Continued from The Challenge
When the young child can say this prayer, I look to him when it is time to say this prayer at Mass. For the children who receive Communion, they've been told that the Our Father includes "forgive us our trespasses" which has the effect of forgiving venial sins.
Action item: Do the children know and say every word of the Our Father? Do they feel confident enough to say it out loud at Church?
When I taught in a Catholic high school, I spent a lot of time “scolding” children who didn’t wear their uniform correctly. In order to walk in the classroom, I expected all buttons to be buttoned, ties up, jacket straight, shirts tucked in etc. During class, if a child loosened his tie, I asked him to put it back. I found that if I kept on these little things, bigger problems didn’t have a chance to emerge. Similar to keeping a garden weed free.
As a mother to little boys, I’ve asked that no one touch, lean on, or slump over the pew in front of us. Try to keep your legs straight with no S curves in the body. Hands together in front and when sitting, hands on your lap. To the little boys, I showed them how to get the bouncies out by moving their knees or shuffling their feet. (Please don’t think that I am very successful in attaining this posture. But, I continue to work on it with the children.)
Action item: Remind the children to practice good posture and what is expected.
Sign of the Cross
St. Francis de Sales suggests placing yourself in the presence of God when beginning your prayers.
St. John Vianney advises to begin everything with the sign of the Cross.
St. Bernadette is a good example. It was commonly remarked that her sign of the Cross was beautiful to behold, a foretaste of heaven.
Action item: During the week, routinely revisit the proper making of the sign of the Cross. So often our prayers begin with the sign of the Cross, a reverent beginning sets the tone for concentrated prayer.
Use of Holy Water
I like to think of a sacramental as similar to a catalyst. The sacramental is not a grace, it is not a s source of grace, it is not a channel of grace but it does aid in the distribution and reception of grace.
What is Holy Water?
Holy Water is water blessed by a priest with a solemn prayer to be God's blessing on those who use it and protection from the power of darkness.
Action item: Use this Q&A for this week's Catechism Friday.
The CCC reminds us that Holy Water recalls our Baptism. #1668
Talk about baptism and when the children make the sign of the Cross with the Holy Water, let them think about their baptism.
Action item: How?
This site has a lot of information on Holy Water which reminded me of the older practice of gaining an indulgence when entering the Church and making the sign of the Cross.
Action item: Instruct the concept of indulgence when entering the Church. How?
Fr. Hardon reminds us to use Holy Water in the home.
Action item: Make sure holy water fonts have holy Water. In fact, make sure there are holy water fonts. Ask a child to be in charge of bringing Holy Water home from Church on Sunday and make sure they fill the fonts.
I like the meditation we used at Mary Vitamin for entering the Church from St. Peter Julian Eymard:
- genuflect profoundly before the Blessed Sacrament remembering the visit of the Three kings.
- Then make an act of faith in the Real Presence in order to enkindle devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
- Finally offer your whole mind, heart, and body to the Lord so that the Eucharist may reign over you at all times.
- Since we are weak, he recommends doing all of this in union with the Blessed Virgin Mary.
St. Peter Juian Eymard, My Eucharistic Day, (Marytown Press)41.
Action item: Teach this to the children, How?
There are a few more posts to go. But, as I have been thinking about this question and implementing a few action items, something beautiful is happening. As I try to fit in little reminders and practices to help us get ready for Sunday Mass, our whole week is being influenced by the Sunday Mass.