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Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Colors of the Church Year

It was wonderful to be back with the children in the atrium after having a week off. I am so grateful to have wonderful assistants who are willing to take the lead when I have to be away.

This week our group lesson was the Liturgical Colors. Click here to read a post from a few years ago about this lesson. In addition to the specific lesson about the colors of the Church year, we always add the current liturgical color to our prayer table. I think this is actually the best way for the children to learn why we use these colors. They enjoy setting up the prayer table so much. Certainly any learning activity that also brings joy will always be one that is best remembered.

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What you can do: If you have a prayer space at home, incorporate the colors of the season and talk about them with your child. When attending Mass, ask your child to notice the color of Fr. Leo's chasuble and Deacon Manny's Stole. Talk about how the natural year goes 'round and round' through the seasons and so does the Church year!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Silence


We had a smaller group in the atrium this morning. They were all working with purpose as they trickled in. Due to the fact that our atrium session is in between the masses, we run things a little different than is typical. Since the children come as far as 20 minutes apart from the first to the last, instead of coming in and sitting at the carpet right away, we have the children find some work to do when they arrive. Sometimes we have a group time after everyone arrives, sometimes not until the end of the day.

Today we gathered at the beginning of the morning to learn about a little girl I know who is very sick. I only told the children she is sick and can't always go to school and that we were going to make some cards for her to cheer her up. They happily went to work. In reality she has been suffering from cancer for over a year and her prognosis is grim. She used to go to the school where I work and her brother still does. They are also members at St. Mary's. Keep the Lynch family in your prayers.

At the end of the day we gathered together again to talk about silence. I asked the children what it means to be silent. They talked about being quiet with our mouths, our hands, our feet and our whole bodies. I asked if there were places we need to be silent. They came up with quite a list: the library, church, near a sleeping baby. We then practiced making silence for 10 seconds. This is not so easy for some of our friends! We also talked about listening and how it is difficult to listen when we are talking and being noisy. I asked the children to listen while they were silent and then some of them shared the things they heard: people talking, cars driving and even a heart beat!

We will continue practicing silence and will try to work on being silent for longer and longer times as the weeks progress. This lesson will directly tie in to another lesson I give during Advent when we discuss the prophet Isaiah. Stay tuned for that one!
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What you can do at home: practice making silence with your child. Do it at a time that your child is calm and is not in the middle of something else. Start short (5 or 10 seconds). Talk about what it means to be silent and then discuss the things you heard while you were being silent. Practicing this lesson at home for longer and longer periods will help your child know how to be still later when it is necessary: waiting in line, sitting in church, participating in group lessons. Most importantly it is through this stillness that we can often hear the small whisper of God!