Children's Week is a national celebration that recognises children and their rights. The theme for this year's Children's Week is drawn from Article 15 of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC): Children have the right to meet together and join groups and organisations as long as it does not stop other people from enjoying their rights. In exercising their rights, children have the responsibility to respect the rights, freedom and reputations of others.
'During this Children's Week, our focus is on encouraging the rights of children', said Archbishop Peter A Comensoli, 'their right to feel safe and to be listened to, to grow in their faith and their right to contribute to our communities.
'Here in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, we are committed to creating a culture of safety and care for all children and adults, and we know that our communities will only flourish when everyone is enabled to flourish.
'Our young ones have had a pretty tough year – haven't we all! – but they've been unable to enjoy the usual experiences of being at school with their classmates and peers, or being outside in significant numbers and so on. As we begin to come out of this time of isolation and look to a new way of being together as a community, I pray that our young ones will have their voice heard, that they can contribute to this new way of being – continuing to care for one another, just as Jesus cares for us.'
Children and young people are at the heart of our parishes within the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, and Children's Week provides the opportunity to reflect on the ways in which this is made manifest in our communities – the ways in which we support our young people, ensuring that they feel welcome, safe and able to grow in your faith.
As people of faith, we strive to live by Jesus’ message to his disciples: 'Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.' (John 13:34) Jesus' commandment reminds us that we are each loved by God, who created us in his own image and likeness. We are then invited to show that same love to our neighbours - within our families, our local parish, school communities and the wider community.
To celebrate Children’s Week this year, we are inviting all children and young people (from the ages of 4 years to 17) to participate in an activity. We want you to share with us what the words “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (John 13:34) mean to you through a drawing or artwork (mixed media).
Along with your artwork, please include an answer (150 words or less) to the following question:
In what ways do you feel part of the parish community and how do you try to make others feel welcome?
Entries should include the completed submission form and can be sent to email@example.com on or before 5pm on 18 December 2020.
Parents are welcome to answer the question on behalf of their child/ren if they are too young to do so.
It is important to note that this is not a competition, but a reflection and an opportunity for adults to hear the voice of our young ones. Those who participate will be invited to an online gathering with Archbishop Peter A Comensoli following the activity.
The Ready, Set, Pray! Children’s Liturgy of the Word @ Home video series has been created to provide an engaging space for families to encounter Jesus through the Sunday gospel. Each week includes an invitation for families to create and gather in their own prayer space, to sing, hear the Gospel, pray and respond creatively through an activity. This weekly resource has been developed by Proclaim: The Office for Mission Renewal and follows the familiar Children’s Liturgy of the Word format provided used in many parishes for an online setting. Each weekly session runs for 15-20 minute duration and is available via the Archdiocesan YouTube channel.
Read from your Children’s Bible as a bedtime story: