What is Liturgy?
What is CLOW?
Why is CLOW offered?
How is it different form the adult assembly?
Isn't this like teaching?
How do I prepare to lead CLOW?
What is Liturgy? – Liturgy is the work of the people; the public worship of the faithful people. Its purpose is to give glory to God through prayer; to build up the faith of the people, to teach and instruct the faithful in the meaning of Christ’s word through the sacred mysteries. It should engage the whole person, through intellect, senses, emotions, and gestures and postures.
What is CLOW? – A gathering of children assembled to listen to God’s word and ponder its meaning, but in a way suited to their abilities and their interests. At the conclusion of CLOW, the children rejoin their parents for the entire assembly’s celebration of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Why is it offered? – Children hear God’s word with greater meaning when its proclamation and explanation are designed especially for them. They hear from the Old Testament, a psalm, the New Testament, the Gospel, Creed, and prayers of the faithful. This helps to prepare them to transition to worshiping with the entire assembly in later years. Adults/teens who lead CLOW find greater richness and new life in God’s word even for themselves as they read and ponder the scriptures in preparation for sharing them with the children.
How is it different from the adult assembly? – It addresses the need of the child to hear the word of God in a vocabulary that is accessible to them. It will familiarize the children with the full adult celebration of God’s word, as the CLOW has within it all the same elements of the adult celebration, in the same seasonal order. Great care is taken to accommodate the child’s differences in experience, maturity, and vocabulary.
Isn’t this like teaching? – Although there are common skills between a good teacher and a good leader of CLOW, they are distinct. The leader of CLOW should always strive to make the distinction in the minds of the children, their parents, the community, and fellow team members. Liturgy shouldn’t be referred to as “class”, or to an outline as a “lesson plan”. The leader should remind the children frequently that the purpose of the CLOW gathering is to celebrate the presence of God in the word being proclaimed.
How do I prepare to lead CLOW? – The resources will be made available to you. Begin by reading the scriptures for the given Mass. Then read the support materials completely. Now re-read them looking for the elements with which you are most comfortable. Never attempt to use the outline exactly as it appears. It is only a catalyst for the leader’s own thoughts. The leader should not hesitate to personalize an outline by changing or adapting it. The more the leader reads and reflects on the scriptures for personal enrichment, even when not planning to lead CLOW, the richer the liturgy will be for the participants.