- As you enter the building collect a Mass Sheet from one of the welcomers, as this has the hymns and prayers you will need to assist the children.
- As you enter the church help your child to bless themselves, with the sign of the cross, from the holy water stoop. This reminds them that they are baptised and have a rightful place here with us.
- Before entering your seat encourage your child to genuflect (lower one’s body briefly by bending one knee to the ground, keeping the back straight) typically in worship or as a sign of respect. We genuflect to the Tabernacle, where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. The Blessed Sacrament is another name for Holy Communion, the Real Presence of Christ in his Body, Blood Soul and Divinity. The Tabernacle is always veiled, and a red lamp burns above it to indicate the Real Presence of Christ amongst us.
- Encourage your child to kneel and say a prayer in their hearts in preparation for Holy Mass, then sit quietly, showing good example (no phones!) and wait for Mass to begin.
MASS BEGINS – THE INTRODUCTORY RITE
- Stand when you hear the bell and help your child to follow the words of the hymn on the Mass Sheet.
- Encourage your child to make the sign of the cross with the priest and to make the response; ‘and with your spirit.’
- The next part of the Mass is the Penitential Rite when we call to mind our wrong doings. There are three versions of this rite. A) The ‘I Confess’ prayer, during which we beat our breasts three times. Again, you can help the children to this. B) We repeat the ‘Lord have Mercy’ after the priest and C) We make the responses on the Mass Sheet. The children should play an active part in this to build confidence and good practise in the faith.
- Pray The Gloria. This is said on Sundays expect during Advent & Lent, which are penitential seasons of the Church. The Gloria is printed on the Mass Sheet.
- The Collect (or Opening Prayer) The priest will invite us to pray; “Let us pray” Then there is a moment of silence whilst we bring into our minds the things, we want to offer this Mass for. Again, remind the children to have an intention for Mass. Then the priest collects all these intentions with The Collect.
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
- The First Reading is usually taken from the Old Testa-ment. At the end of the reading the response to ‘The Word of The Lord’ is ‘Thanks be to God.’ It is printed on the Mass Sheet.
- Next, we pray one of the one hundred and fifty Psalms. The response to the Psalm is always announced and printed on the Mass Sheet. Please pray the re-sponse and encourage your little one to join in.
- The Second Reading is usually taken from the New Testament. At the end of the reading the response to ‘The Word of The Lord’ is ‘Thanks be to God.’ It is printed on the Mass Sheet.
- The Gospel Acclamation is next, and this too is on the Mass Sheet. We now stand for the Gospel.
- As the priest announces the Gospel (the responses are printed on the Mass Sheet) all present bless their fore-head, lips, and heart by mak-ing a small cross with the right thumb. May the Lord be in my head, on my lips and in my heart, that I may think of Him, speak of Him and love Him always.
- After the Homily are the Prayers of the Faithful; the response and Hail Mary prayer are printed on the Mass sheet.
- The Creed. Please encour-age your child so say The Creed and to bow from the waist at the appropriate time. This is printed in the Mass Sheet.
LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST
- Please help the children to sing the offertory hymn and our gifts of bread, wine and monies are brought to the Altar.
- The priest prepares the gits of bread and wine and then invites all present to pray with him. The response is printed in the Mass Sheet. Again, please encourage the children.
- Now begins the Eucharistic prayer. First The Preface with its responses (on the Mass Sheet) then the Holy, Holy prayer (sometimes called The Sanctus) after which we KNEEL. As a mark of reverence and respect, once we have knelt. could we try and not use the toilet, or move around the church, until we all stand at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer. During this prayer the Bread and wine presented be-come Jesus’ Body and Blood. Bells and the gong reminding that this is the most important part of the Mass.
- After the Great Amen at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, we stand and pray the Lord’s Prayer. Please encourage the children to say the Lord’s Prayer with us and to offer their neighbour a sign of peace when invited to do so.
- We pray the ‘Lamb of God’ prayer together and kneel once more. The prayer is printed in the Mass Sheet.
- During Holy Communion, please bring your child forward for a blessing and encourage them in prayer when they have returned to their places. A child’s prayer book or a children’s missal might help with this. Please lead by example by not sending your child alone for a blessing.
- Again, please encourage your child to make the sign of the Cross as the priest gives the blessing, and remain in place singing the final hymn, until the priest has left the church.
- After the hymn, as you leave your seat, remember to genuflect (lower one’s body briefly by bending one knee to the ground, keeping the back straight) typically in worship or as a sign of respect. We genuflect to the Tabernacle, where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved.
- As you leave the church, help your child to bless themselves, with the sign of the cross, from the holy water stoop.
Because of diocesan safeguarding rules please never allow the children to use the toilets unattended.