Monday, May 7, 2018


In my new parish (now there almost two years) we don't have a school and thus school Masses. This academic year I decided to have a more "child-friendly" Sunday Mass once a month.

While it is child friendly, it is not childish.

We have a wonderful children's choir and a child cantor who is as good as any adult I have heard, in fact her voice has an adult sounding quality. She can sing complicated music.

We have children lectors and greeters.

At the homily time I invite the children to the sanctuary and preach to them but something that isn't childish but on their level (and the adults say they get more out of my children's homilies than my normal ones, but I digress).

But the children's Mass isn't childish. It is digified and I believe prepares these children to become adult Catholic worshippers. There are no gimmicks or cute things that we do or anything that is unusual in terms of errant creativity.

Yesterday we celebrated our second graders' First Holy Communion. It was splendid and in every way like a normal Sunday Mass with all the bells and smells (incense) possible.

The children came in single file to the sanactuary to receive their First Holy Communion, individually receiving Holy Communion while kneeling. They received Holy Communion under both forms by way of intinction. I held the ciborium while the deacon held the chalice and each child was instructed how to receive properly on the tongue. (They know, too, how to receive in the hand properly according to our unfortunate norms.)

The Mass and children were completely reverent and devotional as though it was an Extraordinary Form Mass which it wasn't.


Victor said...

We also had first communion yesterday. But there are no children's Masses as if the regular Mass was inappropriate for children. On the contrary, it was a regular Missa Cantata, sung with a very good Gregorian schola and excellent organist. The children are usually in awe at these EF Masses (except for the sermon part). Best of all, there are many many very young children in this growing FSSP parish, with highly committed parents.

TJM said...

I hope you are following the mandate of Sacrosanctum Concilium and are teaching them to sing the parts of the Mass proper to them in Latin.

rcg said...

It would be a good idea to teach that there is a different version and let them see that it is valid and why it is the way it is. You are in a place where there are probably still people who teach children respect for things. They will absorb it to some degree and recall it someday.

TJM said...

I had a priest at Notre Dame for Eucharistic Theology and he abhorred "Children's Masses" and this priest was not a traditionalist by any stretch of the imagination. He opposed them on pedagogical grounds. He also thought they were insulting.

John Nolan said...

Hmm. I made my first Holy Communion in 1958, aged seven, and within a year had been confirmed and was serving at the altar.

There were no 'children's Masses' in those days, there was the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (in Latin) which was seen by us as a terribly grown-up thing that we were enormously privileged to participate in.

That is probably why, in 1965 or thereabouts, we teenagers were insulted by having a 'children's liturgy' imposed upon everyone, adults and children alike. And we voted with our feet.

ByzRus said...

I have always been puzzled by the need for such things for as suggested by Victor, it is like there is some level of inappropriatness regarding the regular community mass. If the homily was more geared toward children where the children were to gather in the first few pews or, on the front steps, fine. That aside, to me, children are receptive and able to understand more then we sometimes give them credit for understanding. I therefore question the need for a carve-out mass when there is classroom instruction and maybe homilies more at their level to serve this purpose. Perhaps the quaintness of it appeals to parents and others who are participating.

In the Eastern Byzantine Churches, you might see the following, as part of a Community's Sunday liturgy:

Victor said...

Mr Nolan:
"And we voted with our feet"
Yep, and multiply that many millions of times.
The imposition of the Novus Ordo along with its new necessary duties (ie to actively participate in it according to the dictates of the Liturgical Movement) on the young faithful were the greatest form of "clericism" the Church has ever done in the liturgy.

Catechist Kev said...

I avoid "Children's Masses" if at all possible.

At our parish they just seem to turn the Holy Sacrifice into something trivial.

My wife, who has a higher tolerance level for these things, is sort of put off by them, too.

Henry said...

The best Mass for children is the traditional Latin Mass. Any observer can see that children agree. They take the EF Mass seriously--it engages their attention. At any OF Mass you're likely to see children of all ages who appear not to take it seriously. Of course, inviting children into the sanctuary at Mass seems childish, and I wonder whether the children at an EF Mass wouldn't sense it as condescending and somehow inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

The priestly societies do the EF best. The US Catholic hierarchy just tolerate the likes of the SSPeter. Why? That is a great loss to the faithful.

rcg said...

Henry, you are correct about the way children respond to the EF. My two grandchildren will spend weekends with us and behave marvelously, with almost rapt attention. What is also interesting is that they notice the other children of close age and they all are quiet, even when watching and copying the motions. My grandkids are three and almost two, respectively, yet wear the mantilla without fuss and even make sure it stays in place, imitate all of the postures and follow along with no trouble. Whatever they sense, they certainly sense the expectations of the other people there.