Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

June 8, 2011

The Church: Assembly Required

Sunday, June 11 is Pentecost Sunday. In honor of the "birthday of the Church" read the following text to the students. Then ask then to write down as many answers as they can to the questions that follow. Tell them that besides the person's name they should write on other pieces of information they know about the person. Lead a discussion about the people they wrote about who make up the Church. Then highlight these meanings of Church:
Church Assembly Required

  • The Church is a community of Catholics who assemble to worship.
  • The Church is a local gathering of Catholics, a fellowship of believers in Christ.
  • The Church is the universal community of those who believe in Jesus Christ.

Introduction

Have you ever received a gift that came labeled “Assembly Required”? Before you could really appreciate and enjoy the gift, you had to put it together.
The Church is a gift, a gift that requires assembly. The word church means assembly—a convocation of people who believe in Jesus, his Father, and the Spirit. To appreciate and enjoy who we are, we join together. We assemble. When it comes to being Church, assembly is always required.

From the beginning of his ministry, Jesus assembled people. After Jesus died, was raised from the dead, and returned to God, Jesus’ friends assembled. In their assemblies they prayed, remembered Jesus, and broke bread as he taught them.

At every Eucharist the Church assembles. We come together from every walk of life, every culture, and every race. Rich and poor, young and old, healthy and sick, we all come together as one family to give glory to God, to make present God’s saving deeds fulfilled in Jesus, and to promise to treat all others like family.

At Eucharist we assemble to express, renew, and deepen our faith in Jesus and in one another. In our assembly, we see ourselves as people who continue Jesus’ mission of bringing God’s love to others, the Church gets re-created, and we become what we celebrate. We become the Body of Christ, called to draw others to our assembly.

Assignment: The Church Assembly

Answer these questions about your Church assembly.

  • Where did you assemble for worship on Sunday? (place and time)
  • Who led the assembly in prayer?
  • Who led the assembly in song?
  • Who sat behind you?
  • Who read from the Old Testament?
  • Who proclaimed the Gospel?
  • Who brought the bread and wine to the altar table?
  • Besides your family, whom did you greet during the Sign of Peace at Mass?

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