Sunday, March 19, 2023

5th 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.

              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!

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