The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

On the Spot: The Purpose of the Liturgy of the Word for Children

Authored by Amette Ley in Issue #29.4 of The Sower
This feature aims to highlight some of the complex positions, questions and comments experienced by catechists, teachers and parents. It tries to outline the knowledge necessary to be faithful to Church teaching and which will best help those we teach who call us to account for the hope that is in us (cf I Peter 3:15). In this issue, On the Spot looks at some of the questions raised by those helping to celebrate a Liturgy of the Word for Children on Sundays. Louisa is a young mother with two small children, a part-time job and a non-Catholic husband who usually attends Mass with her. Recently, the parish priest has approached her to see if she will help on Sunday mornings with the Liturgy of the Word for Children (henceforth LWC). Louisa was unsure. In talking it over with her, it became apparent that her concerns fell into three main areas: She was not sure of the purpose of the liturgy of the word for children. She was not sure if she would be able to prepare suitable material or to control the children effectively. She was not sure of how participating in this way would affect her own family’s faith development. The parish priest, of course, did not put her ‘on the spot’; Louisa was fortunate in having time to think about it and to discuss it with her family and other people who were able to advise her. Having decided to take part in this, at least occasionally, Louisa was more conscious of the misconceptions and concerns of other parents concerning the liturgy of the word for children. When talking with Louisa, it became apparent that it was first necessary to deal with what the LWC was not—before we could consider its proper purpose.

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