Every Sunday we provide a special Liturgy of the Word for our children. This is known as the Children’s Liturgy and it takes place during the 10 a.m. Mass. It is led by a team of catechists who take turns on a rota to minister to the children in this special way. The children are invited to leave the church at the beginning of Mass. They are divided into two groups, Infants with the Crèche and Junior Church and they go to the appointed places for the liturgy which is adapted to meet the needs of the particular group. Each group has two catechists to lead it and parents also accompany the very young children who attend. When the children have gathered in the Parish Centre the catechist who is leading, welcomes them and invites them to take part in a simple penitential prayer. This is followed by the reading of the Gospel which is then explained at their level. A short activity related to the scripture of the day usually follows this before the children return to Church at the time of the Offertory.
The primary purpose of the Children’s Liturgy is to give the children an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the Word of God during Mass at their own level.
It is about:
- Enabling children to worship and celebrate God’s love for them.
- Helping the children to discover that the Word of God has meaning in their own lives, as children.
- Introducing the children to some of the symbols and movements of the liturgy.
- Giving them the experience of being part of a community of faith and playing an active part in it.
- Supporting young families in the task of bringing up the children in the ways of faith and making them feel welcome and appreciated.
Children’s Liturgy gives the parish an opportunity to share its faith with its younger members. Our catechists find that this is an opportunity to welcome with joy the children of the parish and help to build up the Kingdom of God with them.
The purpose of adapting the Sunday liturgy for children in this way, is to lead them into full, conscious and active participation in the liturgy of the parish.
The catechists are prepared for their ministry by some training sessions but mainly by being alongside another person who is experienced in the task, supporting them initially by reading the Gospel and by helping the children with some practical activities. As they grow in confidence, the new catechists are encouraged to take on further responsibilities. The parish is well supplied with books and materials to help the catechists to prepare for and deliver the liturgy. The most important requisite for a would-be catechist is a genuine love for children and the desire to hand on the faith.