Introduction: This is a meaningful prayer service to use during your first class or gathering of the year. Welcome children with the inspiring words of Pope Francis from his speech at World Youth Day and teach them about the importance of faith.
Preparation: Have an area for the children to sit in a circle facing the leader, and have pieces of paper and writing utensils ready for them to write on. If you like, display a photo of Pope Francis to help the children visualize.
LEADER: Welcome, children! Today we are beginning a journey of faith together. Many of our lessons on faith will come from the Bible, but we are going to begin by listening to the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis. Pope Francis speaks to millions of youth whenever they are gathered at World Youth Day events. He tells us how important Jesus Christ is in our lives.
READER: A quote from Pope Francis’ homily at World Youth Day: “Faith in Jesus Christ is not a joke; it is something very serious.”
Please repeat the following prayer: Lord help us to understand Jesus and learn more about Him.
ALL: Lord, help us to understand Jesus and learn more about Him.
READER: Pope Francis says, “Faith is whole and entire, not something that you water down.” Please repeat the following prayer: Lord, help us to become more whole in our understanding of faith.
ALL: Lord, help us to become more whole in our understanding of faith.
(Have a moment of silence and pass out paper and writing utensils.)
LEADER: Children, close your eyes now and think about what Pope Francis is saying and what Jesus means to you. Write down one way that you find Jesus in your life and one question you have about faith.
(Pause and let the children write down their thoughts. Ask them to hand in their papers to you so you can look at their questions and get a better idea of what types of things need to be explained during the class.)
LEADER: Let us gather together and praise Jesus.
(Have the children sit in a circle and repeat after you.)
LEADER: Lord, thank you for your love and blessing.
ALL: Lord, thank you for your love and blessing.
LEADER Lord, thank you for the opportunity to learn more about faith in this class.
ALL: Lord, thank you for the opportunity to learn more about faith in this class.
LEADER: Please bless me and allow me to grow closer to Jesus.
ALL: Please bless me and allow me to grow closer to Jesus.
This article was originally published in RTJ/Creative Catechist, September 2014.
Image Credit: Cheapbooks / Shutter Stock 706185520