Teaching the Sacred Liturgy to Children


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Workshop for catechists given by Fr. Neil Sullivan on November 9, 2013 at the Diocese of Harrisburg.

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Teaching the Sacred Liturgy to Children

  1. 1. Teaching the Sacred Liturgy to Children Liturgical Catechesis and Formation Information and Preparation Celebration and Participation Vocation and Transformation
  2. 2. Our Game Plan • Some Challenges in teaching Children about the Sacred Liturgy. • Why is the Sacred Liturgy so important? • Why is teaching about the Sacred Liturgy so important? • Focus on four catechetical ways to teach about the Sacred Liturgy. • Share some ideas that seem to be working.
  3. 3. Common Mistakes The Cheerio Solution
  4. 4. Sometimes … We ignore children completely. • We see the Liturgy is an Adult Experience • If they are ignored in and by the Liturgy, why would the want to be interested in it. We infantilize the Liturgy. • We create “liturgies” that are childlike or even childish. • The Liturgy celebrated with children should always be modeled after, flow from, and return to the Communal Celebration of the Holy Mass on the Lord’s Day.
  5. 5. A Reality and a Goal • Children are baptized Christians. • Children have a right to pray and worship with the assembly. • That right implies a responsibility of the Church to help them pray and worship with the assembly. • Children should learn more and more of what it means to be a member of the worshipping assembly as appropriate for their age and development.
  6. 6. A Birthday Party
  7. 7. Challenges to Teaching Children about the Sacred Liturgy
  8. 8. So how do we teach children about the Liturgy? • • • • • • • It takes attention. Liturgy means work! We can’t rely completely on osmosis. Be intentional. Start early … or wherever they are! The process is ongoing. It bears repeating. Spiral, rather than linear. (Birthday Party) There is no "graduation" from liturgical catechesis. There may be ebb and flow. • Balance between the different stages, expressions, and experiences of Catechesis.
  9. 9. GUIDING PRINCIPLE Lex Orandi Lex Credendi Lex Vivendi Prayer, Belief, Life Worship, Faith, Witness How you pray reflects what you believe. What you believe calls you to a certain way of living.
  10. 10. Liturgical Formation Preparation and Information Celebration and Participation Vocation and Transformation Environmental Formal Experiential Mystagological
  11. 11. Sacrosanctum Concilium Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Why is the Sacred Liturgy so Important?
  12. 12. THE CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY • Increase vigor in the Christian life of the faithful (CSL1) • Help us manifest the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church.(CSL2) • Builds us up into a holy temple of the Lord, the dwelling place for God in the Spirit (CSL2) • Brings us to mature measure of the fullness of Christ. (CSL2)
  13. 13. THE CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY • Strengthens our power to preach Christ and show the Church to all the nations. (CSL2) • Gather the scattered children of God together until there is one sheepfold and one shepherd. (CSL2) • Encounter the presence of Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. (CSL7) • God is perfectly glorified and we are sanctified. (CSL7)
  14. 14. THE CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY • Is a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree. (CSL7) • Is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed and at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. (CSL7) • Gives us a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy. (CSL8) • Moves the faithful, filled with "the paschal sacraments," to be "one in holiness" (CSL10) • Draws the faithful into the compelling love of Christ and sets them on fire. (CSL10)
  15. 15. Why is the Liturgical Catechesis so Important?
  16. 16. THE CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY 11. … Pastors of souls must therefore realize that, when the liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the mere observation of the laws governing valid and licit celebration; it is their duty also to ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite, and enriched by its effects.
  17. 17. THE CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY 14. Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people, is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.
  18. 18. THE CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit; and therefore pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work.
  19. 19. THE GENERAL DIRECTORY FOR CATECHESIS 85. Christ is always present in his Church, especially in liturgical celebrations. Communion with Jesus Christ leads to the celebration of his salvific presence in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist. The Church ardently desires that all the Christian faithful be brought to that full, conscious and active participation which is required by the very nature of the liturgy and the dignity of the baptismal priesthood.
  20. 20. THE GENERAL DIRECTORY FOR CATECHESIS General Directory for Catechesis, 85 85. For this reason, catechesis, along with promoting a knowledge of the meaning of the liturgy and the sacraments, must also educate the disciples of Jesus Christ "for prayer, for thanksgiving, for repentance, for praying with confidence, for community spirit, for understanding correctly the meaning of the creeds...", as is all of this is necessary for a true liturgical life
  21. 21. CATECHESI TRADENDAE Catechesis in Our Time 23. Catechesis is intrinsically linked with the whole of liturgical and sacramental activity, for it is in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, that Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of human beings.
