A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

The Future of the Church

Posted on: November 10, 2014

Sometimes we may find crying infants or busy toddlers a distraction at Mass, to the point that we forget children are the future of the Church.

Our parish priest never forgets. When the children preparing for First Eucharist come forward with their worksheets or the youth take part in youth Mass or attend services as they prepare for Confirmation, he thanks their parents for bringing them to church.

By giving children and youth the chance to attend Mass and possibly serve as well, we’re giving them a precious gift: the chance to grow in their faith.

I’m fortunate to help organize the monthly youth Mass in our parish. Young people willingly sign up to serve during Mass. They read announcements, run slides, serve as lectors, lead the prayers, bring the gifts up to the priest, and take up the collection with a respectful, worshipful attitude—and often with more enthusiasm than adults who regularly fill these roles.

Based on my experience, our youth have some things to teach us about serving in church, such as these:

  • We always have one and sometimes two greeters at a youth Mass. People appreciate being welcomed. We could certainly remember to say hello and smile more. Think how much more welcoming our parish would be!
  • Youth Mass participants have their readings in advance and go over the announcements and prayers before the service starts so that they don’t trip over the words. Those of us who serve as lectors could make more of an effort to look at the readings in advance so that we can focus on the way we deliver them.
  • Those reading at youth Mass tend to speak clearly and into the microphone. When we read or lead prayers or the rosary, we could speak more clearly; the microphone at the ambo can only do so much to help those at the back hear what’s being said, and every church has corners where the acoustics are lacking.
  • While there are sometimes roles to fill at the start of a youth Mass, I know I can call on youth in the church to pitch in when needed. We could be more willing to volunteer. For example, if we notice the lector, sacristan or greeter hasn’t arrived, we could offer to help out. Or we could step forward during a particularly busy service when more people are needed to distribute the host during Communion.

I pray that we would encourage the youth and children of our parish—who will, one day, be the people greeting those arriving at church, leading the worship music, serving as lectors, and so on—to take part in youth and children’s Masses and experience serving in church. And I pray that we would learn from their example, too.

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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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