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In Home Religious Ed for January 2019

Jan 10, 2019

January 2019 - In-Home RE

 Topic: Liturgical Words, Gestures, and Objects

Date: January 2019 (January 20 & 23)


I.            Introduction


Objective: Families will explore some of the liturgical words, symbols, and gestures that make us who we are as Catholics. 


What does Liturgical mean?

How are liturgical words, objects, and gestures different from any other words, symbols, and gestures?  First of all, liturgical come from the words LITURGY, the word we use to name our WORSHIP---what we do on Sunday.  Liturgy comes from the Greek word, “leitourgia” meaning “the work of the people”. It is an action by which all worshippers take an active part---TO PRAY WITH RITUAL AND SYMBOL AS A COMMUNITY!  Liturgical means celebrated by all the people---EVERYONE!  So when we talk about liturgical words, gestures, and objects, we are talking about the celebrating community, the worshipping assembly using them. Not us just watching something being done by someone else like the priest.



II.            Liturgical Words



What do we mean by Liturgical Words? 

These are the words that express the feelings and thoughts of individuals but to arouse those feelings and fill them with new attitudes and new intensity.  The responses and acclamations of the liturgy form us and invite us to be together---one faith community standing in solidarity with one another praising and thanking our God. Let’s look at some liturgical words:


The Our Father also known as The Lord’s Prayer is the dearest, hardest prayer we know.  The prayer rightly comes in many places in our lives.  It is everyone’s prayer, the words we all own and still they are the words that we never will own.  What can it mean to pray that God’s name be hallowed, be holy?  What kind of courage and longing does it take to pray that God’s will be done?


Do: As a family, pray The Our Father together out loud. 

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  They kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day, our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  Amen!


Reader:  Our God did not want us to pray by and for ourselves alone.  WE do not say “My Father, who art in heaven” nor “give me this day my daily bread.”  Our prayer is for the whole people, for we are all one people in a single body.  We are the Body of Christ and together we pray Our Father. . .(pray together again)


“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”.  These words we say just before we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  “Lord, I am not worthy. . .”  And we are not worthy; no one is.  But that is exactly why we need to me forward to eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ when we come to Mass (Liturgy) on Sunday.  We need to share in the food that will fill our hunger and the drink that will quench our thirst so that we can become more the Body of Christ that we already are created in his image.


Do:  As a family say the following words:  “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”.  These words come from Luke 7: 1-10.  We echo these words just before receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Mass. 


Reader:  Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof but come, nevertheless, and dwell with me.  Your presence is healing, forgiveness, transformation, life, salvation. Say but the word and my soul shall be healed of sin.


Do:  As a family, repeat the words, “Lord, I am not worthy. . . “


Amen---Amen is the Hebrew word that means so be it and is used by the assembly to indicate agreement with the prayers proclaimed by the presider (priest) at Mass.  To say AMEN is our duty and our right, as this people who died in baptism and live now in Christ.  It our right!  It is our duty!


Reader:  Be careful of simple words said often.


“Amen” makes demands like an unrelenting school teacher:  fierce attention to all that is said; no apathy, no preoccupation, no prejudice permitted.  “Amen” We are present.  We are open. We hearken.  WE understand.  Here we are; we are listening to your word.  “Amen” makes demands like a signature on a dotted line:  sober bond to all that goes before; no hesitation, no half-heartedness, no mental reservation allowed.  “Amen”:  We support.  We approve.  We are of one mind.  WE promise.  May this come to pass.  SO BE IT!


Do:  As a family, share a moment of silence and end it with “AMEN!”


III.            Liturgical Gestures


Let’s look at Liturgical Gestures:  A liturgical gesture is a symbolic activity:  activity which reveals a wealth of meaning, but whose significance is best caught by DOING rather than just explaining.  Liturgical gestures help us to discover the proper way of being with others and of being before God.  They discipline us and rehearse us in right attitudes.   Let’s look at a few of our Liturgical gestures:


Sign of the Cross:  The sign of the cross proclaims who and whose we are.  It is the sign of God’s love and victory in our life.  It si the rehearsal of what we mean and believe as a baptized Catholic.  When we sing ourselves with the cross we are saying, “I am baptized.  Christ is my Lord.  I belong to him.”


Reader:  At the beginning and end of liturgy;

At the beginning and end or our lives;

At the beginning and ending of all we do stands the sign of the cross, saying:

  1. This place, this space of time, this life, this child, these people, this body in death


Do:  As a family make the sign of the cross together.


Threefold Signing:  The sign of the cross is done to externalize the faith of anything done in the name of the Lord.  Before the Gospel is read, the text is announced “A Reading from the Gospel according to . . . “  and we respond “Glory to you O Lord” as we trace a cross on our forehead so the Word of God in in our minds; we trace a cross on our lips so the Word of God forms our words; and we trace a cross on our hearts so the Word of God changes our hearts.


