Sunday, August 20, 2023

21st Sunday Ordinary Time A

Children’s Liturgy Instructions
            Twenty First Sunday of 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.

            Say:  Today is the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time. 

Ask: Last week’s symbol was a globe.  We talked about God existing for everyone in the world – not just us.

Introduce symbol
            Say:  (Hold up the symbol)  Can anyone tell me what today’s symbol is?  <a church>  What do you think that this church is sitting on?  <rock>  That’s right – our symbol for today is a church on top of a rock.

            Ask:  What do you think that this might mean? <let the children discuss>  Today we are going to talk about our church a little and see what we find out.

Say:  Let’s take a look at the poster.  What does it say?  <Lord, your love is eternal.>  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 ‘eternal’ mean?  <forever>  So what does the Responsorial Psalm for today tell us?  <that God’s love for us lasts forever>

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 letter of St. Paul to the Romans. (Romans 11:33-36).  St. Paul reminds us today that all knowledge comes from God.  We are simply human and make lots of human mistakes.  When we are trying hard to do what God asks, we are supported by all God’s wisdom.  God makes us stronger than we think we are.  Let’s hear what St. Paul wrote to the Romans.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  Can anyone tell me this?  In the reading, St. Paul said that anything that came from God does something else.  What was it?  <returned to God>

Say:  Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part will be to say:
            Lord, your love is eternal.

Say: Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of Matthew (Matt 16:13-20)  In today’s reading, Jesus is walking along with his disciples. Jesus asked them what the people were saying about him.  Then Jesus pushed a little further and asked the disciples what they thought about him.  One mans answered.  Let’s listen to their conversation and see who answered and what happened next.

Say:  Now we will get ready to hear the Gospel
            Please stand up.
            Glory and praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

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

All respond:  Glory to you, O Lord.

Read the Gospel          

Ask:  When Jesus asked who the disciples thought he was, which man answered him?  <Peter>  What did Peter answer?  <that Jesus was the Son of God>  Then what happened?  <Jesus told him that he was blessed>  Did Peter figure out about Jesus all by himself?  <no – God showed it to him>

Say:  In the first reading, we heard that “everything comes from God”.  God helped Peter to understand just like God helps us to understand.  Jesus called Peter a “rock” and said that “upon this rock, I will build my church”.  What might this mean?  <discuss>

Say:  Peter was a man of strong faith – just like rocks are strong.  St. Peter was the first pope, the first leader of our church who was chosen by God.  Who is our pope today?

Ask:  Like Peter, we are God’s people of faith.  Is your faith as strong as a rock?  What can you do to help your faith grow stronger?  <go to church, talk to your family about God, etc.>

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

Hand out the Offertory symbols to color.

Explain: Let’s color the churches and bring them to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show what we have learned about our own faith and that of our church leaders.
Ask the older children to write something on their symbol that they can do this week to help strengthen their faith.

If there is time, ask questions and go over the lessons one more time to help the children remember.

While they are coloring, explain how we will go back into the church, up to the front with our gifts and rejoin our families.

Give out stickers, parent letters and hand-outs as they leave.

Use this graphic to make the small light-colored symbols for the communal project poster

Use this graphic to make the mid-sized banner symbol with construction paper in various colors AND for the full-sized coloring page to use for the Offertory gift.

Parent Letter

21st Sunday of Ordinary Time A

Dear Parents,

            Today is the 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time. Your children listened to two of the same readings you did: Romans 11:33-36 and Matthew 16:13-20.

Symbol: church upon a rock

To reinforce at home:
            In St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, we are reminded that all of our knowledge and our faith comes from God.  We do not believe all by ourselves.  We need God’s help.

            Matthew recounts a story of a time when Jesus was walking along with his disciples.  Jesus questioned them about who they thought he really was.  Peter spoke up telling Jesus that he believed that Jesus was the Messiah.  Jesus was pleased and told Peter that he had been blessed.  Jesus told Peter that God had revealed this information to Peter.  Jesus then placed the responsibility of leading his church upon Peter.  It was Peter’s faith that gave the Church its initial foundation.  It is the faith of all of us and our church leaders that provide its foundation today.

Activities to do at home:
            *Who’s who?  Review with your child the names of your pastor and associates, your bishop and the pope.
            *How strong is your faith?  Together with your child, talk about the things that you do to keep your faith strong.

Thank you for sharing your children!


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