CELEBRATING MASS WITH FAMILIES AT EASTERTIME
Guidelines for parish teams – and all involved in liturgy
Prepared by the Dublin Diocesan Liturgy Commission
THE EASTER SEASON
A Fifty Day Celebration
The celebration of Easter is prolonged throughout the Easter season. The fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday are celebrated as one feast day, the “great Sunday”.
The Sundays of Easter have precedence over all feasts of the Lord and over all solemnities.
“Easter is not simply one feast among others, but the Feast of feasts, the Solemnity of solemnities, just as the Eucharist is the Sacrament of sacraments (the Great Sacrament). St Athanasius calls Easter the Great Sunday and the Eastern Churches call Holy Week the Great Week. The mystery of the Resurrection, in which Christ crushed death, permeates with its powerful energy our old time, until all is subjected to him.” Catechism of the Catholic Church. 1169.
The singing of the Alleluia expresses the characteristic joy of these days
The Fifty Days
Paschal time can be likened to a great symphony. The predominant melody, the Easter Alleluia, is joyous and enthusiastic, announcing victory over death, the promise of a new life, the presence of the risen Lord. These themes resound for a full fifty days.
The movements of this symphony can be described as:
journeying together and sharing gifts
meditating on the Paschal gospels
celebrating the eucharist
serving and witnessing through works of charity
living in the community of the risen Christ
Celebrating the Sunday Gospel with Children Gather round the Table of the Word: pause for a moment to quiet down, ready to listen. Sing an Alleluia song. Proclaim the gospel passage for the group. Repeat the Alleluia song. Share ideas, reflections from the gospel story. Some starter ideas are to be found in the following. Strive always to make the discussion life-centered and where possible, suggest some kind of Christian outreach to others.
Hand out an appropriate symbol and ensure that the children have made the connection with the Gospel passage.
Take time for prayer: quiet, intercessory, litany-type, spontaneous, prepared, etc.
THE SUNDAY READINGS YEAR C
Acts. 10:34, 37-43. Ps. 117. Co13 :1-4 or 1 Cor 5:6-9. Jn 20:1-9
The human reactions of the disciples to the new
Activities The Churchs greatest visual aid is present, the Paschal Candle. All the symbolic elements can be explained. The children will have met some of this in the school text “Children of God” series. Renewal of Baptism and sprinkling with the Easter water can be features of the morning.
Acts. 5:12-16. Ps. 117. Apoc. 1:9-13,17-19.
Eight days later Jesus came in. The Risen Christ is the object of the faith of Christians. The reality of the historical person and his glorification is witnessed to by the apostles.
Activities PEACE, FAITH, COMMUNITY. These are words for today. Discussing the nickname of “Doubting” Thomas can lead to understanding the apostles fears. What is it like to be afraid?
The sign of peace can be explained in terms of Jesus’ greeting
Acts. 5:27-32,40-41. Ps. 29. Apoc.5:11-14. Jn. 21:1-19
When they came ashore, Jesus took the bread and gave it to them.
By the Sea of Tiberias Peter makes his protestation of love and is appointed as a shepherd of the flock. He becomes a witness of the resurrection
Activities . The action of the fishing story can be played out. Have cut out fishes that can be taken home. Jesus uses the sharing of food to heighten friendship and share forgiveness as we do in family meals and in Holy Communion.
Fourth Sunday of Easter
Acts.13:14,43-52.Ps.99. Apoc. 7:9, 14-17. Jn. 10:27-30
When they came ashore, Jesus took the bread and gave it to them. By the Sea of Tiberias Peter makes his protestation of love and is appointed as a shepherd of the flock. He becomes a witness of the resurrection . The action of the fishing story can be played out. Have cut out fishes that can be taken home. Jesus uses the sharing of food to heighten friendship and share forgiveness as we do in family meals and in Holy Communion.
I give eternal life to the sheep that belong to me.
Activities Focus on shepherd and sheep. What are the qualities of a good shepherd that appeal to Jesus? What does the following of Jesus involve? What are bishops? What is a vocation?
