Children’s Liturgy and Family Resources

April 3, 2022

The readings today call to mind the struggle for holiness both individually and as a society. During Lent, we can get bogged down by our past defeats and failures. The first reading is a hopeful reminder that throughout salvation history God has been making things new. In the second reading, St. Paul writes that while we are not perfect, we are called to keep the eternal gift of heaven in mind and focus on the goal ahead. In the Gospel, we see God’s unfailing mercy and forgiveness. Jesus’ response to the scribes and Pharisees’ accusation of a woman from their community is a reminder of the need to look at one another without judgment and with the love of God. May we feel the love of God through one another as we all journey together toward holiness.


Bringing the Gospel Home

*Read and discuss Ruthie and the Not So Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin

*Holy Week video: Holy Week in Three Minutes


 

March 20, 2022

A theme of the readings this week is that of responding to God’s call. In the first reading, we read of God’s request that Moses go to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses responded at first with uncertainty as we often do when we hear God’s call in our own lives. But as we learn in the gospel, our God is steadfast, reaching out to us and helping us to become who we are meant to be. As the gardener recommended in the parable, God responds to our “barrenness” with patience and hope for the day that we will bear fruit. St. Paul reminds us in the second reading to repent of our sins and align our lives more closely with God…a good Lenten reflection for us all.

Bringing the Gospel Home

*Talk with your family about a time that you heard God’s call in your life. Did you experience uncertainty or fear about living out the calling? How did you overcome that initial uneasiness? What “fruit” is God asking you to produce today?

*Moses asked God who he should tell the Israelites was sending Moses to them. God answered, “I am who am.” Discuss with your children how God is always so much more than we could ever understand or know. What do you find most amazing about God?

*Lent for Kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKjEDrvkHUg

*8 Ways to Pray During Lent | Loyola Press:
 https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/liturgical-year/lent/perspectives-on-lent/articles/8-ways-to-pray-during-lent/

 


March 6, 2022

On this, the First Sunday of Lent, we are reminded to keep the important and essential things at the center of our lives. Unfortunately, we can become complacent and forget the great things God has done for us. Just as the Israelites did, we can lose sight of the fact that we are the beloved sons and daughters of God. Lent is a time to pare down, contemplate our dependence on God and focus on what is fundamental. We follow Jesus’ example when he went to the desert to fast and pray. When he was tempted, his time with his Father and the scriptures gave him strength. May we take time to be with God this Lent, so that we can realign our lives with His will, remembering His great love for us.

Bringing the Gospel Home

Discuss the ways in which the devil tempted Jesus in the desert: comfort, the esteem of others, and power. What tempts you? How do you deal with temptation? How can the pillars of Lent (prayer, fasting, and almsgiving) give you strength in temptation?

Read Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton about resisting temptation:

Video for parents: Lent FAQ with Joe Paprocki - A Short Video - Catechist's Journey


February 20, 2022

Jesus’ words this week in the gospel can be hard to read. ”Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” Luke 6:27-28. While they sound difficult on paper, to live them out is often even more challenging. Thankfully, at the end of the gospel Jesus gives us some tips as to how we can succeed. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven” Luke 6:36-37. We are all sinners and have all hurt others. At times we may need to ask God for the desire to be merciful and forgive, remembering that He loves our enemies as much as He loves us. We can look to David’s example in the first reading in extending mercy to Saul and Jesus’ example in forgiving those who crucified him. 


Bringing the Gospel Home

*Talk with your family about a time when you did something wrong and were forgiven. How did it feel? Can you remember that feeling when it is your turn to forgive?

*Read Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

*Say a special prayer for someone who has hurt you. Ask God to give you the grace to forgive them.


February 6, 2022

In the first reading, we hear that God, while surrounded by angels ready to act on his behalf, requested that a human being named Isaiah help with the mission of sharing his word with others. Sometimes when we feel a call from God, we can feel ill-equipped or unworthy as Isaiah, Paul, and Peter each did in the readings this weekend. It’s easy to forget that God’s grace is stronger than our fears. Many of the people God called throughout history felt unfit because of their human failings, but God worked through them to lead others to Jesus. God calls each of us, as Peter was in the Gospel, to be “fishers of men”. May we be open to God’s grace as we work to bring others to his kingdom.

