It’s often said that prayer and liturgy follow a call and response structure – God speaks to us and we respond to Him. As St John wrote,
When the God of love speaks to us in His Word (the Scriptures), it is a response of the heart to respond in love whether that be through praise, adoration, thanksgiving, repentance, or intercession.
When this conversation with God happens within the formal liturgies of the Church, the pattern is repeated back and forth. We look to God as we gather in His presence; He speaks to us through His Word; we respond in intercession and by offering ourselves spiritually along with the offertory gifts; He gives Himself to us in the Blessed Sacrament; and we in turn offer ourselves to others through service in His name as we leave the celebration.
The Familiar Four-Part Structure
Here at Ten Ten Resources, we want to help teachers and pupils recognise this call and response pattern within their prayer times in assembly and in the classroom, so we have created four Collective Worship icons that will appear in our resources as a subtle reminder of the pattern of our communication with the Lord.
This pattern of call and response in liturgy and prayer can be summed up in a four-part structure. Many teachers will be familiar with this well known structure as it helps form the non-liturgical prayer time that they create for assemblies and classroom prayer times. Depending on which school you work in or which diocese you’re from, the four parts may have different names, but ultimately the same meaning.
COLLECTIVE WORSHIP ICON #1:
WELCOME / GATHER
When you see this icon, the prayer time is just beginning. It’s a reminder that we are gathering in the presence of God. This will be when pupils are invited to make the Sign of the Cross to begin the time of prayer.
The following words spoken, images shared and songs sung will be setting the scene and introducing the theme for the rest of the prayer time.
COLLECTIVE WORSHIP ICON #2:
WORD / LISTEN
When this icon appears, children can expect to hear a passage or sentence from the Scriptures, or perhaps further exploration and explanation of the passage from Scripture that they’ve just heard.
Occasionally, this icon will be used to signify a quotation from a saint or from another source of Catholic teaching. This is God speaking to us through the tradition of the Church.
COLLECTIVE WORSHIP ICON #3:
WORSHIP / PRAYER /RESPONSE
The third icon indicates an opportunity for pupils to respond in prayer to God about what they have heard God say to them in the Scriptures. This time of prayer will be an opportunity for a variety of prayer styles and prayer traditions of the Church to be experienced.
COLLECTIVE WORSHIP ICON #4:
WITNESS / SEND / GO / MISSION
Last but not least, as Christians we are called to not only love God, but to love our neighbour too. When the fourth icon appears, this indicates that pupils will hear about opportunities to put into practice what they have heard, seen or prayed in some way outside of the context of the collective act of worship. It is an opportunity for students to personally deepen their faith, or share their faith with others.
Where will you see the icons in the Ten Ten Collective Worship resources?
In Assemblies you’ll see them in the Teacher Script and on the Google Slides. In Daily Classroom Prayers – you’ll notice them on the Google slides.
Early in the term you might like to point these icons out to the children to help them understand what they mean when they see them.
Do let us know what you think of the new icons and our Collective Worship resources. We’re always keen to know how they are experienced and enjoyed by schools. You can email any feedback to email@example.com.