Their responses: At Sunday Mass we pray, and listen. We sing and we say we are sorry and ask for forgiveness. At Sunday Mass we gather to remember Jesus died on the cross, and we celebrate his Resurrection, and that he loves us and is with us. At Sunday Mass we also give money and we pray for the homeless, and the poor people. These kids get it evidenced through their poster presentations. Their words and symbols demonstrated an emerging theology of celebrating Eucharist. This is truly a God’s grace at work within our children.
Last Sunday’s class was the first of four classes in which we explore and learn more about Sunday Mass. For the first lesson we set our hearts and minds on the Gathering Rite . In class, the children spent time “practicing” this part of the Mass. Both boys and girls took turns being the presider and intoning the prayers. “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit..” “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and fellowship of the Holy Spirit.”
From practicing with their friends in the classroom, to celebrating Eucharist with their families, the children are so receptive to learning prayers and gestures. Here are a few ideas to help children grow in their understanding that eucharist is the action of the entire assembly to celebrate that Jesus lives among us and through us.
Have you ever thought of carrying the cross for the entrance procession? Stop by the sacristy before Mass, and volunteer to carry the cross. Your child can accompany you in the entrance procession. Singing calls us to worship. After the song number is announced, share the song book with your child, and sing together.
We begin with the Sign of the Cross, reminding us of our Baptism in the mystery of the dying and rising of Christ. Continue to “practice” with your child the Sign of the Cross. At the baptismal pool, during the Mass, at the beginning of the day, or at the end, the Sign of the Cross reaffirms Jesus’ promise, “I am with you always!” [Matthew 28:20]
Penitential Rite invites us to reflect on living the Christian life. We come together as a faith community ever mindful of our need for forgiveness. Encourage your child to respond…Lord have mercy…Christ have mercy…Lord have mercy. Each time we respond, we are reminded of God’s loving forgiveness. “May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and lead us to ever lasting life.”
The Gloria is the song of praise to our God. If there is a worship aid in the pew, help your child pray the words to The Gloria.
The Gathering Rite concludes with the Opening Prayer, also called the Collect – The presider intones “Let us Pray.” We pause to pray. The priest collects and gives all of our prayers to God. Invite your child to extend his/her arms, a gesture that our hands are outstretched in prayer. Amen!
Next week we focus our attention on the LITURGY OF THE WORD.