Liturgy of the Word with Children
WHAT IS LITURGY OF THE WORD WITH CHILDREN?
When a parish celebrates the Liturgy of the Word with Children, the children are usually dismissed ritually after the Opening Prayer, and they return with the Procession with the Gifts. Often, though not always, a Dismissal Song is sung by the Assembly as the children are dismissed.
The Liturgy of the Word with Children includes all of the elements that we normally experience in the Liturgy of the Word at Mass:
- First Reading
- Responsorial Psalm
- There is usually no second reading
- Gospel Acclamation
- Gospel, a Scripture reflection
- General Intercessions.
Not every element is included every Sunday, but the Gospel of the day is always included. Sometimes there may be a Gospel drama where appropriate, and usually the Responsorial Psalm, and the Gospel Acclamation are sung. If time, there might be a song which ties in with the theme of the Gospel of the day. The presider for the Liturgy of the Word with Children leads a scripture reflection with the children – usually beginning with “What did you hear?” There are no arts and crafts at Liturgy of the Word with Children dismissals. The focus is on:
- the proclamation of God’s Word, in language that young children can easily understand,
- giving the children an opportunity to reflect on God’s Word and explore how it connects to their lives
- song (including movement or gesture where appropriate),
- and ritual action (e.g. dismissal procession, lighting of the candle, Gospel procession).
Readings are proclaimed from the Children’s Lectionary, which for the most part is a simpler version of the readings of the day for the adult assembly. The Children’s Lectionary is placed on the altar before Mass begins, and the presider of the Liturgy of the Word with Children usually walks in the opening procession, beside the second reader for the adult assembly.
When the children are dismissed for Liturgy of the Word with Children, the Children’s Lectionary is processed out of the church ritually, carried by the lector for the Liturgy of the Word with Children for that Mass.