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The first purpose of the opening movement of each session is to establish a sense of welcome and hospitality. The second purpose is to begin the session with the child's human experience, i.e. the child's "story." Have the Bible enthroned prominently in the room as the centerpiece for prayer.
Begin by asking the children a simple question.
Let them speak freely for some time, giving names and information about their neighbors. Then, begin to probe a little deeper. Use the responses they give to form questions that will broaden their concept of neighbor. Questions such as;
When someone asked Jesus the question, "Who is my neighbor?" He told them a story. Let's pray and listen to the story.
Gather the children in a circle with the Bible reverently enthroned in the middle. Catechist stands in a prayerful posture and prays with hands raised, inviting the children to do the same.
Let us pray.
Father and Creator of all people, we thank you for the beautiful human family you have made. Loving Spirit, help us to be good neighbors. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Children are seated. Catechist takes Bible from enthronement and proclaims reading. Be sure reading is marked in advance.
Proclaim the reading (Luke 10:25-37):
A reading from the Gospel of Luke…After the reading a brief period of silence follows. Then, the catechist asks the children these or similar questions:
After the children's initial response, read the reading again.
A reading from the Gospel of Luke…
The catechist makes a transition from reflection on the Scripture to discussion on the teaching of the Church.
"We are one human family" (Faithful Citizenship, no. 53). We all need to take care of each other. The Church has a word for our oneness (write the word on the blackboard):
Ask the children to describe the meaning of the word, solid. It may be described as "the same all the way through," or "whole, strong, one." Show examples of things that are solid. Bring to class a rock, a piece of wood, and other solid items. This is how God intended our human family to be: Solid.
Return to the adult gathering or return to the prayer circle
Once again use a litany prayer. Pray for those people named in the opening exercise and throughout the session. Catechist leads the litany and the children respond. Allow time for children to add their own neighbors to the litany. For example:
Let us pray. (Pause).
Father, our creator, we praise you for the diversity and goodness of all people. We pray now for our neighbors, particularly those in need.
Allow the children to offer additional intentions for other issues about which they are concerned.
Gathering our prayers into one, let us pray the prayer that Jesus taught us. Our Father…
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