Bringing the Gospel Home

*Through their words and actions Isaiah, Paul, and Peter helped others to know about God. Who has helped you learn about God? Say a prayer of thanksgiving for them and thank them for how they have helped your faith to grow. Who can you tell about Jesus?

*Learn about why the fish or ichthus is a symbol of our faith.
     The Meaning of the Jesus Fish Symbol (ICHTHUS) 

*Watch a video about Peter.
     God's Story: Peter Fishes for Men

*Fishers of Men Video.
     Fishers of Men: A Bible Story for Children


January 16, 2022

This week in the story of the wedding at Cana, we have another “epiphany” or manifestation of Jesus' divinity and his mission. Weddings are such wonderful celebrations of family and love. In scripture, they often symbolize the kingdom of God. Jesus’ extravagant answer to the lack of wine foreshadows the abundance of God's kingdom. Mary said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:5 Those words speak to us today as well. Paul wrote in the second reading that we are each endowed with certain gifts and can use them to do what God asks of us. We each have an important role to play.

Bringing the Gospel Home

Mary was attentive to those around her and when she noticed a need, she brought it to Jesus. What needs that you notice in the world can you bring to Jesus? Pray as a family that God may give you eyes to see where you can bring his bountiful love.

Watch a video of the Gospel story: The Wedding Of Cana

Read A Hat for Ivan by Max Lucado


January 2, 2022

This weekend we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord or “Three Kings Day” as it is known in some countries. The word epiphany has Greek origins and means manifestation, appearance or showing. It is one of the oldest feast days of the Catholic church on which we remember the fact that Jesus came for the whole world. His identity and mission were revealed to a broader audience with the visit of the three kings or magi. They came bearing gifts that symbolized Jesus’ role in salvation history; gold - Jesus’ kingship, frankincense - his divinity, and myrrh - his suffering and mortality.

Bringing the Gospel home

Talk about what gifts you have to offer God this year and make a plan to use them in the service of others. Pray that as the magi were guided by a star, you may be guided by God on your journey through life as a family.

This week each time you go on a journey, whether it be to visit family, to school, or to practice, say a prayer for our brothers and sisters around the world who must travel long distances for school, healthcare or food.

Read Small Camel Follows the Star by Rachel W. N. Brown
     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiJQgClkDrc

Epiphany reflection for parents

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBP7tf6NiRo


December 19, 2021

Today we read that God had faith in people and places that the world discounted. In the first reading, we heard that a great ruler would come from Bethlehem, which was considered least among the clans of Judah. The Gospel reading told of Mary, a poor, young girl from a rural village in an occupied country, who was to be the mother of Jesus. She visited her cousin Elizabeth, who exclaimed “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” Luke 1:45 The support of family can be so wonderful during big life events, especially when the odds are stacked against us. Mary had faith and went about doing the work that God had given her. May we be open to God’s plan in our lives.

Bringing the Gospel home

Does your family know an expectant mother? In honor of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, think of  something your family could do to help with the preparations for the baby. Could you send a card  of encouragement, make a meal for the family, put together a basket of needed baby items or  create something by hand such as a baby blanket?

In this last week of Advent, choose one special way your family can keep the focus on  Jesus...add a special prayer time, learn a new prayer, contribute to a local charity or help with a  service project.

Video about The Visitation:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tmkp1zPnfw

Read The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado https://maxlucado.com/watch/the-crippled-lamb


December 5, 2021

On this the Second Sunday of Advent, we light the “Peace“ candle on our Advent wreath and reflect upon how we can be a source of peace in our families and our world. In the gospel, we hear of John the Baptist and his message as foretold by the prophet Isaiah to ”Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths” Luke 3:4. During Advent, we are called to examine our lives and make some changes so that we are ready for Jesus’ coming at Christmas. Just as we clear the way when our children are learning to walk, so too we are called to create a clear path for Jesus to our hearts.

