Sunday, September 14, 2014

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.


             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!

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