Children's Liturgy of the Word (CLOW)
CLOW instructs and guides our youngest members of the parish in the Sunday readings, explaining to them what the Word means and how it affects us in today's world, in our daily lives, and the lives of others. Our catechist is VIRTUS trained.
CLOW meets during the readings and before the offertory during 10:30 Sunday Mass. When PSR is in session, it meets the second through the last Sunday of the month; the remainder of the year, it meets weekly. CLOW does not meet on Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday, or during the Parish Anniversary Mass.
The instructions used for the lessons come from weekly readings from the Order of St. Benedict, from St. Louis University, and from Creighton University. The catechist takes one or two points and breaks it down to a child's level of understanding. The lessons are very gentle.
During Mass, just before the readings, the children gather with their catechist before the altar for a blessing. They process (in a fashion) to the Guadalupe Room. Once in the room, a candle is lit to symbolize the presence of the Holy Spirit, that He might guide the catechist and help the children in their lesson. The children sit on chairs, and not too close together, so that they can focus on the stories.
They begin with prayer, including helping children with the Sign of the Cross. The children are asked, "What would you like to say to God today?" This increases their understanding that God is a real being and He is interested in our lives. Very often, they pray for their moms and dads, their pets, someone who is sick, etc. The catechist prays last, and then the children pray for all the people who take care of them: doctors and nurses, moms and dads, grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, babysitters, teachers, police and firefighters, the military. Lastly, they pray for the parish family, Father George, Father Gonser (our founding pastor), and those who may not have someone to pray for them. And more.
Then comes the reading. It is always the gospel which highlights Jesus' ministry. The catechist breaks it down, and explains the "big words," and the concepts that the Church is trying to teach for that week such as to obey their parents, be kind to others, pray, and so on. They children are asked questions during the story (e.g., "who is the story about") to help them pay attention and remember what they hear.
When the lesson is over, the children are told "This is the Word of the Lord." They take leaflets home so they can review them with their family during the week. They are thanked for coming and invited to come back. They rejoin their families at the beginning of the offertory.
How Can I Help?
All volunteers 18 and over who may come in contact with children must be VIRTUS trained. VIRTUS is a nationally recognized program to train those who minister, work and volunteer on how to identify signs of sexual abuse in children. Kelly Reed, our PSR principal, hosts VIRTUS training once a year in the fall for new teachers/volunteers/employees. People who miss this session can find other opportunities to take the training on the VIRTUS website.
Our catechist could use an assistant or two! It would be helpful to have someone who is willing to take children back to their parents if the need arises. Additionally, sometimes children need to use the restroom, and an escort would be helpful.
Who Do I Contact?