An Introduction to the Children’s Liturgy of the Word
The celebration of a Liturgy of the Word especially directed at those who have not yet made their First Holy Communion is an essential part of our welcome to the children and young people in our parish.
In this introduction I say a little more about
What is Children’s Liturgy?
It is an act of worship and it is a celebration of the Word of God, which takes place separately from the Liturgy of the Word in the main part of the Church so that we can direct it specifically at the children’s level of understanding. Even though we go out of the main part of Church, however, we are still in Mass. That is why each session begins with the making of the sign of the cross. Certainly we adapt the style of liturgy and the use of scripture to a level that the children can understand but it is nevertheless a religious act. It is not a crèche.
During term time we offer a Children’s Liturgy of the Word at both the 9 a.m. Mass and the 11 a.m. Mass on Sunday morning. In addition, at the 9 a.m. Mass, we offer a Pre-School Liturgy. The appropriate ages for those going into the Children’s Liturgy of the Word is 4-7. If your child is not comfortable about being left on his or her own for a short period then your child may not be yet read to move into Children’s Liturgy. It would be better for your child to begin with you in the Pre-School Liturgy. In the Pre-School Liturgy we welcome everyone up to the age of 4.
What do we do with the children when we take them out?
In the Children’s Liturgy proper we organise ourselves flexibly around this structure:
Depending on the theme and the particular Children’s Liturgy Leader we will also introduce at any given time; singing, role play and mime; the other readings from Mass. The crucial point is that each Children’s Liturgy of the Word is themed in exactly the same way as the Mass is and follows the same pattern in the liturgical seasons.
In the Pre-School Liturgy we begin at the very beginning by teaching the children the sign of the cross and how to pray the making of that sign. We introduce them to simple prayers. We read to them from pre-school versions of well known bible stories.
How can you as parents support this important ministry?
First, please bring your children to church and encourage them to participate.
If your child is going into the main Liturgy of the Word, encourage them to come in alone.
If you are coming into the Liturgy, then please remember that you are participating in an act of worship within Mass even though you have moved to a side room. You can help to maintain the right atmosphere for the celebration of the liturgy by supporting the children in prayerful attention to what is being said and done.
After Mass, please talk to your child about what they have done in the Liturgy. This plays a huge role in strengthen the link between church and home.
Finally please think about joining the Liturgy leaders’ group.
What kind of qualifications do you need to be a Children’s Liturgy Leader? That’s easy to answer-none. You do not have to have any formal theological training, you do not need to attend courses at Maryvale, you do not need to be a Catholic schoolteacher, and you do not need to be an officially trained catechist. You simply need to have two things: a desire to pass on the faith to our children and the ability to communicate with them.
You might think ok I can do that but what do I say? This is where our resources come in. It is all laid on. A more detailed example of an outline structure for a Children’s Liturgy with notes for the Leader is also available. We make sure new recruits have a minder for their first term’s worth of sessions so you are not thrown in at the deep end.
So my last request is that you pray for the God Lord to send more labourers into his vineyard. You never know, it could be you. If you are interested in knowing more, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Children’s Liturgy Group Leader