What is Liturgy of the Word with Children?
“Liturgy of the Word with Children” refers to the practice of children leaving the Sunday assembly and gathering elsewhere to celebrate a Liturgy of the Word that is appropriate to a child’s understanding. They meet Jesus in the Gospel and reflect on the Word of God through guided questions and activities.
What do I need to know to prepare my child to attend?
Come to Mass early and find a seat up front. After the opening song and prayers Father will call the leader and children forward for a blessing. The children receive the blessing by making the sign of the cross. Then, children follow leaders to an alternate prayer space where they encounter Jesus in the Sunday readings and in the Gospel at their level, to better appreciate and understand God’s Word and how it applies to their life now.
While in their "chapel" (our school library) they do everything that is done in the main assembly—read scripture, sing Alleluia, have a homily, and offer prayers of the faithful, but everything is geared to their age, abilities, and understanding. Leaders ask questions of the children to help them apply the Liturgy of the Word to their own life.
This is a great opportunity for children to hear God’s Word and talk or ask questions about God. As children learn the responses and gain familiarity with our ritual prayer, they become more comfortable participating with the main assembly so that as they grow older they can be full, active participants in the liturgy.
Who is welcome? How old must my child be to participate?
Children age 4 to 7 are most appropriate, but anyone may participate up until preparing for First Eucharist when it is more appropriate to remain part of the main assembly.
Hesitant children are welcome to bring a parent, grandparent, or sibling until hey are comfortable on their own! And children older than 7 can be great helpers!
Where do they go?
Our alternate chapel space is the school library. Since weather can be unpredictable, cancellations due to extremes are possible. Please be sure your child is dressed appropriately for walking outside in the weather of the day.
When does it take place?
Children’s Liturgy of the Word will take place at the 11:00 Mass, pending availability of our volunteer leaders. Children who participate are dismissed after the opening prayers of the Mass and return during the Offertory song and collection when the gifts of bread and wine are brought to the altar.
How can you help? Thanks for asking!
Are you being called to break open the Word of God with the children of our parish?
We seek teens and adults to form teams who will lead Liturgy of the Word with Children on a monthly rotation at our 11:00 Mass. We seek to maintain at least 4 teams so that all ministers would be able to lead about once monthly.
Each team consists of a leader, lector, cantor, greeter, and helpers. Each position can be filled by a teen or adult; each team will be a mix of teens and adults.
At least one member of the team can act as a greeter to alert families to this opportunity and to assist with sign in and affixing name tags.
Another member of the team may carry the Lectionary out of the church or invite a child to carry it while following an altar server.
Volunteer leaders facilitate the liturgy; lead song, discuss the readings and help children understand them better through engaging activities and through ritual. Materials are ready-made!
All volunteers over age 18 must complete VIRTUS training, sign a code of conduct, and undergo a background check.
Volunteers under 18 sign a youth code of conduct.
Training for leaders of this ministry occurs in August, November, February, and May when we gather to check in, compare notes, and seek ways to better fulfill our call to ministry.
*Liturgy of the Word with Children will not occur on the first Sunday of the month so that all our children and ministry leaders can be present for celebrating parish baptisms!*
How else do we seek to help children feel welcome in our parish?
Did we miss something? Let us know.
We're always open to suggestions!
Why do you send the children away? That's not very welcoming!
No child is required to participate. Every family is different and what helps one family may not be appealing or helpful to another family-- just as some families prefer to sit in the children's room so that they aren't disturbing those praying in the pews, others feel too separate or isolated in the children's room and want their son or daughter to be surrounded by praying adults so that their child absorbs good church behavior. That said, some parents are amazed by how much of the homily they are able to hear without a wiggly child nearby AND that wiggly child benefits from a nice little walk on their way to hear the Word: seems mutually beneficial!
Contact the parish office for more information and be sure to introduce yourself (and your child) to the leaders of this ministry! We can’t wait to meet you!