What is Liturgy of the Word for Children?
What is CLOW?
Why is CLOW offered?
What happens after the children are dismissed from the main assembly?
How is it different from the adult assembly?
Isn't this like teaching?
What is the role of the Children's Liturgy Prayer Leader?
How do I prepare to lead CLOW?
Why I am a part of the CLOW Ministry?
What is Liturgy of the Word for Children? – The celebration of the Liturgy of the Word with children is a liturgical experience that opens young people to hear and respond to God’s Word in ways that enable them to be nurtured and challenged by its power. The primary purpose of dismissing children is to provide them with the focused environment of the smaller chapel where they are more likely to become conscious, active, listeners and responders to God’s word. The intention of the Liturgy of the Word with the children is not to babysit or provide entertainment for the children.
What is CLOW? – A gathering of children assembled to listen to God’s word and ponder its meaning, but in a way suited to their abilities and their interests. At the conclusion of CLOW, the children rejoin their parents for the entire assembly’s celebration of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Why is it offered? – Children hear God’s word with greater meaning when its proclamation and explanation are designed especially for them. They hear from the Old Testament, a psalm, the New Testament, the Gospel, Creed, and prayers of the faithful. This helps to prepare them to transition to worshiping with the entire assembly in later years. Adults/teens who lead CLOW find greater richness and new life in God’s word even for themselves as they read and ponder the scriptures in preparation for sharing them with the children.
What happens after the children are dismissed from the main assembly? After the priest formally sends the children and CLOW leaders, the CLOW leaders lead the children to the chapel helping the children to see that this is a sacred, ritual act that seamlessly transitions them from one part of the Mass to another.
Following a centering prayer the children are seated for the for first reading, responsorial Psalm and second reading. Children stand for the gospel acclamation and reading of the gospel. At this time the CLOW leader leads the children in a reflection of the gospel through simple reflective questions allowing for answers and faith sharing. The reflection is followed by the children reading the Prayers of the Faithful. The Children’s Liturgy of the Word ends with the reading of the Creed and the children are reminded to walk quieting and reverently back into church to join their family for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
How is it different from the adult assembly? – It addresses the need of the child to hear the word of God in a vocabulary that is accessible to them. It will familiarize the children with the full adult celebration of God’s word, as the CLOW has within it all the same elements of the adult celebration, in the same seasonal order. Great care is taken to accommodate the child’s differences in experience, maturity, and vocabulary.
Isn’t this like teaching? – Although there are common skills between a good teacher and a good leader of CLOW, they are distinct. The leader of CLOW should always strive to make the distinction in the minds of the children, their parents, the community, and fellow team members. Liturgy shouldn’t be referred to as “class”, or to an outline as a “lesson plan”. The leader should remind the children frequently that the purpose of the CLOW gathering is to celebrate the presence of God in the word being proclaimed.
What is the role of the Children’s Liturgy prayer leader? - The prayer leaders goal is not to teach religion, it is to lead prayer. The prayer leaders primary focus is on being a servant or channel of God’s word than on conveying knowledge of scripture. Prayer leaders following the guidelines of the Children’s Liturgy of the Word Liturgical Training Manual.
How do I prepare to lead CLOW? – The resources will be made available to you. Begin by reading the scriptures for the given Mass. Then read the support materials completely. Now re-read them looking for the elements with which you are most comfortable. Never attempt to use the outline exactly as it appears. It is only a catalyst for the leader’s own thoughts. The leader should not hesitate to personalize an outline by changing or adapting it. The more the leader reads and reflects on the scriptures for personal enrichment, even when not planning to lead CLOW, the richer the liturgy will be for the participants.
Why I am a part of the CLOW Ministry? - I became involved in the CLOW ministry when my oldest child was 5 years old. Being a cradle Catholic and having not experienced Children’s Liturgy of the Word, I was a little unsure that I wanted my children leaving during mass. After all children should be expected to listen, be reverent and participate in mass regardless of how old they are right? At least that was how I was raised. After attending CLOW a few times with my children, I realized just how much they were engaged in the liturgy when it was presented to them on their level. I was reassured that they were hearing the word of God and expected to participate just as they would if they were in the main assembly. I began my work in the ministry 13 years ago and have watched my four children as they became leaders in the ministry and allowed God to work through them. Children are eager to learn and hear the word of God and to be part of sharing God’s word with them has given me abundant blessings.