  22. 22. CATECHESI TRADENDAE Catecheis Tradendae, 23 Catechesis in Our Time 23. Catechesis always has reference to the sacraments. On the one hand, the catechesis that prepares for the sacraments is an eminent kind, and every form of catechesis necessarily leads to the sacraments of faith. On the other hand, authentic practice of the sacraments is bound to have a catechetical aspect. In other words, sacramental life is impoverished and very soon turns into hollow ritualism if it is not based on serious knowledge of the meaning of the sacraments, and catechesis becomes intellectualized if it fails to come alive in the sacramental practice.
  24. 24. THE DIRECTORY FOR MASSES WITH CHILDREN 8. A fully Christian life is inconceivable without participation in the liturgical services in which the faithful, gathered into a single assembly, celebrate the paschal mystery. Therefore, the religious initiation of children must be in harmony with this purpose.
  25. 25. THE DIRECTORY FOR MASSES WITH CHILDREN The Church baptizes children and therefore, relying on the gifts conferred by this sacrament, it must be concerned that once baptized they grow in communion with Christ and each other. The sign and pledge of that communion is participation in the Eucharistic table, for which children are being prepared or led to a deeper realization of its meaning. This Liturgical and Eucharistic formation may not be separated from their general education, both human and Christian; indeed it would be harmful if their liturgical formation lacked such a basis.
  26. 26. THE DIRECTORY FOR MASSES WITH CHILDREN 9. For this reason all who have a part in the formation of children should consult and work together toward one objective: that even if children already have some feeling for God and the things of God, they may also experience in proportion to their age and personal development the human values that are present in the Eucharistic Celebration.
  27. 27. THE DIRECTORY FOR MASSES WITH CHILDREN These values include – the community activity, – exchange of greetings, – capacity to listen; – to seek and grant pardon, – expression of gratitude, – experience of symbolic actions, – a meal of friendship, – and festive celebration. Eucharistic catechesis … should develop such human values.
  28. 28. THE DIRECTORY FOR MASSES WITH CHILDREN 10. The Christian family has the greatest role in instilling these Christian and human values. Thus Christian education, provided by parents and other educators, should be strongly encouraged in relation to the liturgical formation of children as well. By reason of the duty in conscience freely accepted at the baptism of their children, parents are bound to teach them gradually how to pray. This they do by praying with them each day and by introducing them to prayers said privately.
  29. 29. THE DIRECTORY FOR MASSES WITH CHILDREN 11. The Christian communities to which the individual families belong or in which the children live also have a responsibility toward children baptized in the Church. By giving witness to the Gospel, living communal charity, and actively celebrating the mysteries of Christ, the Christian community is an excellent school of Christian and liturgical formation for the children who live in it.
  30. 30. THE DIRECTORY FOR MASSES WITH CHILDREN 12. Even in the case of children, the Liturgy itself always exerts its own inherent power to instruct. Yet within religious-education programs in the schools and parishes the necessary importance should be given to catechesis on the Mass. This catechesis should be directed to the child's active, conscious, and authentic participation. Suited to children's age and capabilities, it should by means of the main rites and prayers of the Mass, aim at conveying its meaning, including what relates to taking part in the Church's life.
  31. 31. THE DIRECTORY FOR MASSES WITH CHILDREN 13. Various kinds of celebrations may also play a major role in the liturgical formation of children and in their preparation for the Church's liturgical life. By the very fact of such celebrations children easily come to appreciate some liturgical elements, for example, greetings, silence, and common praise (especially when this is sung together). But care must be taken that the instructive element does not become dominant in these celebrations.
  32. 32. THE DIRECTORY FOR MASSES WITH CHILDREN 15. While all that has been said remains true, the final purpose of all Liturgical and Eucharistic Formation must be a greater conformity to the Gospel in the daily life of the children.
  33. 33. So how does this all happen? • • • • Environmental Catechesis (Indirect) Formal Catechesis (Direct) Experiential Catechesis Mystagological Catechesis
  34. 34. Foreign Language Class • • • • The learning environment. The vocabulary and grammar. The Overseas Trip: Immersion! Using the language.
  35. 35. Liturgical Formation Lex Credendi Preparation and Information: Environmental Catechesis Formal Catechesis Lex Orandi Celebration and Participation Experiential Catechesis Lex Vivendi Vocation and Transformation: Mystagological Catechesis
  36. 36. 1. Environmental Catechesis: • Indirect • Situation/Location • We are products of our environment. • Tan line from the sun • Family Life • Basic Signs and Symbols • Liturgical Colors • Ritual experiences. • How do we celebrate birthdays in the classroom? • What are we doing for November? • The Word
  37. 37. 2. Formal Catechesis • • • • • • • • • Direct Information Curriculum Meaning and Mystery Words and Vocabulary Postures and Gestures Texts and Responses Whys and Wherefores Theology
  38. 38. 2. Experiential Catechesis • Celebration • What does celebration mean? observe, commemorate, make known publicly, proclaim, praise widely, present widespread and favorable public notice, perform with appropriate rites and ceremonies, solemnize • Full, Conscious, Active Participation • Getting their Attention • If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. • Liturgical Ministries
  39. 39. 4. Mystagological Catechesis • • • • • • • • • Transformation Vocation Mystagogy: Unpacking the Mystery What just happened? What does it mean? To them? What did you see, hear, say, feel, etc.? Don’t explain it away before hand. It’s not just another experience and then moving on to the next experience. How are we different or supposed to be different from what we experienced? Example: Sacrament of Penance and Rite of Reconciliation
  40. 40. The Witness of the Catechist • Our Mystagogy • Prayerfulness • Full, Active, Conscious Participation • Enthusiasm • Authentic Testimony • Our own expression of Faith, Worship, and Witness • Faithful, not perfect.
