Children's Liturgy of the Word

Mary Immaculate Parish, Dumaguete City

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Books from St. Margaret Mary

We finally got a bit more organized and finished covering and doing the inventory of all books donated by the generous parishioners of St. Margaret Mary Parish of Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania. While Terry's and Maria's recent trip back there was for a sad occasion, this wonderful gift helped ease some of that sadness.

Shown here are most of the books and one music CD. Some of the books (lectionary guides) had been taken out by this month's CLOW presiders as their guide. All of them will be kept in a special CLOW cupboard at the church.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

CLOW Kids' Party - August 14

Everybody was excited about this opportunity to finally be able to talk and play with the others. Here, they're getting their name tags from Tita Mae.

Doing the "lumberjack handshake" as shown by Jufer and Kuya Ae, with Tita Ari helping.

Just before going home, but not before some had to leave early, the kids quickly posed for a photo when told that it would be sent to the good people of St. Mary Margaret Parish to thank them for all the books they had sent thru Tita Maria.

And these are the CLOW Leaders for August 14th, a fraction of the CLOW Team.

Standing: Ae, Lycar, KringKring, Treana, Ronald
Seated: Ruth Mae, Danah, Ari

Changes We've Done

As we mentioned before, the CLOW Team has instituted several small changes that we felt adds to the children's sense of belonging and caters to their need to participate in the "drama" that is the liturgy. Now, a child carries in the CLOW lectionary in the Opening Procession and places it on the altar below the "adult" lectionary.

Two kids pick up lit candles from the altar, the priest blesses everybody and gives the CLOW lectionary to the child who carried it in the Opening Procession, and the three children lead the rest to the Marian Hall. All this time, the community remains standing while singing the send-off song. They sit down for the readings after the children have left.

During CLOW, we've lately been singing the verses, too, and not just the responses for the Responsorial Psalm. Almost all the children now volunteer to play the percussion instruments we have. Since we only have 2 maracas and 2 tambourines at present, 2 sets of kids take turns: one set for the Psalm, another for the Gospel Acclamation. And then, when we finish earlier than the main church and have time for more songs, another batch of kids come to perform with the cantors.

When the kids go back inside the church, they have learned to keep the nave clear for the Offertory Procession. Making the sign of the cross when they get blessed with the holy water, has also become customary for them. It's a good thing that the priests, Fr. Balongag (shown here) and Fr. Flores, always make sure each and every one of them gets a good sprinkling.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sad News and Happy News

The CLOW Team sends its heartfelt condolences to the Havraneks for their sad loss. Terry’s dad suddenly died yesterday, apparently of a heart attack. As I write this, Terry, Maria, Treana and Theya are on their way back to the States for the funeral. Our love and prayers go out to you guys. Don’t worry; we’ll hold the fort while you’re away.

In fact, Ruth Mae has already gotten Fr. Balongag’s approval and support for the August 14 Children’s get-together after the 8:15 a.m. Mass. Plans for this were hatched during Jufer’s talk last week when someone pointed out that a few kids had dropped out or were not participating because they felt they “didn’t know” anybody. Apparently, some of the kids do not know the others either socially or from school, and felt they needed to “have a friend” there.

Since we only have a few minutes to do the CLOW every Sunday, we thought it might help all the children if we gave them a chance to get to know one another outside of the Mass. For this acquaintance-party-cum-team-building-workshop, Jufer is preparing several games while Leonard is in-charge of some special songs. Most important though, Fr. Balongag has assured the CLOW Team that he will help us get funding for the kids’ snacks on that day, for what’s a party without the food!

Below are the announcement that will be read after the Sunday Masses going up to August 14, and the signup sheet.

An Announcement from the Leaders of the Children’s Liturgy of the Word:

Good Morning!

We would like to inform the parents/guardians of kids 4-11 years old who come to the Children’s Liturgy of the Word that the CLOW Team is inviting the kids to a 2-hour get-together on Sunday, August 14, after the 8:15 AM Mass. We will be having snacks, games, singing, and fun.

