Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Beginning the Catechetical Year with Meaningful Prayer

Last week I saw a request on an email group for DREs asking for ideas for an opening prayer for the first catechist meeting of the year.  I put on my "If I were doing this" hat and came up with this little plan, which has connections to liturgy, scripture and Christ the Teacher. Here is a fuller version of that prayer suggestion.

When catechists arrive, distribute their materials, including the class rosters. 

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Let us pray.
you bless your people with many gifts for the good of your community.
Be with us today as we  prepare to share the Good News 
of your Son Jesus Christ with the children of our parish.
Fill us with your spirit of love and awaken in our hearts a sure knowledge of you.
Grant that all we do here will be for their good.
We ask this through Jesus Christ your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you in the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. AMEN.

(GOSPEL: Matthew 19:13-15. Use a Bible or Lectionary and hold the book up as you carry it from the table to where you will stand)

A reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew.

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them,
but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Ask the catechists to reflect on how Jesus would have looked at the children and how he would have spoken to them. How would he have taught them if he spent time with them? Give them a short silence to do that. Then ask them to take out their class rosters and when all are ready, ask them to read aloud slowly the first names of the children who will be in their class - all at the same time. If you  have the ability to do so, project group photos of children and activities from the program from previous years on a screen while they are proclaiming the names. (h/t Sister Caroline Cerveny.)

Let us pray. 
Lord, you have called each of us by name. 
Grant, we pray, the things we ask for this night (morning/afternoon)

INTERCESSIONS - (Have a few ready - pray for the parish, the families, all catechists, etc... and invite them to pray for needs they know of.)

Our Father....

Let us offer one another a sign of Christ's peace.

Then, the meeting can begin. What has happened is that the catechists have been invited to love their young students and to call each by name. You might also invite them to keep a copy of their roster at home in their prayer space, and to pray for each child by name regularly. 


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