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.

Have the reader read the psalm.

Say: Today’s Gospel reading comes from the New Testament book written by St. Matthew.  (Matt 18:15-17)  This reading is about a time when Jesus was telling some people how to treat someone who sins, someone who did something wrong.  Think about that for a minute.  What do you do when you see someone do something wrong? <let the children answer – nothing, tell them, tell a grown-up, etc.>  Listen to hear what Jesus told his friends to do.
   
Say:  Now we will get ready to read the Gospel.  Please stand and say: 
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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

Read the Gospel.

 Ask:  What did Jesus tell his friends to do? <to tell the person what they did wrong>  This is important – did Jesus say to talk to other people about it?  <no> How are we supposed to tell the person who did something wrong?  <in private – just the two of you>  Why do you think he said to tell them privately?  <to give them a chance to do better, to fix the problem, so that no one else needed to know about the sin>

Say:  Jesus loves us.  He wants us all to do the right thing.  But we all make mistakes and do things that are not right.  Jesus asks us to help each other to be good.

Hand out the large Offertory symbols (person with heart) for the children to color and the smaller symbols (persons) for the children to put their names on for the poster.

Remind the children that the large symbol is to be offered in the Offertory procession to show the congregation what they have learned about how to treat other people. 

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.

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.

Give out parent letters, coloring hand-outs and stickers.


Use this graphic  or a heart in a small size for the communal poster
Use this graphic to make the mid-sized banner symbol of constructions paper and to make the full-sized coloring sheet to use for the Offertory



Parent Letter

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time  A


Dear Parents,

            Today we celebrate the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The children listened to simplified versions of two of the same readings you did:  Ezekiel 33:7-9 and Matthew 18:15-17.

Symbol: Person with heart

To reinforce at home:
           
            Today’s we discovered how much Jesus wants us to help one anther to obey Him and do the right thing.  We are ultimately only responsible for our own actions, but in the reading from Ezekiel, God asked Ezekiel (and, therefore, US) to be a watchman for each other.  He says that it is our job to help each other follow God’s laws.  Jesus tells us exactly how to handle a situation where we know that someone has sinned.  He reminds us to go to that person in private first.
           
Activities to do at home:
           
            *Think it through together! Together with your child, think of some things that you know have gone wrong between you, some examples of times when you may have sinned against one another.  Talk about ways that the situations were handled and think up some better ways for next time.
           
            *Pray about it! With your child, think of some people you know who have done things that have hurt you.  Ask God to help these people learn more about him.

            *Have a family celebration this week!  God wants us all to be happy together with him.  Celebrate together the love that God shares with us.

Thank you for sharing your children!