A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Children and the Joy of Worship

Posted on: March 27, 2014

This morning, I attended Mass with some of the children from one of our parish schools. I needed to make an announcement about an upcoming youth Mass and the activity to follow.

What I noticed might surprise those of us whose children and youth sometimes fidget or are talkative at Mass or who think children tend to disrupt the service:

  •       The students entered and left quietly and stood and knelt when asked.
  •       They served at the altar, read the scripture passages and prayers, and operated the slide projector for the service.
  •       When the priest asked questions about the content of the readings and the lessons they should take away, they were quick to raise their hands and offered thoughtful answers.
  •       The older children were reverent when receiving the host, as were the younger ones when receiving a blessing.

Our parish priest often thanks parents for bringing their children to Mass and says it gives him hope for the future of the Church. Attending Mass is key to their growth in the faith.

Assuming that our children won’t be able—or willing—to participate at Mass and not bringing them to church means that the younger ones miss out on taking part in the children’s liturgy (if offered in our parish) and some of the preparation for and anticipation of receiving their First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. They miss out on the opportunity to feel like they’re part of the parish community during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

And our older children? As they prepare to receive the sacrament of Confirmation and beyond, their connection with the faith, the Church and their parish needs to be strengthened by regular attendance at and participation in the Mass.

If our children have the opportunity to serve during Mass with their classmates or at the parish children’s or youth Mass, I pray that we would encourage them to get involved according to their gifts. That we would recognize that children and youth can greet parishioners, serve as lectors and gift bearers, take up the offering, participate in the music ministry, and more—with reverence and, often, with more joy than the adults in the congregation.

How lovely is your dwelling place,

O LORD of hosts!

Blessed are those who dwell in your house,

ever singing your praise!                             Selah

For a day in your courts is better

than a thousand elsewhere.

~ Psalm 84:1, 4, 10a*

(*Scripture quote taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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