SR. NANCY USSELMANN, FSP
We are living in unprecedented times. If you are in a state with the “stay at home” mandate because of COVID-19, then you may have your children home from school all day long trying to find ways to keep them occupied. With stores closed, schools closed, and churches closed, you may wonder:
What to do now? How do I keep the family’s sanity and their faith experience alive during these times?
We may feel stressed just thinking about it. Life can get frustrating when we are forced out of our daily routines for several weeks. Much is at stake — not only our family’s health— but also our financial situations.
Challenging times call us to turn to God with greater faith and trust and to help our children to do the same. Praying together as a family is a wonderful way to calm the anxious, temper the overactive, encourage the pious and focus the distracted.
With Sunday and daily Masses going to live-streaming and families called upon to build up their “domestic church” by praying together, there are numerous possibilities to make that happen.
Thank God for technology and social media! You probably never thought you would be saying that, but, yes, thank God for the ability to connect virtually with others when we are isolated. Watch and participate together in the live-streamed Mass as if you are present in Church, verbally saying the responses out loud as a family.
Virtual Eucharistic Adoration with Children
Praying before Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration is another way to lead our families through this worldwide crisis. Our world needs prayers. Doing this with children helps them appreciate the gift of the Eucharist and instructs them in the value of silence in our noisy lives.
There are many social media sites that are offering live-streamed Eucharistic Adoration with guided prayers for people to follow along from home. But there are also sites that provide visuals and audio guides on making a virtual “Visit with Jesus.”
Below is a guide to doing this with children at home providing quiet time while also praying for the needs of the world.
This is a simple method that you can use over and over again with adaptations. A wonderful printed resource for Eucharistic Adoration with children is also available following somewhat the same format. So, let’s get started!
Create the Setting
Create a setting for prayer. Set up a large TV monitor with a small table underneath. Put the open Bible on the table with two candles on either side.
Connect your digital devise to the monitor and from this Adoration Guide site stream the visuals of Jesus in the Monstrance with music only on a loop. Or try these here with the camera focused on a live feed of the Blessed Sacrament in the Monstrance.
Request the children to kneel, if they are able, on the floor in front of the screen with the image of our Eucharistic Lord. Or bow their heads once, and then sit reverently.
Adoration — We Adore Jesus
- Begin with the Sign of the Cross. If you wish you can sing a Eucharistic song together such as “Godhead Here in Hiding” or another hymn.
- Guide the children with this invitation: We come here before Jesus truly present in the Eucharist. He shares his very life with us and invites us to spend time with him, our truest Friend. We open our hearts to Jesus as we pray (this or a similar prayer):
Jesus, my Lord, I believe you are here before me.
I love you!
You are my All.
You are so great. I adore you!
Every good gift comes from you. I thank you!
Help me spend this time with you. Amen.
- Ask each of them to offer an intention out loud for which they want to pray. Help them think of the needs of the world beyond themselves and their desires.
- Pray together:
Jesus, I am so happy to be with you!
I want to listen to your Word to me.
Please open my mind and heart to your Holy Spirit.
Jesus Our Truth
- If kneeling, ask the children to now sit on the floor before the screen. Invite them to picture themselves in the scene of the Gospel as it’s being read.
- Read a passage from Scripture. (Suggestions: John 4:1-30 The Samaritan Woman; Luke 10:25-37 The Good Samaritan; Luke 7:1-10 Centurian’s Servant is Cured; Matthew 15:32-39 Loaves and Fish)
- Ask them: What was it like putting yourself in the scene with Jesus? What did Jesus say or do? What did those with Jesus say or do? What did we learn from this Gospel?
Jesus Our Way
- Let us say “Thank You” to Jesus for his many gifts and blessings in our lives. Each child can say one thing for which they are most grateful to God.
- Every good gift comes from God to us. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that he desires our happiness. Let us thank him for all the good things he gives us. Let us pray together: Glory be to the Father…
- Now that we heard what Jesus teaches, let us ask ourselves if we act in the way Jesus wants us to.
- Examen: How have I loved like Jesus today? How have I not? Did I get angry? If so, did I say, “I’m sorry?” What can I do to be more like Jesus? (You can lead them in asking similar questions that apply to their daily lives.)
- Every time we sin, we hurt Jesus. Let us ask him for his forgiveness for those times we were not our best selves. Say together an Act of Contrition that the children may know or use this traditional one:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace to sin more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.
Jesus Our Life
- Jesus comes to our hearts and gives us the grace to live with him and for him in our everyday lives. Jesus says, “Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find.” Let us now pray for our needs and the needs of the world.
- Invite the children to say their petitions aloud. Response: Lord, hear our prayer.
- Close the adoration time with a familiar hymn.
Sr. Nancy Usselmann, FSP, is a Daughter of St. Paul and the director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Los Angeles. She is a media literacy education specialist, speaker, theologian, and film reviewer. Her book is a theology of popular culture entitled, A Sacred Look: Becoming Cultural Mystics.