Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Is the Old Mass boring for children?

I am having a busy week of training for the altar servers - a sort of training / retreat morning each day. For some unfathomable reason, parents seemed really quite keen to leave their children at church for a few mornings during the summer holidays!  

The training is for those who mostly serve the Ordinary Form of Mass but on Tuesdays we celebrate the Extraordinary Form, so they came on to serve and were marshalled through the Mass, doing most of the serving under instruction at the time. I must say, they were very attentive and watched avidly.  Their opinion afterwards among the typical 12 year old... "The time went very quickly."

So it seems that silence, unfamiliar ritual and the Latin language are not the cause of boredom for children at Mass after all.

I never doubted it!


Eccles said...

Contrast the typical NO Mass where most kids refuse to pay attention, or even take it seriously, following the example of their parents.

Melanie said...

Fr. George Grynowski, parish priest of St. John Fisher church in West Heath, Birmingham, has twice celebrated a TLM for the children in our primary school. The feedback from the children afterwards was very positive. Try it yourself, Fr Henry!

Supertradmum said...

Maria Montessori has an excellent book explaining the EF for children. Many home schooling moms use it.

Of course, I grew up in the EF and was never bored.

Here is link to the book.

John said...

My youngest daughter get bored easily particularly at NO Masses. On the other hand, she is always quiet, and composed at EF Masses. She is 15 now and follows an EF Mass easily and loves to help me when she thinks I lost my place in the Missal.

She has learned the propers and gets good grades in Latin in HS.

Tony Heyes said...

That's because it's a 'sacred mystery' and not the usual liturgical callisthenics.

Tony Heyes said...

When the 'sacred mysteries' are celebrated reverently in the EFM, the sense of the numinous is profound, almost tangible. This contrasts markedly with the liturgical callisthenics with which younger people are all too familiar with. It is no wonder that they find the EFM arresting.

Celia said...

I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s sitting through Low Mass, usually gabbled by a priest who probably didn't understand much Latin, and found it excruciatingly boring. As I did the vernacular Mass, once the novelty of singing 'Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore' amd 'Kumbaya' wore off.

I now love the EF (although unable to get to it frequently) and find the OF bearable, because I understand what the Mass is about, which I didn't when young. I suspect that children who enjoy the EF have been well-catechised by devout parents, while those bored children at the OF have the same problem I had: parents who attended Mass routinely, but without great enthusiasm.

GOR said...

Celia: as to priests not understanding much Latin back in the day, I would disagree. Through the 50s and early 60s Latin was still taught in Secondary Schools in many countries. Altar boys (and most future priests of the time would have served as altar boys) would have already learned the responses in Grade school.

Further, in the Pontifical Universities in Rome (Gregorian, Angelicum, Lateran, etc.) ALL lectures and exams (oral and written) were in Latin well into the 60s. No courses in Latin were offered at those universities back then, as it was assumed that all seminarians attending understood Latin. Today, I note that the Angelicum offers courses in Latin.

As to the ‘gabbling’ by priests back then, recall that most of the Mass was prescribed to be said sotto voce - not proclaimed aloud. Compare it to how you might recite the rosary alone, versus aloud to a congregation in church.

But I am often tempted to ask our assisting priest (retired, mid 80s) - who insists on saying “For you and for ALL” - if when he celebrated Mass in Latin years ago (as he would have for years), did he change the wording from “Pro vobis et pro multis” to “Pro vobis et pro OMNIBUS”…?

I suspect I know the answer…