On April 13th I had a Zoom Meeting with some parents from the Diocese to discuss their experiences working with their children in becoming “a Little Church” during this time of the pandemic. Many of the parents who joined the meeting asked for some guidelines (not directives) from me for ordering their home life during this time relative to prayer, activity, and attending livestreams. So, here it goes:
- Most kids are doing their schoolwork from home or doing online classes. This is the main “obedience” kids need to follow at this time.
- It would be good to schedule as part of the family day, times of work that can be done around the house. (i.e. one hour). This might involve spring-cleaning tasks or outdoor work that may need to be done.
- When it is time to attend to the Sunday livestream in your parish for the Liturgy, don’t be a couch potato when the services are offered. Dress up as you would for going to church and get ready for church as if you were going to attend liturgy (even if you are not). This would help remind children that what is being done is important. People are not to be curious, passive observers. Encourage children to participate as much as is possible. If they can sing along with the hymns offered via livestream, encourage this.
- Be aware that one size does not fit all when it comes to soliciting participation among your children. Don’t expect your children to become little adults during services. Some children may show a greater ability to attend to the service while still being physically active. In a home situation, this is understandable.
- Get out some table games that all family members can play together. When was the last time families have done this?
- If you won’t be doing any livestreaming, download the reader services that your parish priest has provided you, and do them with your family. Or, you may download these services from the Coronavirus section on the Midwest Diocese website. (domoca.org) Involve your kids in the service, giving them certain parts to read if possible.
- Don’t have any meals until after the Sunday liturgy has been celebrated, or after any daily services you are livestreaming or doing on your own as a reader service. Make the Sunday liturgy meal the best meal of the week.
- Begin and end the day with morning and evening prayers.
- Understand that if you are doing reader services, depending on the length, parts of those services may need to be abbreviated. Speak with your parish priest for guidance.
- There are several approaches to celebrating Holy Week at home as a family that have been posted on the Diocesan website in the Coronavirus resource page (domoca.org) and on the Midwest Centre for Family Life (midwestfamily.org). Please review those and download what might be helpful in your family situation.
I hope these suggestions are helpful. May you have a blessed Holy Week and Glorious Pascha!
The blessing of the Lord be upon you,
The unworthy +Paul