Let the Little Children Come: A look at children's liturgy.Children's Liturgy has been around for a couple of decades now. I'm not sure how the idea originated: was it an attempt to duplicate the apparent success of some Protestant congregations by adapting the Sunday School Sunday school, institution for instruction in religion and morals, usually conducted in churches as part of the church organization but sometimes maintained by other religious or philanthropic bodies.
In England during the 18th cent. model? Did catechetical cat·e·che·sis
n. pl. cat·e·che·ses
Oral instruction given to catechumens.
[Late Latin cat experts really believe Catholic kids would grow up more committed to the Church if sent to another room and given pictures to colour during Mass? However well-intentioned, I believe it was a miscalculation mis·cal·cu·late
tr. & intr.v. mis·cal·cu·lat·ed, mis·cal·cu·lat·ing, mis·cal·cu·lates
To count or estimate incorrectly.
mis·cal . You don't need a sociology degree to tell you what all that grey hair in church means.
I hadn't given Children's Liturgy much thought until my oldest child began attending it (and I took my turn teaching). We soon opted out, partly because I thought the program was weak. My main objection was the dumbed-down scripture readings. (One annoying example: replacing "disciple" with "friend"--discipleship means far more than being pals with Jesus.)
However, it wasn't the program, but the timing that prompted our decision to forego Children's Liturgy. (If it took place immediately before or after Mass, I'd happily send my children, and help coordinate the program.) I know the argument: experts believe the Liturgy of the Word is incomprehensible to children. They say we must speak to kids "at their level," to facilitate understanding and prevent boredom. I disagree with Verb 1. disagree with - not be very easily digestible; "Spicy food disagrees with some people"
hurt - give trouble or pain to; "This exercise will hurt your back" this for several reasons, the first of which is that children are far more perceptive than we like to think. We mustn't underestimate the Holy Spirit's ability to touch childrens' hearts, even if they can't fully fathom the readings.
If we accept the "over their heads" argument, shouldn't we exclude children from the Liturgy of the Eucharist as well? If transubstantiation transubstantiation: see Eucharist.
In Christianity, the change by which the bread and wine of the Eucharist become in substance the body and blood of Jesus, though their appearance is not altered. isn't beyond them, what is? Do we then bar children (not to mention the mentally handicapped, and the culpably cul·pa·ble
Deserving of blame or censure as being wrong, evil, improper, or injurious. See Synonyms at blameworthy.
[Middle English coupable, from Old French, from Latin ignorant pew-warmer) from the entire Mass because they don't quite grasp what's happening? Perhaps only those with theology degrees should attend Mass.
It's true that small children are sometimes bored and restless in church. They also get bored in the doctor's waiting room, in the grocery lineup, at school, and at home. Children are children. Just as they need to learn patience, they must grow in faith and in their understanding of the Mass.
This is primarily the parents' responsibility. If going to Mass is a burden for them, it will be so for their children. The onus for a child's religious education is on the parents. For children who are exposed daily to prayer, scripture reading, discussion about God, and parental modelling of gospel values, even the best Children's Liturgy program can't compete with the graces obtained from attending Sunday Mass. For children who receive no religious instruction at home, a weekly dose of Children's Liturgy is unlikely to affect them in any significant way. Far from needing yet another peer situation, today's children Today's Children was the first nationally syndicated radio soap opera in the United States. Created and written by Irna Phillips, it aired from flagship station WMAQ in Chicago from 1932 to 1938, and later in national syndication (without the involvement of WMAQ) from 1943 need to see their parents worship, and to worship alongside them.
Children cannot grow to love the Mass if they miss half of it every Sunday. It's extremely ironic that many parishes sing their little ones young children.
See also: Little out the door with some version of Matthew 19:14 ("Let the children come to Me, and do not send them away"). Holy Mass is "where it's at," where Christ is physically present, yet we banish our youngsters to the basement, as if doing crafts and singing bible songs were the Main Event. By excusing our children from part of Mass, we're essentially telling them it isn't worth their time. Is it any wonder that many young people continue to believe this as they get older? The post-Confirmation dropout (1) On magnetic media, a bit that has lost its strength due to a surface defect or recording malfunction. If the bit is in an audio or video file, it might be detected by the error correction circuitry and either corrected or not, but if not, it is often not noticed by the human rate in many parishes is as predictable as it is tragic.
If Catholics fully comprehended the wonder of the Eucharist, entire congregations would faint away in ecstasy during Mass. The only thing likely to induce swooning swoon
intr.v. swooned, swoon·ing, swoons
1. To faint.
2. To be overwhelmed by ecstatic joy.
1. A fainting spell; syncope. See Synonyms at blackout.
2. in the average parish today is to suggest that we might spend more than 55 minutes in church on Sunday. Despite our mortal frailty frailty Vox populi A state of delicacy or weakness which, which encompasses age-related fragility, in particular osteoporosis. See FICSIT, Osteoporosis. and spiritual ignorance, all Catholics can increase in love for the Holy Sacrifice. We achieve this through frequent exposure, a reverent rev·er·ent
Marked by, feeling, or expressing reverence.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin rever and grateful attitude, and being open to the work of the Holy Spirit. We humbly approach the Word and Eucharist praying, "Lord I believe, help my unbelief," and we ought to encourage our children, regardless of age, to do the same.
Mariette Ulrich is from Scott, SK and Catholic Insight's Western columnist. She is a mother of six daughters. She can be contacted at: email@example.com