Sunday, April 23, 2023

4th Sunday of Easter A

4th 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.


Say:  Today is the 4th Sunday in the season of Easter.  We have been talking about the things we need to do or have to build a strong faith community.  Does anyone remember any of the things we have talked about so far?  <faith, going to Mass and sharing the Eucharist>

Ask:  Does anyone remember what the symbol was for last week?  <bread>  It stood for sharing in the Eucharist together.

Introduce symbol
Say:   Today’s symbol is a sheep. 
Say:  What does this symbol make you think of? <let the children respond>  Sheep are often used in scripture to refer to people.  Who are the sheep?  <us>  When we hear about sheep in Scripture, how is Jesus usually represented?  <as a shepherd>  Today we are going to hear something a little different.  Listen today in the Gospel for another way to think about Jesus.

Say:  Let’s look at today’s 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. Psalms were originally song, so make sure that you pray the response clearly and loudly.

Ask:  Why do we say that the Lord is our shepherd?  <because he takes care of us and loves us>

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 book of Acts. (Acts 2:14a, 36-41)  We are going to hear some more things that St. Peter told the crowd in Jerusalem on the feast of Pentecost.  Last week, we heard Peter tell them that Jesus rose from the dead even though they had killed him.  The people were worried about what would happen to them.  Listen to what Peter had to say to them and what Peter did.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  Did you hear what St. Peter said?  <he said that God was still waiting in heaven for them and would forgive them>  What did that mean?  What is forgiveness?  <forgiveness s when God makes your sins go away>  How do you think the people felt then?  <good!>

Explain:  St. Peter then baptized all those people and forgave their sins in Jesus’ name.  We all need to forgive one another for the things we do wrong.  Forgiveness is necessary to build a church.

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 comes from the book of John.  (John 10:1-10).  In the Gospel today, Jesus talks about sheep and their shepherd.  He talks about how the sheep know the shepherd and will follow him and no one else.  He also calls himself something else.  Listen closely to the gospel reading and see if you can hear what he called himself.

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 did Jesus call himself?  <a gate>  What was he telling us?  <that if we know him and follow him, we go to heaven>

Say:  When we know Jesus, we know that he will forgive us because he loves us.  When we know Jesus, we will forgive others because we are trying to love the way Jesus did. To build our church, we need forgiveness and love.  Which sacrament helps us experience forgiveness?  <reconciliation>

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

Hand out the symbols to color. (The symbol is a sheep).  Ask the older children to write one thing they can do this week to share Jesus’ love and forgiveness with someone else.
Explain: Color this symbol of a sheep and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show that we have learned about forgiving others..

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 small group poster cut-outs in light colors

This graphic can be used for the medium-sized banner symbol in white and black

This graphic should be used for the full-sized coloting page to use for the Offertory gift

Parent Letter

4th Sunday of Easter  A

Dear Parents,
            Today is the 4th Sunday of Easter.  The children listened to two of the same readings you did: Acts 2:14a, 36-41; John 10:1-10.

Symbol: sheep

To reinforce at home:
             The reading in Acts of the Apostles, just like last week, is an excerpt of a speech that St. Peter made to the people of Jerusalem on the feast of the Pentecost.  Here he proclaims to them that Jesus is in fact God, that he has been triumphant over death, even though he had been killed.  The people worried because they themselves were the cause of Jesus’ death.  Peter reassures them that God is a forgiving God, that if they turn to Jesus, they will find salvation.
The Gospel reading this week brings the symbols of lamb and shepherd t mind.  Jesus talks about how the sheep only follow the shepherd who loves them and he takes care of them.  Jesus then compares himself to a gate, saying that he is the way to heaven.  When we can love others the way that Jesus loves us, when we can forgive the way that Jesus forgives us, we will find heaven.

Activities to do at home:

*Read Psalm 23 with your child to help him or her understand how much Jesus loves us
*Talking about forgiveness is often difficult for all of us.  Help your child remember a time of anger and forgiveness in his or her own life.  Help them find a way to talk about how forgiveness feels.

*Make an appointment to go to the sacrament of Reconciliation with your child.

Thank you for sharing your children!

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