Planning Masses with children
We are all called to participate fully every time we come to celebrate the Eucharist. Sometimes, we tend to interpret participation as a job for everyone when we plan Masses with children. This can have the effect of turning Mass into a performance where everyone has a role to play and we forget what we are really there to do. It can also mean that once a child has finished his or her job they switch off and no longer see themselves as participants. Asking the children to do, remember or perform more than the liturgy calls for may simply be too much.
One of the most important ways that we participate in Mass is by praying and responding to the words of the priest. Take time to remind children of the prayers of the Mass and encourage them to pray them at the appropriate times. The same is true of being familiar with standing, sitting and kneeling at the correct places in the liturgy. Children may need to be reminded of this as part of their preparation.
Older children, those in 5th and 6th classes, are more suited to the ministry of the Word at Masses with children. The Word of God must be read with understanding and conviction, not simply learned off for the occasion. Take time to explore the readings with the children before the Mass is celebrated. It is also good for children to see adult members of the school community exercise a ministry during Mass. Consider asking if there are Ministers of the Word or of Communion among the staff community who would be willing to participate on the day.
Music is an important part of our liturgical celebrations. Teach the songs to all children beforehand and encourage them all to sing. In the words of St Augustine, ‘when we sing we pray twice’. Children who play musical instruments can also be encouraged to participate in the music for the Mass.
Praying the New Missal
Click on links for –
Come, Gather and Celebrate
Praying the New Missal with Children
The resources – including a teacher’s workbook and three different workbooks for children – are written by Maeve Mahon and Elaine Mahon.
It is hoped that this book will help teachers understand more fully the rationale for the changes that have been made to the Mass texts, introduce them to the new texts and suggest ways that they can communicate and teach the changes to children so that they will be enabled and encouraged to become full, active and conscious participants at Mass.
A Guide for Teachers content includes a DVD featuring a celebration of the Mass according to the new rite and resources for use with interactive whiteboards.
The workbooks for children contains explanatory text for children, worksheets for use in the classroom and worksheets for use at home, including a section for parents