Children's Liturgy? What are the norms/rules?

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cricker

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Greetings Brothers and Sisters!
I was just speaking to my brother in Texas, who was telling me that, in his church, once a month the children are taken from Mass into a seperate area to have a ‘children’s homily’ addressed to them specifically. I told him that, on a weekly basis, MY church excuses the children before the first reading, where they go to the parish center to have a ‘children’s version’ of the readings and gospel read to them, get a ‘children’s handout’, and hold a discussion time explaining what was read. They rejoin the congregation at the presentation of the gifts.

Is this proper, or are their ANY guidelines concerning celebrating this way?? My pastor also encourages all the children of the church to gather around the alter during the Consecration, which I KNOW is very very wrong – so this is bothering me as well. BTW, he is ‘retiring’ this month … PLEASE PLEASE pray that we receive a conservative, orthodox pastor!! Some of the Liturgical abuses that I witness literally make me sick to my stomach, to the point that I feel obligated to make reparation to the Most Holy for what I witness. Due to special circumstances, I KNEW that going to the priest in the past would do nothing to change these things … but now I have hope! PLEASE pray for our parish, and please let me know where I can go to get more information about the properness of the children’s Liturgy thing. Thank you, and God bless you all!!
Cricket
 
Cricker,

I was just browsing through the latest papal document, Redemptionis Sacramentum. You can find it here: usccb.org/liturgy/documents/instructioneng.htm
It deals with correcting some liturgical abuses.

I’m fairly sure that NO ONE is supposed to be around the altar during the Consecration, except for who’s supposed to be there. (Not saying this very well, but my brain is on stand-by today!) However, I’m not sure exactly where you can find this - probably in the GIRM, if it’s not covered in the document above. (I don’t recall seeing anything specific about this.)

As for Children’s Liturgy of the Word, avoid it at all costs! I do not know if this is really allowed by the Church. I don’t think it’s good for our children, though. I speak from experience. I know some will argue that their children love it and can finally understand what’s going on in Mass, etc. However, I feel it really teaches them that:
  1. We are at Mass to be entertained, or to play and have fun!
  2. Mass is boring and if you can leave it, even for just a little while, that’s great! We don’t need the graces we get simply from being there.
  3. It’s okay to ignore the Consecration and play with the papers they gave us at Children’s Liturgy. We know it’s okay because our parents even gave us a pen so we can do the crossword puzzles in the flyer. As long as we’re quiet and not disturbing others, it’s okay to turn our backs to the Lord and fill in the blanks of our papers, using the kneelers as seats and the pew seat as a table.
  4. It’s no big deal if we don’t make it back in time for the Consecration; and it’s okay if we all come marching noisily back into church in the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer. Nothing important going on there anyways…Mass is soooo boring!
It has slowly faded away from our parish, mainly because they couldn’t get enough volunteers, but also from the majority of parents who stopped sending their kids to this. I see it waning in other parishes as well. The children need to be at Mass with their parents.

I hope you can find the answers you need on this 🙂
 
I do not mind having my 3 boys with me for the entire mass, however I would appreciate it if my fellow parishioners were more understanding of my 1 year olds occasional vocalizations (not crying, more like loud goo or gah) He is at the age to talk, but not quite at the age to understand the work “quiet!”

Sometimes I wish there were a nursery or children’s liturgy, however I am willing to have my children with me, but I would like to have the support of those around me.

To be fair, most people are very gracious and even make positive comments about my growing family. Some people though, seem to think that children do not belong at mass.

BTW, my kids don’t color or eat, and I expect the 7 and 9 year old to follow along with the mass.

I am not sure if the children’s liturgy is correct or not. I am interested to find out.
 
IMHO, the “children’s liturgy” is a debacle. Most parishes excuse kids up to age 13 to hear the Gospel and a watered-down “homily” from some layperson. It is allowed, but it is a travesty. I think if a kid has made his First Holy Communion, they should be present throughout the entire Mass. It’s like Vacation Bible School with some of the parishes in my area. My own parish has never done that, but we seem to be exclusive in that practice.
 
Thank you all for your responses!

