“Gather the Children” allows young children in Grades One and Two the opportunity to learn how to worship at Mass. It is a children’s Liturgy of the Word, a replication of the adult Liturgy of the Word offered in language that children can understand. In prior years, we invited forward children in Grades One through Four to dismiss for children’s Liturgy of the Word. However, we learned by feedback from our prayer leaders and consultation with other parishes that children in Grades Three and Four are old enough to understand the readings, prayers, and homily in the adult Liturgy of the Word. Also, some of the older children tended to be a disruptive presence and therefore not a good example to the younger children. The inclusion of Grades Three and Four also made the group size too large for a single group leader and one aide. This year, we are inviting only children in Grades One and Two for children’s Liturgy of the Word. Parents of children in preschool and kindergarten are encouraged to register their preschool and kindergarten children in Sunday School, which happens during the 11 a.m. Mass. Registration for Sunday School is in the drop down menu under Formation.
The purpose of Gather is to create an optimal experience for children to be formed by the scriptures. Children eligible to participate are invited to come forward with their adult leaders after the opening prayer at the 11 a.m. Mass. They receive a blessing from the presider or attending deacon and then they walk to the Music Room in The Commons which has been set up as a prayer space. The adult leader proclaims the scripture readings. Because their attention spans are short, the children have an opportunity to engage in a “dialogue homily” about what they heard proclaimed to them through the Scripture readings. They sing a responsorial psalm, pray the Creed, which is adapted for their level of understanding, and pray the Prayers of the Faithful before rejoining their families in the adult assembly.
Gather the Children Photos