Family Catechesis

Cheeky Pandas is a fun 'Thy Kingdom Come' Family Catechesis resource for Catholics to help children aged between 5 and 11 years old engage with and live the prayer Jesus taught us.

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Cheeky Pandas

There are some delightful resources to help families, particularly those with young children praying Thy Kingdom Come. It is never too young to be one of God’s Kingdom builders so we would like to invite families with children aged between 5 and 11 years old to join our parish Family Catechesis sessions – Cheeky Pandas – where we will explore 11 exciting topics that help us to live the prayer Jesus taught us – Thy Kingdom Come.

All the resources can be found on the Thy Kingdom Come – Cheeky Pandas page but do continue for more information.

The themes are based on those used in the wave of prayer for Evangelisation from the Ascension to Pentecost. We would recommend that the sessions are run weekly, in anticipation of Pentecost so that the families and catechists have time to prepare and absorb each session. That said, they could be used whenever you want to engage with the families in your parish.

The greatest challenge in this situation is for couples, mothers and fathers, active participants in catechesis, to overcome the mentality of delegation that is so common, according to which the faith is set aside for specialists in education.

Directory for Catechesis 124

There are so many reasons why many parents or carers struggle to explore the Catholic faith with their children. The session outlines in this resource pack offers an adaptable framework that help draw families in your parish together and enable gentle and fun, Christ-centred Catechesis.

Preparation

Gather your team

A team of three people is ideal for hosting a Thy Kingdom Come Family Catechesis session, though it can easy be led with two. If you would like to send people into breakout rooms, then a leader will be needed for each room and we would suggest that you put at least one other family, so a parent/carer can support the leader if needed.

The essential roles within the team are as follows:

  • Facilitator – who will welcome everyone and keep the session moving
  • Technical support – who will manage arrivals and any technical issues
  • Chat support host – someone who can keep an eye on the chat and be someone who people can contact if they have any concerns. If there are only two people hosting the technical person can manage the chat also.

If your priest is able to attend sessions, you may want to ask him to lead the prayer or welcome the families present.

When you have a look at the format for the sessions, you may want to ask different members of the team to do the different parts. We would recommend that the technical person not be given things at the beginning of the session, as this may be when she/he is needed to help families who are struggling to join the group.

Review the materials

The full video series is 11 sessions and corresponds to the themes that will be prayed from the Ascension to Pentecost during the wave of prayer called Thy Kingdom Come. The themes and titles are as follows,

Jesus – The Missing Guitar

Praise – The Duck Award                               

Thanks – The Birthday Gift                            

Sorry – The Missing Pizza                               

Offer – The Broken Song Machine                

Pray – The After Show Party                          

Help – Help, Spider Madness                         

Adore – The Wrong Box                                             

Celebrate – The Lost Coin                              

Silence – The Silent Disco                              

Pentecost – The Power Cut                           

Each of these videos have been created with children in mind and can be used alongside the prayer map, this will make things a lot of fun, but it is not essential for hosting the family catechesis sessions. We have created a flexible session outline with prayers, show and tell activity and saint of the day for each session. There is also editable text for a follow up email that will encourage families to talk about what they explored and encourage them to come along and invite others. It is our hope that the supporting resources will make it as easy as possible for you to engage the families in your parish and host the TKC Family Catechesis Series.

Decide on the platform you will use

There are different session outlines for livestreaming platforms such as YouTube, or interactive video rooms, such as Steams or Zoom. We would recommend that you use whichever platform you are most used to, though if you can be interactive it will be a better experience for the families attending. Below are some simple guidelines for keeping everyone safe online.

Publicity and Booking

Once the start date, time and platform for hosting TKC Family Catechesis has been established, you are now in a position to invite families to attend. If you are livestreaming, all that is needed is to advertise the link for families to join up, though you may want to gather their email addresses so you can be in touch between sessions.

If using an interactive platform, it would be wise to set up a simple booking system, so that you have a sense of how many families will attend, this also enables the collection of their email addresses. If your parish has an established method for this, we recommend you use what is familiar.

Smooth Running of the Session

It would be helpful if the team arrive a little earlier than the official start to pray for the families that will attend and check you have everything you need for the session. A list has been provided on the session outline.

1.    Informal welcome people as they arrive – Facilitator

Livestream: Interact on the chat, welcoming people to the session and inviting them to greet one another. If using the warmup this would be an ideal time to remind people of what they are to bring to the session, so they have it for later.

Interactive: As people come in invite them to turn on their cameras and make sure the name on the screen is of the person in the room. If you haven’t already told them, you could invite the children to bring their show and tell to the session. To ensure this doesn’t take long, you could give them a countdown or give them an incentive to return quickly.

2.    Official Welcome

3.    Opening prayer

4.    Warm up: Ask the children to tell us the name of their cuddly toy – mention a few.

5.    Introduce saint of the day (linked to theme) – he/she is our heavenly friend who helps us to come closer to Jesus.

6.    Introduce and Watch video.

For interactive platforms: If there is a delay to watching the video together, you may want to send it in a link, ask the families to watch is and return once they have seen it.

7.    Opportunity to review/ask questions

8.    Give the family a question or reflection to talk about after the session.

9.    Parish announcements e.g. Mass times, other online events

10.  Closing prayer – PowerPoint template is available for each section

For livestream platforms: If you have the facility, it would be really helpful to have the words of these prayers on screen as they are prayed.