News, Articles & Resources from our Formation Team
Resources to Support the Family from our Marriage & Family Life Advisor, Katherine Bergin
There is no doubt that for some parents the latest direction from the Bishop’s Conference that we stay at home and refrain from coming to Sunday Mass, may come as a welcome relief from, what can often be, a difficult time for families with young children. For others staying away from a precious moment during the week when we can give our relationship with Our Lord some time and attention, will be a real loss. Coupled with that, being separated from our Parish community, from the people we smile at and feel connected to, through our faith, will be a sadness. The reality of the absence of this regular, focused time in the presence of our Lord, will quickly impact of the rhythm of our lives and our relationship with Him. It will become all the more necessary to make time to stop and recognise where we can nurture and sustain our relationship with God. It is helpful to try to ensure a better focus within the pattern of our lives at home, that will enable us to recollect the presence of God right at the heart of our family.
God can always be found in the heart of family life, in the messiness, the chaos, the loving, caring, forgiveness, patience, giving and sharing, he is central to it all, in revealing the meaning of unconditional love. We can help our children to recognise Him in four easy steps
1) Recognise Him Centrally, His presence in the midst of us.
Talking out loud to God or just generally chatting with Him as you would do to someone you can see, if a helpful way to recall that He is indeed present. Having a conversation is the best way to get to know someone, particularly if you take the time to listen to the answer. Share your thoughts and worries, bring Him into the central part of your family.
2) Gratitude; in all that we do we can thank him.
The beauty of the sunrise, the benefit of the rain, acknowledging that whatever we wake up to is a gift for us. Our daily food, for the effort that has gone into its production from the cook right back to the farmer, and particularly at the moment to those who are enabling supplies to remain on the shelves. For the roof over our heads and the support of having people who love us.
3) Petition, although He always knows what we need, to verbalise it, is helpful.
Asking for help from someone who loves us is a natural response. We can remember particularly at the moment those who are isolated, whose lives are restricted, those who are alone or frightened, those who are working so incredibly hard to help us all in these difficult times. Perhaps as a family we could find ways to offer practical help to those in need, phoning elderly neighbours, supporting the isolated with practical responses such as doing their shopping.
4) Learning about Him;
In this year of the Word we can use the Sacred Scriptures to get to know God’s plan for us. We can discover how his love for us has been revealed over the ages and how the person of Christ came to bring us into a deeper relationship. Take time to read and reflect as a family, on small passages from the Bible, explore what they might mean, what are they saying to each of us. Asking questions such as I wonder why…. I wonder if….. are really helpful. Children will often astonish you with the depth of their understanding.
It might be that we set up a small “holy space” where we can put a bible and perhaps a candle that we can light before we say our prayers. Children can be encouraged to draw pictures or write their own prayers to leave here or perhaps to take turns in composing a grace to be said at a family meal.
There are some useful online resources here:
Praying a Family Rosary
General Faith Resources for Children
Weekly Mass sheets https://thekidsbulletin.com/
There are some great Godly play resources to use with your children. Several of them are available as you tube videos
What is the time of Lent all about? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivkLTqkiWjc
The different faces of the Easter story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlFho5BRyEc
The Mystery of Easter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj_D7NIHXUM
Many children will be busy with school work and adapting to a home-school routine though it is important to remember that we can spend some time nourishing our faith in God in a manner that is not always possible in our normal, busy lives. Guildford Parishes' Youth and Families worker, Aseel Gilbert, has put some wonderful resources on their website which can be accessed here https://www.cpg.church/family.html
Enjoy spending time together, coming closer as a family and coming closer to God.
Articles and Resources from our Music & Liturgy Advisor, Catherine Christmas
At a time when we may not be able physically to receive Holy Communion, we may experience a deep, painful longing which can help us to pray in solidarity with those who are denied the Eucharist, those who cannot receive it because of persecution, and those who are to be initiated and waiting to receive it for the first time (at Easter, Pentecost or whenever we're able to celebrate together again).
For many centuries in the history of the Church, reception of the Eucharist was a rare occurrence. This challenging time will enable us to treasure it all the more and anticipate with great joy the time when we can receive it again.
We can still join our prayers with the whole church, living and dead, with Mary, the Mother of God, and all the angels and saints. We may be isolated but we are still in communion with each other, with the Pope and with our bishops. And, in this Year of the Word, we have an opportunity to reflect and focus all the more deeply and intensely on Scripture, listening to what God has to say to us at this time. "Not on bread alone are we nourished, but on every word which comes from the mouth of God."
Magnificat is published monthly in a number of languages, including an English edition for the UK, based on our own liturgical calendar, Lectionary and feast days. It contains the Mass for each day with a meditation from the great spiritual writers of the Church throughout history. It also contains prayer for mornings and evenings based on the Liturgy of the Hours. It features lives of the saints, articles on spiritual topics by contemporary writers, Prayer at Night, hymns and in each issue an essay on a great example of Christian art.
Live-streamed Masses (and recordings)
Churchservices.tv- including diocesan churches (Caterham, Hove, Woking, Worthing) and others.
The Vatican’s YouTube channel - Pope Francis said on 9th March: “Let us pray together. During these days you can follow Mass from Santa Marta live every morning at 7am.” (Rome time; 6am UK time, but recorded for viewing later). Live feed, plus recordings (click on Videos tab), Wednesday Papal Audience, Angelus prayers, etc.
EWTN - A streamed Mass, Wednesday Papal Audience, and much more (this is an American-based channel so scripture readings are from the American Bible.)
Useful Internet and Social Media Resources: