This year the Upper Elementary (4th – 6th grade) children have been tasked with finding, reading, and summarizing the upcoming Sunday’s Gospel each week. I have already heard some interesting discussions amongst the children regarding their thoughts on the “theme” or point Jesus was trying to make in a particular parable or teaching! In addition, the children have related the Sunday Gospel to other materials and themes in the Atrium, making connections when the Scripture is fresh in their minds, before the priest’s homily gives them a sense of there being one “definitive” interpretation. One child shared that while she did like it when the Sunday Gospel was a surprise, she supposes it’s ok to have read and thought about it before Mass…!!
This task necessitates that the children know the name of the upcoming Sunday (ex: The 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time), which Cycle (A, B, or C) we are in, as well as how to look up and find the Gospel’s citation in their Bible. In addition, they have been invited, after writing a one sentence summary of the Gospel, to look up the most important word of their summary in a concordance to find other Scriptures which speak about similar topics or themes. Some children have also started maps of Israel on which to record the places where these Gospels passages are taking place.