Occasionally you will have the opportunity to meet with students either before or after mass. As I mentioned in my post on CatholicMom.com, “How to Get Teens to Participate in Mass,” it is critical that we help young people connect their personal experiences with the Liturgy (“find their feelings”) and learn more about the God they encounter in the Eucharist (“teach them why”). Consider using the following reflection questions for school Mass, religious education Masses, or before and after Sunday Masses. Keep in mind that the more you ask these questions (even if they have no answers at first), the more your students will think of them during the Liturgy. Remember that in addition to challenging young people to be reflective during Mass, you are also building strong habits that will last a lifetime.
Pre-Mass Reflection and Discussion Questions
- What are the 2-3 things that are dominating your attention and thought today? What can you ask of God in the Liturgy to address these things?
- Has God been at work in your daily life? What evidence is there that God is communicating with you daily? How do you expect this communication to continue during the Liturgy?
Read any or all of the day’s Scripture passages in the Liturgy of the Word. Take students through a process of lectio divina by asking them some of these questions:
- What word or phrase jumps out at you in today’s reading?
- Imagine yourself being a present during this story. What do you see, hear, smell, taste, feel, etc.? Describe everything in detail.
- Imagine that you are one of the people in the reading. What do you feel, think, and do as a response to the events?
- What does this reading remind you of in your life at this particular moment?
The Mass is in an opportunity to receive forgiveness of venial sins. Take the students through an Examination of Conscience, if possible.
- When have you failed to love yourself, God, and neighbor?
- Are there people who you have hurt in some way by your words, actions, or failure to act?
- What personal weaknesses can God take over for you today?
The word eucharist means “thanksgiving.” As a celebration of thanksgiving, pose the following questions regarding the Mass:
- What are you most thankful for today?
- Who are you thankful is in your life today?
- What has God done for you in your lifetime that you can thank him for today?
Post-Mass Reflection and Discussion Questions
Questions related to personal experience:
- What is God prompting you to do in your encounter with him in the Sacrament?
- What experiences during the Mass did you find most relevant to your current situation and life?
- What was the holiest experience you had during Mass?
Reflections on the Liturgy of the Word:
- What word or phrase jumped out at you in today’s reading?
- Imagine that you were present during this story. What do you see, hear, smell, taste, feel, etc.? Describe everything in detail.
- Imagine that you are one of the people in the reading. What do you feel, think, do as a response to the events?
- What did this reading remind you of in your life at this particular moment?
- Are there specific experiences of forgiveness that you have taken away from today’s Liturgy?
- What habits should you form to avoid sin in the future?
Eucharist as thanksgiving:
- What did you or can you be thankful for after today’s Liturgy?
- Is there anything for which you will make a commitment to be thankful for today?
The name Mass comes from the Latin missa, which means to “go forth” and is taken from the final words of the concluding rite.
- How will you bring Christ to the world today?
- What will you do to show God’s love to others?
- What are the greatest needs that you see in your everyday life? Empowered with the love of God in the Eucharist, what will you do to help meet those needs?
Catholic Mass Meditation Worksheets
If y0u would like to guide your students through a series of meditations on the parts and prayers of the Mass, check out The Religion Teacher’s Catholic Mass Worksheets, which includes 18 printable handouts to help students understand and reflect on the liturgy.