“For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord, you are light.
Live as children of light.”
In this time of global pandemic, we take our mission very seriously, we continue to support catechists, parents, and others in the Church and beyond, as they grow in their understanding of the religious potential of children.
We believe the most valuable service that we can offer during this time is to help families pray with their children at home and so continue to assist children and adults live a common religious experience in which the religious values of childhood, primarily those values of contemplation and enjoyment of God are celebrated.
This page it to support children parents and families at home and catechists in their communities and parishes and schools. We are adding to it weekly (sometimes daily)!
We see the schools and businesses closing and going online to keep as many people at home as possible What shall be done when an atrium closes for this pandemic? Could this be an opportunity to live our purpose in a new way! Our purpose to assist the involvement of children and adults in a common religious experience in which the religious values of childhood, primarily those values of contemplation and enjoyment of God, are predominant. While this happens in the atrium environment, could we take some time to focus on another very important environment, the “domestic church.” The term “Domestic Church” refers to the family, the smallest body of gathered believers in Christ. Though recovered only recently, the term dates back to the first century AD. The Greek word ecclesiola referred to “little church.” The early Church understood that the home was fertile ground for discipleship, sanctification, and holiness.
Within the life of the family, this “domestic church,” we find the first and privileged place of evangelization. Here the first experience of the Christian community is lived. Here the parents are “the first heralds of the faith” (LG, #11). Here is the fundamental environment where a “sense of God’s loving presence is awakened and faith in Jesus confessed, encouraged and lived.” (GDC 177) It is important, therefore, that we help parents with their responsibility to nourish their child’s faith during this time when we are facing COVID-19. How can we help parents understand and care for the spirituality of their children very seriously, recognizing that in the faith life of children, great care must be given so that they may be nurtured for a life lived in communion and solidarity with God and His people.
Let me share with you a moment of life within the domestic church of a family in my parish. Nate has just celebrated his First Reconciliation. He walks toward his mother who waits for him at the Baptismal Font where she, once again, vests him in a white garment as she did on the day of his baptism. They hug each other closely and return to their family. His mom whispers to him : “Nate what did you feel?” He answered right away with his beautiful, brown eyes wide open in amazement: “I felt the Holy Spirit!!!! “ Nate kneels and continues to pray. At the end of the celebration, as the family readies to leave, Nate, still in his white garment, stands before his mother and places his hands on her knees, then on her legs and then around her body. She catches his hands and asks :”Hey hey, what are you doing?” He says again with his enchanting, resplendent smile and eyes wide open. “I am giving you, all around you, some of the light of Christ that I have with me.” Nate knows deeply that he is a child of the Light! And he shares this with his family freely. Nate’s mom sees how we can witness what she calls this “astounding encounter” between God and the child. May we not forget the meeting of these two mysteries in this moment in time, remembering that there is so much that happens in the other 9,960 minutes of the child’s life outside of the atrium and within the life of the family.
For the 3-6 year old child:
- Pray a litany of thanks by listing gifts of the day.
- Take time in silence to draw about God or about a favorite work from the Atrium.
- Make a set of Prayer Cards and/or Scripture Cards for your home. See a list of recommendations in Resources below.
For the 6-12 year old child:
- Make a set of Maxims for your home. These Scriptures can be learned by heart, looked up in the bible, used as an examination of conscience, etc. See the full list of Maxims in Resources below.
- Find a place outside where you can sit for 10-15 minutes and journal about what you notice. What gifts is God giving you through the beauty of this day?
- Plan and lead weekly family prayer. (For 9-12 year old children, see Resources below.)
- Choose one work you remember from the Atrium and describe or draw it. Why do you remember this material? How was it a gift to you? How is it a gift to you today?
- Create a handwritten journal recording the events, activities, emotions, and gifts of each day. What Scripture did you ponder? What Maxim did you work on living well? How did you listen for and follow the voice of the Good Shepherd?
- With your family, gather for silence, to read Scripture, and to sing.
- Make a set of Prayer Cards and/or Scripture Cards for your home. See a list of recommendations below for both the 6-9 year old child and the 9-12 year old child.
The City of Jerusalem – COMING SOON!
The Last Supper – COMING SOON!
Holy Week at Home – COMING SOON!
The Resurrection – COMING SOON!
Baptism – COMING SOON!
Resources for Families from Liturgy Training Publications in both English and en español
- Daily Prayer
- Children and Family Prayer
- Liturgy of the Hours
- Living Word for Teens
- Reflections on Sunday Scriptures
- Free Virtual Conversations and Retreats
Opportunities for our catechists, from our catechists:
For the families of the children you serve:
- Pray for each child by name. If you have multiple sessions that comprise many children, you may have to divide this out over several days. Let families know they are being prayed for by name at least once a week.
- As families acclimate to the prayer table, they can also ask their child if they have any favorite stories from the Bible. They may enjoy reading these together. See a list of recommendations in Resources below.
- Take a few minutes to call your parents, check-in with them, ask them how they are doing, can we pray for you, do you need help finding resources, etc.
- Practice your observation skills. Find a place outside where you can sit for 10-15 minutes and journal about what you notice. Make note of what gifts God gave you through the beauty of this day.
- Children love mail! Send a short, handwritten note or postcard to the children.
Examples of Letters to Families
- A small postcard
- A note for families
- A Lenten letter for families with all three Levels of children
- For Level 3 Children
For Catechists who are seeking to find a work
You can find these playlists that hold multiple videos:
- Revisit the 2014 Celebration of the New Child and New Adult, we have a playlist of all the keynote speakers
- The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Symposia and the University of Notre Dame
Please consult your state and local government and public health authorities for the most up-to-date information about conditions in your immediate area.