Our focus is for parents of elementary-aged children: stage 2 according to both James Fowler’s stages of faith and Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development. Children begin understanding other’s perspectives to some extent. They may imitate friends and try ideas that other people have. They also waver between truth and fantasy. It is difficult to distinguish between the magical powers of superheroes and Santa Claus versus the miracles and grace of Jesus Christ. As parents, we can share the Biblical stories of Jesus’ life. Keep Jesus real! Stories of Jesus and his disciples teach truth and charity. The apostles, Jesus’ friends, were very important to him and important to the mission of the Church. Friends are important to your children as well. Jesus’ friends were less than perfect. They experienced trials and celebrations together. Take some time to talk to your child about his friends. When conflicts arise, ask her: “What would Jesus do?” How can your child and their friends grow together in faith as the incarnate Jesus did with his disciples? Be a model of trust, compassion, and forgiveness with your own friends and spouse. Children won’t always acknowledge it, but they are still imitating you and adopting your ideas.
The most amazing event in the universe takes place at every Mass: the Son of God himself comes upon our altars and dwells in our midst. It is the perpetual making present of the great act of our redemption. We are here to offer the Mass together with Jesus and others.
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal states that “the whole congregation of the faithful joins with Christ in confessing the great deeds of God and in the offering of sacrifice". CCC 1324: The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.
The Mass, Two Parts
The Mass is divided into two major parts; the Word and the Eucharist. This format has its roots in the beginning of Christianity from Luke’s account of the disciples’ journey to Emmaus in which Christ explained the scriptures to them and then revealed himself in the breaking of the bread (Luke 22:14-20). The New Testament reports the practice of reading and hearing apostolic writings in Christian communities. (Acts 2:42 & 1 Cor. 11:23-34) The Didache, written around the year 60 A.D., tells us of the structure of their Eucharist and by the year 150 A.D., the general structure of the Eucharistic liturgy was established. Justin Martyr writes that there were two readings by a lector, a homily by the priest, the bringing up of the gifts, the Eucharistic Prayer, the distribution of Communion and a collection.
The Mass, Our Church
In keeping with the format of the two parts of the Mass, note the candles set on either side of the ambo at the start of Mass. When we shift to the Eucharist part of the Mass, the candles near the ambo will be extinguished and the candles adorning the altar will be lit.
Notice also the statues on either side of our church. As you are facing the altar, you will see the Holy Family on your right. The statue is greenish except for the scroll of scripture which is brown. This is to highlight the Word part of the Mass. On the opposite side of the church is the statue of St. Elizabeth Seton with a child. She is holding a brown loaf of bread in her arm to symbolize the Eucharist as she had a strong devotion to the Eucharist. Therefore, circles have been used throughout our church to remind us of the Eucharist. How many can you find?
Preparing for the Mass
We arrive early to settle into quiet reflection with Jesus. In the previous days, we have read the text for the Mass today. Now, we look over the readings once more to refresh our memories. What is Jesus trying to tell you? Listen.
Sitting, Standing, Kneeling
Standing is the posture of reverence and prayer while kneeling is the posture of worship and humility.