Reading:  May the Word of the Lord live in our minds, and on our lips and in our hearts.  We say it with a cross.  Not a large gesture, but a small one, like the anointing we received when we were baptized into Christ Jesus:  binding our lives to his life, our crosses to his cross, our words to his words.  Three small gestures; not dramatic, not expansive; but like more of our lives—the daily efforts, the little ways by which we strive to be faithful to the proclamation of the Word in our speaking and loving and serving.


Do:  All trace a cross on your forehead saying “May the Word of God be in my mind” and trace a cross on your lips saying “May the Word of God form my words” and trace a cross on your heart saying “May the Word of God transform my heart.”


Blessing:  The blessing of persons or objects is not done for the purpose of making them holy, since all that God has created is good and holy.  Rather, blessings call forth a special grace from God to use an object as its artistic creator intended.  The blessing of a person is meant to make that person the receiver of light, love, and special affection from God and to awaken the person to experience how God uses the ordinary events of life to touch us with divine love.


Reader:  An arm held out in blessing to another.  A moment in which the faith community gathered together reaches out to another, reaches out to ask God to POUR down his blessing, his goodness, on these people who stand before us.  It is the community doing what it is called to do by its very Baptism:  loving and serving another.


Do:  All family members sign each other with the Sign of the Cross on the forehead as another way of blessing.


VIEW Gestures of Assembly:


VIEW Gestures of Clergy:


 IV.            Liturgical Objects


Finally, we look at Liturgical Objects:


The Portal Door:  It is through these doors that we gather each week as a Christian community.  It is through these doors that new members will come into our church and those who are born to eternal life will be welcomed home.

Do:  Gather as family around your front door.


Reader:  Jesus said, “I am the door.”  Front doors, back doors, sliding doors, swinging doors, barn doors, garage doors, glass doors, wooden doors, yes, and more.  But a person-door??  And Jesus said, “I am the door; if anyone enters through me, he/she will be saved.”  Salvation door.  Kingdom door.  Jesus door.  “I am the door.”  No creaky hinges, no weather-warped ill-fittingness.  No “Closed” or “No Admittance” signs but rather a heart open, “Come to me” and inviting the Way and the Life door.  “I am the door.” 


Do:  Each family member makes the sign of the cross on the front door of your home.


Book of the Gospels:  The large red book that Father holds up for the whole church assembly to see; the large red book that contains the Word of God passed down through centuries and generations to nourish us; give us identity; give us life.  The words of this book are our food and drink just as much as the bread and wine are.  The words of this book give life to us as the People of God.


Read:  The Book of the Gospels is embraced, held high and held dear as it comes down the aisle at Mass.  The pages covered in words spoken by Jesus passed down through generations:  The Word of Life for the People of God!

Facing Congregation 


Facing Priest


The Altar:  This is the dining table in the house of the church.  More than food is put on this table and more than we gather around it.  At this table there is a place for everyone:  those who have gone before us in death, the sinners, the Saints, the immigrant, the stranger, those we disagree with and those we dislike, people who are different from us come to this table---COME TO CHRIST.  This consecrated table, this altar of the GREAT SACRIFICE of JESUS, stands as the center of our life, our life lived for the sake of the world.


*Note:  We bow to this altar as we enter and depart church.  The bow says we acknowledge and celebrate and believe in what happens at this table. 


Reader:  Banquet table, table of the Lord, table of the Lord’s people, open to all ready for all.  Come, gather around the table.  There is seating for ALL no reserved seats, no discrimination.  “You are all ONE in Christ Jesus.”


Challenge:  Take a family picture in front of the Lord’s Table and submit it to us by email or on the St. Margaret Mary RE private facebook page.



VIDEO and More INFO:


V.            Closing Prayer


It is in the words, gestures and objects of our ritual prayer that we touch the sacred and celebrate the mystery of God. 


Do: Together as a family:


Walk to the front door and pray:  Lord Jesus, as we pass through this door, draw us more deeply into your presence and may a spirit of humility, goodness, mildness, and gratitude prevail here.


Move to the dining room/kitchen table and raise hand in blessing over the table saying:

May God bless us with food before us; family beside us; and love between us forever and ever! 


End with the Sign of the Cross (liturgical gesture) and a generous AMEN (liturgical word)!


 VI.            Discussion


Do: Once you have gone through the entire lesson, as a family, please answer the questions and submit the Survey to complete the In Home Session*. The survey was also sent out by email (monkey survey) and can be completed by either link.

Survey Link:

*Please note that In Home RE counts towards the total Religious Education hours needed for the diocesan requirement and attendance is taken from the completed surveyThank you!


St. Margaret Mary Parish

Religious Education

(920) 729-4562

Amy Bolle, DRE

Tina Peirick, CRE


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