By Susan Tooley, Executive Assistant, Congregation Offices
I most enjoy the Sundays I’m assigned to the Children’s Liturgy of the Word at St. Michael’s parish in Syracuse, New York. It’s at our 9:30 am Mass that I join with 4-8-year-olds in a separate room of our church. At first, I was afraid of public speaking and teaching, but I asked God to help me step out of my comfort zone and do this. I study, practice and prepare an interpretation of that Sunday’s liturgy for children to understand. Even though we have a guidebook, I try to incorporate my version for them. Some weeks, I ask those who can to read, but sometimes I tell the Scripture story in words they can understand and help them pronounce the ancient Hebrew names. If we have time, we also do an activity alongside it. At petition time, I ask who they would like to pray for. Not always can we follow a script, though, as attested to one Sunday.
We were asked to “pass the mitten,” symbolizing helping others. One girl said she helped her brother find his tooth that fell out the other day and was missing. That led to others joining in, telling me how many teeth they had lost, what the tooth fairy left them, and even showing me a loose tooth behind their mask. We tried to get them back on track and pray for all those we helped today, but we were laughing quite a bit about our teeth.
My God moment was their humor and taking Jesus’ helping others in a whole new light!