An excerpt from Our Catholic Family
Before-Mass Car Talk
Use the time in the car before Mass to “prime the pump” so that the family will have something to look for or listen for in the Sunday Mass.
The following questions may help. They do not all apply to every Mass, but are general questions which can help children to get ready to understand something from the Mass, to learn something from the homily, to participate in some way with more attention.
- What season of the year are we in? (spring, summer, fall, winter)
- What season of the Church year are we in? (Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Ordinary Time)
- What color vestment do you think the priest will be wearing? Why? (Read the post on “Learning Liturgical Colors and the Ranks of Liturgical Feasts.”)
- What decorations are in the church? Do you remember seeing any last Sunday?
- What is your favorite stained-glass window in church?(Occasionally take time after Mass, preferably a few times a year, to look at the windows and the statues, so that your child becomes familiar with them and with the stories behind them. The Christmas Crib should be visited on Christmas Day and on each Sunday of the Christmas Season. The statues are almost life-sized, and a child can easily place himself or herself in the stable.)
- Who knows what we say when the priest says, “Lord, have mercy”? What does he say next? What do we say back?
[Quiz other Mass responses as well: the responses at the Preface, (“The Lord be with you.” “And with your spirit.” “Lift up your hearts.” “We have lifted them up to the Lord.”) or the Amen after “Through him, with him, in him,” when the priest holds up the large Host.]
- What reading is the Gospel reading? (the one we stand up for)
- Why do we stand up? (because it is about Jesus, the Son of God)
- What do you think Jesus will say or do in the Gospel today? Will he heal someone? Will he tell a story? Will he tell us how to live better? What do you think he will do today? What will he say to us today? Let’s listen hard and check back after Mass!
After-Mass Car Talk
- What color were the priest’s vestments today?
- What season of the Church year are we in?
- What story did Jesus tell in the Gospel? (or) What was the Gospel about today?
- What Gospel writer did we hear from today? (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John)
- What did Jesus say (or do) in the Gospel today?
- What joke did Father tell during the homily? What story did Father tell during the homily?
- Let’s all think of one thing Father said about the readings.
- Let’s all think of one thing Father suggested that we do to follow Jesus better.
- How can our family be better followers of Jesus?
- Who did you shake hands with at the Sign of Peace?
- [If Communion was received] Did you remember to thank Jesus for coming to you in Holy Communion? Did you tell Jesus anything special today?
- We all feel good about going to Mass. We know God loves us and cares about us, and we have received Jesus himself in Holy Communion. How are we going to share God’s love with one another? How are we going to share God’s love outside of our own family?
David Dziena and Gloria Shahin are the authors of Our Catholic Family: Activities, Conversations, and Prayer for Sharing Faith at Home.
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Book: Twenty-Third Publications