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Children's Liturgy

Children’s Liturgy of the Word is for children in primary school. St John’s Parish conducts a Children’s Liturgy of the Word during school terms at the 10.00am Sunday Mass. The Liturgy is facilitated by members of the parish community. 

What ‘Children’s Liturgy of the Word’ mean

The term ‘Children’s Liturgy of the Word’ refers to the practice of children leaving the Sunday assembly during the Liturgy of the Word and gathering elsewhere to celebrate a separate Liturgy of the Word that is more appropriate to their level of understanding. 

At St John’s, the celebration of Children’s Liturgy of the Word is based on two key principles. 

Firstly, Children’s Liturgy of the Word is liturgy, ritual prayer, and not catechesis (religious instruction) or child minding. Its purpose is not to give children colouring-in-type activities to keep them busy so the adults listen to the homily in peace! Because it is a liturgical celebration, all the principles of good liturgy (active participation, clear symbols etc) apply. 

Secondly, it is liturgy of the word, so it is ritual centred on the proclamation and breaking open of the scriptures. The children do what the rest of the community is doing at this point of the Mass. They listen to the scriptures proclaimed and applied to contemporary life and respond in various ways. It is an experience of prayer, of dialogue with God. 

The Scriptures 

The approved book of readings for Children’s Liturgy of the Word is the Lectionary for Masses with Children (LMC). The LMC adheres as closely as possible to the readings in the Lectionary for Mass, while adapting them to the needs and capabilities of children. It is a simplified version of Scripture, not a collection of paraphrases or Bible stories. 

As far as possible the readings follow those in the (adult) Roman Lectionary for Mass. When a reading was considered too difficult for children, it has been simplified or omitted completely. The responsorial psalms have been adapted to make them easier for the children to sing.

More than only words 

A liturgy of the word is never simply a verbal experience. The use of symbols, gestures, movement and singing heightens the children’s experience of the transcendent. A beautifully bound book which is handled with respect, a special place for enthroning the word, gathering the children around to hear the scriptures proclaimed well, these all speak to the children of the sacredness of God’s word and influence how they accept and live by it. 

WHAT WILL CHILDREN EXPERIENCE WHEN CELEBRATING CHILDREN’S LITURGY OF THE WORD

Gathering together with the whole assembly.
Children commence the Mass with their families to celebrate the introductory rites.
processing to the place set aside for the celebration of the word. 

At the conclusion of the opening prayer, but before the first reading is proclaimed, the presiding priest will formally present the children with the Lectionary and a candle and invite them to join those facilitating the liturgy in processing to the hall where they will celebrate their own liturgy of the word. 

Preparing the children to listen. 

The session commences with a welcome to the children and an invitation to those who wish to briefly share their experiences of the previous week. 

Listening to the Word. 

The readings follow the same structure and cycle as the readings for mass. However, for liturgies with children, there is the option for presenters to use one, two or three readings. 

Breaking open the word. 

In the breaking open of the word, the children will be provided with an explanation of the readings, appropriate to the children’s level of understanding. The adult leader will provide children with background information where necessary or appropriate. 

Profession of Faith. (optional)
The profession of faith, if used, will be simple or abbreviated. 

Prayers of the Faithful. 

Children will be given the opportunity to name the needs of the Church, the world, those in need and the local community and bring these to God in prayer. A simple formula will be used: e.g. We pray for…Lord hear us and all the children will respond: Lord hear our prayer. 

Rejoining the community. 

The children process back to rejoin the community for the preparation of the Gifts.

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