  41. 41. Important Ritual Components • The Liturgical Year • The Catechumenal Process • Signs and Symbols • Word • Language • Song
  42. 42. • We best teach Liturgy to children if we are people of the Liturgy in our own lives. • Make ritual a part of every class/gathering. • Do as little explanation about its meaning as possible before. Unpack following • Temporarily leave the role of teacher and be participant. For instance, don’t discipline children during the Liturgy unless it is absolutely necessary. • Assign children and teenagers, as appropriate, to be readers, candle bearers, cantors, etc. • Develop parish-wide or school-wide rituals.
  43. 43. Reverend Johannes Höfinger, SJ “Here is the last and most decisive reason why teaching through worship is superior to all other forms of Christian teaching: the liturgy gives what it teaches, it not only presents the mystery of Christ concretely: it also lets us immediately participate in this mystery.”
  44. 44. Visible Signs • Incarnational • reaches out to the whole person (body and soul) • The senses. • The body is included by actually doing things: – going to the Church, – genuflecting, – kneeling to pray, – standing for a Gospel – reading, – using holy water – and making the sign of the cross
  45. 45. Go into the Church! • The Church building itself! • Dome, symbolizing the dome of heaven; • pointed arches pointing upwards like hands in prayer; • The centrality of the altar • Stained glass windows. • Images • Font • What else?
  46. 46. In the Classroom… • Use a Crucifix, ad crucem • A prayer table, center, place, or “classroom altar”. • Candles • A beautiful book copy of the Sacred Scriptures. • A clean white cloth represents Christ’s shroud at death and his swaddling clothes at birth. • Liturgical colors for the seasons. • The Saint of the Day • Advent Wreath, Easter Water, etc. • Sacred images and icons.
  47. 47. Catechize from and for the Whole Treasury of the Liturgy • Its not only the Holy Mass • The Liturgical Life that flows from the Mass. • Adoration and Benediction • Divine Office • Sacrament of Penance • Example: Blessing of Animals
  48. 48. Family Catechesis • • • • • • • • Parent Meetings PTO Social Media Getting Ready for Sunday Indirect and Direct Environmental Experiential Put resources in their hands.
  49. 49. Reflecting on Thanksgiving Dinner Breaking Open the Word Getting Ready for Sunday Penance Service Holy Thursday Morning Prayer SOME PRACTICAL IDEAS
  50. 50. Thanksgiving Dinner • Where is it? • What happens to get ready for dinner? • Who is there? • Who isn’t there? • Who sits where? • What do you eat? • Who does the talking? • What do you talk about? • What happens when dinner is over?
  51. 51. Breaking Open the Word • • • • • • • • Eighth Graders Small Group Lunch or Snack Readings Questions for Reflection Ideas and Images What would you say in the homily? What should I say in the homily?
  52. 52. Social Media Blast Get Ready for Sunday | October 20, 2013 This Sunday’s Gospel will encourage us to be persistent. We know we get results when we are persistent in our exercise regimen, athletic training, and practice of a musical instrument. It’s the same way in our relationship with God. When we are persistent in our prayer and participation in the Mass and the Sacraments, we get a very special result: grace, strength, and courage. Let us be persistent! Masses or the Lord’s Day at Saint Catherine Laboure Church, are Saturday at 4:30 p.m., and Sunday at 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 7:00 p.m. See you in Church!
  53. 53. Penance Service • The Rite of Rite of Reconciliation of Several Penitents with Individual Confession and Absolution • Communal Proclamation of Praise • Environment
  54. 54. Holy Thursday Morning Prayer • The Liturgy of the Hours • Don’t have to invent something!
  55. 55. Catechetical Methodology Liturgical Catechesis by Marianne Cuthbertson and Caroline Farey http://www.thesowerreview.com/Subscribers/Files/File/pp14-16_Catechetical_methodology.pdf Liturgy, Catechesis, and Conversion by Barbara Morgan http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/bmorgan_catech1_oct05.asp
  56. 56. Questions | Insights | Comments
  57. 57. Teaching the Sacred Liturgy to Children Liturgical Catechesis and Formation Information and Preparation Celebration and Participation Vocation and Transformation