Bringing the Gospel home

How can your family make Jesus’ path to your hearts  straight during this Advent season? Pray about it  together and make a list of your ideas.

Daily Advent Reflections for Parents
     www.dynamiccatholic.com/advent.html#form-signup

Advent Activities for Families
     www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/liturgical-year/advent/


November 21, 2021

As we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, the first and second readings tell of a king who will reign forever. In the gospel, we hear Jesus say that his kingdom is not of this world. At the end of the church year, we take time to remember what all of our readings have ultimately been about... Jesus Christ, who is king forever. Earthly kingdoms may come and go but our hope is in Jesus through whose great love and suffering, sin and death have been conquered. His kingdom continues to grow through our acts of love and service.

Bringing the Gospel home

Brainstorm with your family words that describe a king as well as words that describe the kind of king Jesus is. Talk about how Jesus is a very different kind of king than the world knows.

With your family pray together the “Our Father” and note what we say at the beginning: “thy kingdom come” as well as what is said after the prayer is recited at church: “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.” Discuss the fact that Jesus’ kingdom is included in the prayer he gave to us and in the words we say each Sunday at mass.

Read Just the Way You Are by Max Lucado https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyOswRALFrE

Learn about the life of St. Wenceslaus or St. Elizabeth of Hungary who were rulers who lived out the teachings of Jesus during their reigns. Tell someone about what you have learned.
        Good King Wenceslas: https://hymnary.org/media/fetch/110904

        St. Elizabeth of Hungary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAe1TaqzaiQ

Talk with your family about how you might help to build the kingdom through acts of service.


November 7, 2021

This week in the gospel, Jesus notices a poor widow’s offering and commends her great sacrifice. We are reminded that everyone has something they can give and are called to share what we have with others even when giving might be challenging for us.


Bringing the Gospel home

Have a discussion as a family about ways you could make a sacrificial gift to a charitable organization. (Maybe forgo eating out or going to a movie and contribute the money to the organization you choose).

Make coin-shaped pieces of paper and invite your children to write/draw what they can share with others such as a special talent or kind action...drawing a picture, singing a song or making someone laugh. Encourage them to  put their “coins” in a collection box like the widow did in the gospel story.

Offer to assist with the new Bereavement Ministry at St. Rita.

Learn about organizations in Racine that help women in need such as Bethany Apartments.

Talking to Children about Stewardship

https://catholicfoundationelpaso.org/news/stewardship-ministry-series-why-do-we-need-to-teach-our-children-to-give

Children's Book about the Gospel

The Widow's Offering by Joanne Bader
     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwGrFZpSpHM&t=14shttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLXaRg7kKNI

 

http://teachingcatholickids.com/5-simple-ways-to-be-generous/

https://cathfamily.org/like-a-x-ray-glasses/


October 17, 2021

This week in the gospel, Jesus teaches that those who wish to be great must be the servant of all. Children can identify with James and John in desiring a seat of honor. They long to sit at the dinner table next to a special guest such as a grandparent or close friend. Jesus invites us to think about the fact that true leaders put the needs and wants of others before their own. They give up their own glory for the good of the team.


Bringing the Gospel home

 Discuss servant leaders in the bible such as Noah, Moses and Jesus.

 Share a time when you felt God’s love through the sacrifice of another family member.

 Talk about the ways that your family can serve others in your church or community.


Catholic magazine for elementary school-aged children

https://stmarysmessenger.com


October 3, 2021

In the gospel this week, we hear Jesus tell his disciples “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Mark 10:14-15

Jesus reminds us of the importance of an attitude of trust and dependence upon God that is often evidenced by children. Children enjoy hearing Jesus tell adults to be like children! We are also reminded that in God’s family all are welcome.

Bringing the Gospel home

Bless all of the children in your family individually thanking God for their unique gifts.

Sing “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”

Talk with your family about how you can help vulnerable children in your community and the world.

Videos

For parents: dynamiccatholic.com/feed-your-soul/2021/children-are-the-future.html

For children - Children’s Liturgy Videos: www.youtube.com/watch?v=enRUVLyf33Q