Be aware of the effects on others of the witness of your lives. Show tha Gods sevice is a noble vocation that demands faith, courage and self-sacrifice. i am sure that such qualiities are to be found among the young. To them I say: Be certain that Christs call to the priesthood or religious life is addressed to some of you. Be certain that is you listen to his call and follow him in the priesthood or religious life, you will find great joy and happiness. Be generous, take courage and remember his promise, “My yoke is easy, and my burden light”. Pope John Paul II
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts. 14:21-27. Ps.144. Apoc. 21 :1-5.Jn.13:31-33,34-35. I give eternal life to the sheep that belong to me. Focus on shepherd and sheep. What are the qualities of a good shepherd that appeal to Jesus? What does the following of Jesus involve? What are bishops? What is a vocation?
I give you a new commandment: love one another. What is the meaning of love in Christs new commandment. Why is it a sign of the community?
The commandment of love is for the creation of the new city of God. Here on earth we meet the causes of mourning and weeping. Mutual love helps to alleviate the burden, and eliminates many of the causes. Love shown in the members of the Church enables the community to be seen as disciples of Christ.
Activities The phrase “Love one another” can be used in cut-outs, or banners or bookmarkers.
The children can be given a page which begins “Love is.,” and be asked to fill in the following lines with ways of showing love at home and school. How do we identify people e.g. students, policemen, doctors, soldiers etc. We identify Christians by their Love.
Sixth Sunday of Easter
Acts. 15:1-2,22-29. Ps. 66. Apoc. 21 :10-14,22-23. In.14:23-29.
The Holy Spirit will remind you of all that I have said to you.
It is not the work of the Holy Spirit to bring new revelations, but rather “to bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” New understandings, new interpretations, new applications of the revelation made through Jesus Christ are the promise. In changing times the community will have peace and will not be afraid, for the Spirit comes to help.
Activities . Discuss the loneliness that comes when someone we love goes away. What helps to console us? The gift of the Holy Spirit is Jesus consolation for us. How is the Holy Spirit active in the world? Prepare newspaper stories that illustrate. Who are our best friends?
Remind them of Ascension Day this coming week.
Acts 1 :1-11. Ps. 46. Eph.l :17-23. Mt. 28:16-20.
“The Ascension of Christ means our own salvation as well; where the glorious Head has gone before, the body is called to follow in hope. Let US therefore exult, beloved, as is fitting, and let us rejoice in devout thanksgiving. St Leo the Great.
Seventh Sunday of Easter
Acts 7:55-60. Ps. 96. Apoc. 22:12-14.16-17,20. In.17:20-26.
May they be completely one. II
As our high-priest now ascended and before the Father, Jesus prays for our unity. That unity is necessary if the world is to believe in Christ, for his work of reconciliation must always be the work of the Church.
Activities Prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit can be encouraged this week. The themes of heaven and the unity of the Church might also be explored.
Balloons or candles can be distributed to remind us of the coming birthday of the Church and the flames of fire of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:1-11. Ps.103. Rom. 8:8-17. In.14:15-16.23-26.
The holy Spirit will teach you everything. Readings for Year A may also be used
“The Church was made manifest to the world on the day of Pentecost by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Spirit ushers in a new era in the dispensation of the mystery – the age of the ¬Church, during which Christ manifests, makes present and communi¬cates his work of salvation through the liturgy of his Church until he comes.
In this age of the Church Christ now lives and acts in and with his Church, in a new way appropri¬ate to this new age. He acts through the sacraments in what the common Tradition of the East and the West calls the sacramental economy; this is the communication (or dispensation) of the fruits of Christs Paschal mystery in the celebration of the Churchs sacramental liturgy.” Catechism of the Catholic Church. 1076
Activities Posters with tongues of fire attached can be used today. Collages of the fruits and gifts of the Spirit can be created.
Flame coloured streamers can be used to image the wind and fire of the Spirit.
Greetings in as many languages as possible can be given – its surprising how many we know!