Sometimes, moreover, if the place itself and the nature of the community permit, it will be appropriate to celebrate the Liturgy of the Word, including a homily, with the children in a separate, but not too distant, room. (Directory for Masses with Children, 1973).

St. Matthias offers Children’s Liturgy of the Word programs for both preschool-aged children and those from Kindergarten through 4th grade. These programs; SALT: Sharing and Learning Together and FISH: Friends in Service to Him, are offered on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Sunday’s of the month during the 10:30 am Mass. At the beginning of Mass, the Reader will announce the program to the congregation.

S.A.L.T: Sharing and Learning Together

Drop off child care and catechesis during the 10:30 am Mass will begin on Sunday, August 26, 2018! As we welcome everyone back from summer holidays, we are excited to provide families with young children the ability to drop off their preschool-aged children for religious instruction and free play while the rest of the family attends Mass. To participate, simply bring your toilet-trained child(ren) to Room 1 of the Preschool Building (the classroom nearest the playground) at 10:15 am on Sunday, August 26th, to sign in.

This program is being developed in response to popular request, and relies entirely upon volunteers to prepare learning materials and care for the children. We trust that families who benefit from the program will participate accordingly. If you’d like to volunteer, contact Sabrina Harper. The frequency with which we will offer it will depend on volunteer response.

F.I.S.H: Friends in Service to Him Program

Beginning on Sunday, September 23rd, our FISH program will again be offered during the 10:30 am Mass. Children are dismissed by the community with a blessing after the Reader introduces the catechist. Volunteer catechists lead these sessions which include prayer, an exploration of thematic topics related to the Gospel reading for the day, and a simple craft or activity designed to engage the children. They return to the Church during the Offertory Procession. After receiving a blessing from the presider, they return to their families for the Eucharistic Prayer and remainder of Mass.

Children who choose not to participate in this program are invited to follow along with Mass using the MagnifiKid! Resource which is provided each week (found on the book cart along the back wall of Church).

Parent volunteers lead FISH each week. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can help lead, please contact Sabrina.

F.I.S.H. will include basic elements from a traditional Children’s Liturgy of the Word format, but with a few changes:

  • Children will be dismissed with their catechist at the same time, with the announcement that the Reader makes and the Blessing Song.
  • Children will read and review scripture readings pertaining to weekly themes (instead of reading the same Gospel readings from mass), with corresponding handouts. This will change the format from one that was liturgy based to one that is more catechetical in nature.
  • After the scripture reading, there will be a short project-based activity to help illustrate that week’s theme. Sample activities include: Making crayon rubs of seasonal objects for the Creation Story, decorating a shamrock to represent the Holy Trinity, writing down things we are grateful for and lacing them into “thank you” necklaces, etc. All of the supplies will be provided for you.
  • Children will return to their families after the Creed and Prayers of the Faithful, but will walk in with the offertory procession and be blessed by the priest, as a welcome back into the Mass.
  • Youth leaders are encouraged to sign up to help each Catechist lead the sessions.   We would like to have this type of youth leadership built into the program to encourage older youth to participate in leadership opportunities within the St. Matthias Community.
    All materials will be provided, we simply need your time and talent, and the help of any others who love to teach children!
Catechists

Our volunteer catechists are trained in the parish and encouraged to attend workshops for their own enrichment and to earn credit towards Basic Catechetical Certification (see Sabrina for more information). Catechists for FISH are scheduled with the other liturgical ministers, on a quarterly basis.

Safe Environment

Each year, we act in accordance with national mandates implemented in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People for fingerprinting and/or background checks of all catechists and volunteers who have regular contact with young people. Also, all catechists and volunteers are required to complete an online course called, “Protecting God’s Children” before they begin their ministry and is renewed every three years.

Also, each year children will be guided through the “Empowering God’s Children Program” designed for specific age groups which provide a theme that introduces and builds on the basic concepts of the Teaching Boundaries and Safety Guide. The material is developmentally appropriate for each age group and includes content and activities that reinforce the message.

More information about these programs and materials will be made available to families in the fall.