Mass participation

Liturgy of the Eucharist…through the experience of children

Eucharist, so central to our Catholic Faith, means THANKSGIVING.  At the heart, we gather as a community to celebrate, to remember the life, death and resurrection of Jesus manifested in our Church, our world and our Parish Community. In this post, rather than present theological underpinnings of Eucharist, I intend to share meaningful ways  to enhance our children’s participation at Mass.  Following the Liturgy of the Word, when prayerfully transition to the Liturgy of the Eucharist, here are seven ways:

  1. The Offertory Procession– Before Mass, stop by the sacristy, or speak with an usher to volunteer your family to bring the gifts of Bread and Wine to the altar.  Do not worry what to do, the usher will prompt your family when to go with the bread and wine. At this time, I often reflect, of how we bring who we are to the altar our joys, sorrows, dreams, our brokenness, our hopes….
  2. The Collectionduring this time of the Mass, collection baskets are passed throughout the congregation. Give your child a few loose coins  to put in the collection basket. If your child gets an allowance, encourage him or her to give a portion of it.
  3. The Eucharistic Prayer – We sing: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. Use the worship aid in the pew, and encourage your child to follow along in song.  
  4. Throughout the Eucharistic Prayer, encourage your child to watch the actions of the priest. Let them know that Jesus the Christ is present in Bread and Wine, and in the worshiping community. In Faith, we become Body of Christ.
  5. The Our Father– the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples.  In this prayer, we acknowledge our shortcomings, and asking God to forgive us as we forgive others…we seek forgiveness and reconciliation.
  6. The Sign of Peace – We extend a gesture a peace such as a hug, a handshake,  as a sign which expresses, peace, reconciliation. Encourage your child to share Christ’s peace with those around you.
  7. The Rite of Communion invites us to the Table of the Lord. Encourage your child to approach the Eucharistic Minister. Remind them to fold their arms across their heart. As a parish, we acknowledged that the children are an integral part of worshiping community. Body of Christ, AMEN! 

If I missed something, please feel free to add to the conversation … what helps your child?

The final installment,  SENDING FORTH “unpacks” the Concluding Rite. Stay tuned!

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