They echo what I was feeling, but I wanted to test it out on this board. I had a long talk with my son (8) this morning, and explained to him the violations I see within our church and the concept of ‘slippery slope’. He got it immediately, and we even brainstormed ways to avoid things like holding hands if you are not comfortable (and he really dislikes holding hands with strangers during the Our Father! He said "It’s not like the 80 year old lady next to me is my girlfriend – not that I would EVER hold hands with a girl in church anyway!) Out of the mouths of babes! 👍

I also told him to pray as we are getting a new Pastor (please pray for us!). The sudden retirement of our current one must be an answer to my prayers … I am feverently praying for a return to tradition within our 125 year-old parish!

Prayerfully Yours,
Cricket
 
I, too, have wondered about how licit this “Children’s Liturgy” is. At our parish, they used to use Lutheran materials for this! Our new pastor put the smack down on that right away, but the children are still dismissed most Sundays from the end of the Opening Prayer until the Offertory.
 
My parish instituted the Children’s Liturgy of the Word two years ago at the behest of the (then new) director of religious education who is as heterodoxical as one can get.

Kids aged 6-11 get up and parade out of Mass. They get the correct readings (I verified by checking out the book), but you know the “homily” is a bunch of hogwash given by an untrained laywoman…

Then they all parade back into Mass disrupting it something fierce, sometimes during the Eucharistic Prayer!

This DRE is retiring in a year. Glad to see her go. She is actually a friend of mine, but her “DRE-ness” is way out of line. I’ve spoken with her and with our pastor and things are staying status quo until her retirement.

Anywho, I truly abhor the Children’s Liturgy. Children belong IN MASS with their families, particularly after they have received their First Eucharist. Noisy children in church are a blessing and are indicative that The Church has a future!

'thann
 
Children’s Liturgy of the Word is an accepted practice in the Church as long as the proper guidelines are followed. The guidelines are to be found in the “Directory for Masses with Children” which was issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship in 1973. Go to a Catholic website (or even a web search engine) and see if you can do a search for it. I did find it somewhere on the web, but can’t remember the exact web site. There are several interesting articles concerning children’s liturgy on the archives at the catholicexchange.com web site. Do a search for “Children Masses” or “Children Liturgy.” Note: Just because a church may have a separate Children’s Liturgy of the Word, that does not mean that your children need to go. Pray about the decision that is right for your family. As long as the guidelines are being followed, then do not condemn the practice for those who decide to take advantage of its availability.
Peace to you!
 
Well, no wonder it’s so screwy. It hasn’t been revisited since 1973? At the height of liturgical confusion? Hmmm…

My priest friend calls it C.L.O.W.N. (Children’s Liturgy of the Word Nursery).
 
We’ve got one at our parish for ages 5-9 and I must say, I’ve been very pleased with it.

The kids hear the readings and a lesson based on the readings (done by a person whose orthodoxy I trust). The kids come back in during the Offertory (and are no more disruptive that the ushers 🙂

Like many things in the Church, it can be done well, or really screwed up.
 
My priest friend calls it C.L.O.W.N. (Children’s Liturgy of the Word Nursery).
:gopray: Smart priest - lucky you!
When I was in grade school, we had a special children’s Mass - which meant the children sat with their class and the priest’s sermon was directed to the children - in simple terms with everyday examples that I can still remember today…I think even the adults attending learned something! Of course, being in front of the church in plain view of a priest they respected meant they paid attention and knew their parent’s would be asking questions about what was said because they cared enough to make sure they really understood it.
I have also ‘had it’ with children being paraded up the altar steps several times during the Mass, facing the congregation and singing some ‘cute songs complete with gestures’ as if they were on stage at a concert! Is it any wonder they don’t know how to behave in church?
 
I find it interetsting that so many are hostile to the Children’s Liturgy of the Word. My new parish has this at the 11 am Mass only but I think it is done reverently and nicely. They leave just before the first reading and come back during the offertory.

What galls me about some of you people is that you rant against things that are actually approved even if in 1973! Just because it’s old does not make it invalid. If that logic worked the secularists would be right in denying the “old moral” and we know they are wrong on that.

It seems the same way with NFP. Why bother talking about family planning if in the opinion of many on these forums is that the good Lord only sends what he wants you to have? I think it is perfectly moral for a couple to use NFP to have a smaller family. Just as most of you homeschool as it is your choice, many Catholics use NFP to space or limit family size.

Criticize abuses of a teaching, but too often you seem to criticize the teaching and you fail to answer just who made you the magesterium?
 
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