Our local homeschool group decided that we wanted to offer Children’s Adoration at our home parish. We began and it has been a hit! Several friends were interested in it and in how we got started so I am going to try to put all of the information that I have in one place – this place – to make it easier to navigate.
This is basically what I wrote on Facebook previously but updated (see # 5):
So, here's some concrete steps to take.
1. Ask for a meeting with your pastor and tell him about your idea and choose a regular time. A priest will need to be around to expose and put the Blessed Sacrament back in the tabernacle but my pastor does not stay for the adoration.
2. Create a handout. Mine is linked at the bottom of the post. I wrote out literally EVERY word that I say – it may sound a little canned but it’s a stress reliever for me and also anyone can step in and lead with no notice at all. I tried to go for a combination of traditional prayers and then music and "guided silence" to give Christ and the kids a chance at having a more personal encounter. A lot of the people, kids and adults, have never been to adoration before. So guiding their mental prayer is critical for them to learn how to do it on their own. I think it was JPII who called for parishes to become "schools of prayer" and this is a great way to answer the call!
3. We do the guided prayer (following the handout) for the first 30 minutes of adoration. For the second half I bring a big pile of religious kids books and the families stay for different amounts of time. I play praise and worship music in the background to help cover up some of the kid-noise.
4. I bring my iPad (an iPod or even a boombox would work) and a small wireless speaker and play music from it.
5. We have the kids kneel/sit in a semi-circle around the Eucharist on the floor. Toddlers are usually wandering around, climbing up and down on the pews and babies are being babies. ALL families should be made to feel comfortable, especially those with so many littles that going out is a big chore most of the time. This is one of the rare experiences where the kids have the church to themselves and know that, as our pastor put it, “the House of God is their House also.” It’s beautiful – and sometimes a little chaotic. We try but our pastor says that “decorum will come with time.” So nobody needs to feel stressed or embarrassed. The more comfortable you are the more comfortable everyone will be.
6. We promoted it through the parish bulletin, the local homeschool group and the local Catholic school. We do ours at 4 pm, once a month (every week during Advent and Lent) and get a lot of school families, which is awesome! And of course the homeschoolers are out in force too.
The following are links to the materials we are using. There is also an Advent Handout that is brand-new – just finished today!
Ordinary Time Handout
I usually print the handout using the “Booklet” option in Print- Properties – Page layout.
All the music that we use during Ordinary Time is from The Praise Baby Collection’s God of Wonders - I think is "kiddy" enough to be appropriate but I really, really like it myself. In fact I listened to it for Cecilia's labor. It's the perfect blend of praise music but a little softer - which is good for adoration.
Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel
Mary, Did You Know?
Abide – from the album Held by Love
His Name Will Be Called – from the album Taken By Love
OK, that about wraps it up. I’ll update this post as we near to Lent and post a Lenten handout and music selections.
If you feel like you may be interested in starting this at your Church then DO prayerfully consider it. It’s such a concrete way to “bring Jesus” to people. Most of us bring Christ to the world in indirect ways through our daily life and of course, nothing can replace that- but this is directly bring Him to His children (both young and old). It’s kind of amazing, really. If you are thinking of it then I encourage you to “put out into the deep” and take that leap of faith! There’s no greater honor then bringing Christ into people’s lives and people into Christ’s life.