Join Salt + Light Television on weekends during Lent for a kid-friendly approach to the Sunday Mass readings and homily.
Last October we received this email at Salt + Light Television:
My name is Jove. I am an 8-year-old studying in Grade 3 and live in Burlington.
I am writing this email from my Dad's email id.
This morning I was searching for a Holy Mass for kids as every other Sunday since the pandemic began, and I couldn't find any Mass exclusively made for kids.
We kids will appreciate it if you can look into this.
Here is some of what I am looking for in a Mass for kids
- Not too long
- Easy to understand and meaningful
- Common songs that we can sing along
- Small topic to learn about
- Subtitles for prayers
Jove is right. Many times had I thought how difficult it would be to go through lockdowns and stay-at-home orders with young children at home, but since ours are both in college, we had not really experienced it.
But the truth is that this past year has been very difficult for many families: In many places churches and schools have been closed for extended periods. Many have not been to Mass in months. Teachers and catechists are also facing many challenges as most of our learning has moved online. And so Jove’s email me us re-think the need for a TV Mass and the need for something that is geared to kids.
The result is “Yes, Lord!”, a kids’ TV program structured as a Liturgy of the Word.
Why a Liturgy of the Word?
The thought of producing a weekly televised Mass for children was daunting! Other than the fact that Mass is not intended for television, having to produce one means finding priests and musicians; it means weekly filming with a full crew. Yet our Catholic Tradition has so many options for liturgies and prayer services that are much more suitable for the online or TV media. Most of us don’t usually attend Liturgies of the Word, but, as a deacon, I am very familiar with them. One benefit is that while a Liturgy of the Word looks a lot like a Mass, it is a more flexible format allowing us to make this Liturgy feel like a children’s show.
A Limited Series for Lent
To begin, we’ve produced six episodes of “Yes, Lord!”, each one specific to each of the Sundays in Lent for the Year B cycle:
- Lent 1: Into the Desert
- Lent 2: Up the Mountain
- Lent 3: Cleansing the Temple
- Lent 4: God Loved the World so Much
- Lent 5: The Grain of Wheat
- Lent 6: Into Jerusalem
Anyone watching “Yes, Lord!” will hear the same first reading and Gospel as everyone else attending Mass that weekend and the reflections are based on the readings of that same Sunday. The focus is “the Word,” still each episode features as much music and songs as possible, a short Penitential Rite, Prayers of the Faithful, the Lord’s Prayer and a suggested activity for each week as we prepare our hearts for Easter.
Take a look at our promo for the series:
One of the blessings that made “Yes, Lord!” possible (other than this pandemic) is the Duketow family, aka Rhythm and Grace. Alex and Miriam Duketow began writing songs together when they first met in high school. In marriage, they continue to do so, now with their nine children, ages 4-19, who contribute to the family music with their varied instruments and their singing.
Putting together a children’s choir during Covid would have been impossible, but with Rhythm and Grace we found a children’s group that were all part of the same bubble! Alex and his family wrote most of the music that is featured in the program, including the super catchy, “Yes, Lord,” which serves as the theme. Music is such a huge part of our Faith tradition and it is integral to any children’s programming and so we are delighted about the participation of this talented family.
Praying with the Word
The older I get, the more I realize the importance of not just reading, studying and praying with Scripture, but of doing it in communion with the Church. When our kids were younger we tried as much as possible to get them children’s lectionaries with reflections to help them prepare for and use during Mass. But this is something we all need to do. Most of us only hear the Sunday readings once, quickly at Mass. It is always a great habit to look at the readings before Mass on Sunday; pray with the readings throughout the week and if possible, read reflections or lessons based on the readings. This way when we get to Mass, we are better able to enter deeper into the mystery of the Word. It is our hope that “Yes, Lord!” can help families grow from the Word of God. The show is a Liturgy of the Word, but it is also a form of lectio divina and a Bible study – a great tool for children and adults alike to listen to, learn from and pray with the Word of God.
It is true that the Sacrament of the Eucharist cannot be replaced by a TV program. However, when attending Mass is not possible and when a dispensation from our Sunday obligation has been given, participating in a televised Liturgy of the Word can be of great benefit. When we are able to attend Mass, having tools to help us understand the Liturgy better and enter deeper into the Mystery of the Mass, is invaluable.
I hope that you can join us on weekends during Lent for this kid-friendly approach to the Sunday Mass readings and homily. Whether you are worshipping at home due to the pandemic or just looking for a way to boost your family’s life of faith, you won’t want to miss our brand new series!
“Yes, Lord!” will air on Salt + Light Television on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays of Lent, beginning, Feb 19, 2021. For those outside of our broadcast area, the show can be watched live or on demand on our website, SLMedia.org: Fridays, 9:30am ET; Saturdays 4pm ET; Sundays 7:00am, 2:30pm ET.
This week's "Yes, Lord!" video: Into the Desert
Copyright 2021 Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann
Photo of Rhythm & Grace courtesy of Alex Duketow. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
All other images courtesy of SL Media. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
About the author: Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann is a producer at Salt + Light Media in Canada and is a permanent deacon for the Archdiocese of Toronto. The mission of Salt + Light is to proclaim Jesus Christ and the joy of the Gospel to the world by telling stories of hope that bring people closer to Christ and the Catholic faith.
About the Author
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