This get-together is a long-delayed acquaintance party for the children. Our objective is to help them get to know each other – and the Leaders – outside of the Mass, so the kids can relax during CLOW and can fully participate in the liturgy.

We’re providing sign-up sheets at the back for your child’s name and your signature. Afterwards, these sheets will be kept in the Parish Office so you can also fill it in during office hours.

We hope your kids can be with us that day.

Thank you.

Sign-up sheet for August 14 CLOW Kids’ Get-Together

Child's name, nickname



Parent’s Name,Signature

Contact No.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

New Cantors!

Yehey!! We got volunteers for the music-making! The children seem to be more relaxed now, and not afraid to "make mistakes". So many hands went up when the presider, Ruth Mae (not in the photo) asked them who wanted to help the cantors. After the Mass, we were told by some parents that our music could be heard in the church, but it did not distract them from the homily. Instead, it "reassured" them that their children were doing fine at the back, hearing God's Word at their own level.

Here they're shown playing their instruments and singing the Responsorial Psalm, "Jesus is with us today, beside us to guide us today!...." Behind them are Maria, Chin-Chin, Leonard and the reader, Marianne.

To allow more children to participate, we tried to get a different set to help sing the Alleluia, but were only 50% successful; these two boys were just too eager and quick. We hope to get to know all (!) the children on August 14, at the get-together. Maybe then we'll be able to add names to their photos.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Jufer's Talk on Interacting With Children

In a bid to be "the best that we can be", we asked Jufer Villanueva to share his experiences in dealing with children while at Bradford Woods Outdoor Center, Indiana University. Since everybody's busy during the workweek, we scheduled it on a Wednesday, right after the 5:30 p.m. Mass. A few still could not make it but 8 out of 11 presiders were able to come.

Before that, though, we had to have a quick carbohydrate fix of juice and mamon to tide us over until our late suppers, so we could concentrate on the talk. Shown from left are: Monica, Maria, Ari, Lycar and Ruth Mae. Behind them are Leonard and Jufer. Ronald arrived a little later.

During Jufer's talk, Maria and Lycar shared their own experiences. Maria told everybody that she talked to Fr. Balongag right after the Mass and got his okey on the CLOW sharing to include other activities like drawing. She said that when she and her husband Terry used to facilitate Engagement Encounters in the U.S., they even went as far as constantly rearranging the entire set-up, moving the chairs and other furniture around, to keep these adults interested.

Leonard, on the other hand, shared his experiences handling Catechism classes this summer, when he would often start with a game to engage the children. At his request, we will research on whether or not the 1st Reading can be at times omitted to make more time for interaction with the children. [Yes, according to the guides, the leaders have the option of using one, two or three readings, for as long as the Gospel Acclamation and the Gospel are always included]

Everybody enthusiastically agreed to the changes/addition of other activities since we are all still trying to find our bearings. We welcome changes that would make CLOW more meaningful and yet more interesting and enjoyable for the children.

Ari, whose work has taken her away for months and who's trying to catch up on CLOW activities, listened intently as Jufer shared the following main points.

On Interacting With Children:
  • Create the environment. Visual elements, as well as the chance to make music and "do stuff" should be given prominence. It is most important, however, that the leaders themselves be enthusiastic and be full of energy because the children will quickly notice this and take their cue from it.
  • Framing. When the concept is too broad, get the children engaged by using elements, objects, events, even cartoon shows, with which they are more familiar.
  • Yes or No. To start the children participating in discussions, begin with questions that can be answered with either a Yes or a No. This lessens the "pressure" somewhat and success at answering these questions, is guaranteed to get them ready for more involved ones.
  • Simplify questions. Once the children's attention has been caught, and if there is a need for them, ask questions that are as simple as possible.
  • Be Creative. Working or interacting with children means the leaders have to be always on their toes. Being creative means "doing your homework" and being prepared.