Sunday, March 26, 2023

Passion (Palm) Sunday Cycle A

Passion Sunday Cycle A

***before you begin, make sure that you have readers for the different roles in the Passion reading: an adult narrator, good readers for Jesus and Pilate, and a few chosen readers to help lead small groups of younger children in the “priests” and the “crowd” parts.  Have the parts ready for the children with highlighted sections***

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.  We have some extra church services this week to remember the things that happened to Jesus before he died and rose again.  We gather on Holy Thursday to remember his last supper together with his friends.  We gather on Good Friday to remember how he died for us.  And we will gather again on Easter Sunday to celebrate his rising from the dead, his triumph over death.

Ask:  Last week’s symbol was a stone.  We talked about how God was stronger than death.  Next Sunday we sill celebrate how this is true.  Next Sunday we celebrate Easter.

Introduce symbol
Say:   Today’s symbol is a cross with palms on it.  <hold up the symbol>  The cross always stands for Jesus and the sacrifice he made for us.  The palms remind us that on this day we celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  Do you remember how the people acted when he entered?  <let the children respond>  They treated him like a king!

Say:  Just like we did today, they took palms and waved them like we would wave flags at a parade.  They were happy to see him.  These are the same people who will act quite differently before the week ends.  And they are like us.  Sometimes we just follow our feelings without thinking too.

Say:  Let’s look at today’s poster.  What does it say? <My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?>  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 ‘abandon’ mean?  <to leave alone, to forget>  Do you think that God really abandons people?  <no>  Does it sometimes feel that way? <yes, absolutely>  That’s when we need to have a lot of faith!

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. (Isa 50:6-7)  In this reading, Isaiah talks about being tortured because he believed in God. He reminds us that even in the worst of times, God is with us and to never be ashamed to believe in God.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading comes from the New Testament book of Matthew.  (Matt 27:11-54).  It is called the passion. It is a long reading and we will read parts of it together.  This is the story of what happened to Jesus.  It is a sad story.  While we read, think about how you might have acted if you were living at that time.

Say:  Usually we stand to get ready to hear the Gospel; today we will sit because this Gospel is a little different:
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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

Read:  Read the Gospel together

Ask:  Do you think that the people who killed Jesus were all bad people?  Or do you think maybe they might have been frightened into doing the wrong thing?  Maybe they don’t really understand.  Any of us might have behaved in the same way.

Say:  Jesus forgave the people who killed him.  He regularly forgives us too as long as we recognize what we do wrong and are sorry.

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

Hand out the symbols to color. (The symbol is a cross with a palm).  Ask the older children to write one thing they can do this week to help spread Jesus’ forgiveness to others.
Explain: Color this symbol of a cross and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show that we have learned about how we all make mistakes and how Jesus keeps on forgiving 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 they leave.

Use this graphic for the little cut-outs used for the poster

This graphic can be used for both the banner symbol and for the black-line coloring page for the Offertory gift

Parent Letter

Passion Sunday  A

Dear Parents,

              Today is Passion Sunday.  The children listened to two of the same readings you heard: Isaiah 50:6-7; Matthew 27:11-54.

Symbol: cross with palms

To reinforce at home:
Today’s we are reminded how the Jewish people welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem.  They treated him like a king.  They waved palms and sang songs just like we did.  We travel in the Gospel reading step-by-step through the judgment of Jesus to the crucifixion.  We recall the tremendous physical and spiritual pain that Jesus willingly went through for our sakes.  We experience again the awesome size of the forgiveness of God.  If he can forgive his own son’s murderers, how can we believe that he would not forgive us?

Activities to do at home:

*Talk about the different holy days that we will celebrate this week and why they are important to Christians.  Go to these services at your church.

*Go to Stations of the Cross this week and follow together in Christ’s footsteps to Calvary.

Thank you for sharing your children!

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