Monday, 12 May 2014

Eucharistic Prayers for Children

My idea of a school Mass (here at the London Oratory)

Fr   Gary   Dickson   has   posted   on   the  new  translation   of   the Eucharistic Prayers for Children.  I got the same advertising blurb and was   going   to   post   but   the   moment   slipped   me   by. Fortunately,    Fr    Dickson    says    more   or   less   everything   I wanted to say - as ever, in well reasoned and sensible tones.

I tried to use these prayers once or twice many years ago and found them very unhelpful and rather counter productive. The point of them, I presume, is to enable young children to take a more active part in the Mass (active in the sense of doing things, of course, not necessarily encouraging prayer, catechesis or understanding). These Eucharistic prayers would most often be used at Masses with the school and the sad truth is that the vast majority of children in nearly all our Catholic schools DO NOT EVER ATTEND MASS ON A SUNDAY.  Taking the time to teach them these extra responses that are not part of the "normal" Mass is a complete waste of time. These children do not know the Confiteor, the Sanctus or Agnus, nor any of the shorter responses from Mass ("Lord I am not worthy" etc). Far better to use the time and effort teaching them these responses so that they can at least be familiar with he Mass they would experience if they happen to ever go to Mass outside a school organised one or as an adult. Then they would at least have more chance of being able to actually take part and not feel "left out" (as the modern mantra has it).

School Mass at the Chevangnes International College in France.


Anonymous said...

Well said Father, we atteded a leavers Mass last friday for our year 11 children. It was a Novus Ordo and a shambles. The lack of repsect for receiving the Blessed Sacrament showed that for all their years in Catholic education they had either been taught nothing of the Faith or had no respect or idea.
St Michael pray for us.


Sixupman said...

This Saturday I heard Mass at my parish church, at which the PP referred to the children having their First Communion Mass at 14:30 on the Sunday. He opined: that it was likely to be both the first and last Holy Communion for the vast majority. 59 years and 11 months a priest, he tells it how it is. I could not hold the Canon in higher esteem, from my first meeting with him I was drawn to his genuine and wise nature.

Damask Rose said...

Re Sixupman's comment, they should just close the schools. The priests, school teachers, even the parents, it's a kind of sinning against the children. I don't know how to explain what I mean. For the children to have a first and last Holy Communion is deplorable. The children shouldn't be put in this situation. I don't know how to explain it. If the parents don't want the faith, let them go to a Protestant/no faith school and leave the children alone. If I were a priest, and saw the parents had no real interest in the faith, I wouldn't baptise their child, because that child would be my spiritual child, who I would also be responsible for. Of course nowadays they all get baptised, even more so I expect with Pope Francis...

So why doesn't Sixupman's Canon close the school, how can he let this go on?


As Fr Henry says, why aren't the children being familiarised with the Mass responses in School, it's not difficult?

Unknown said...

As parent I can vouch for not only the banality of 'children's' Masses, but also the fact that many children find them embarassing and dumbed-down. I agree that schools and churches should use the opportunity to teach children about the 'real' Mass responses when young (a great time to learn by rote). As you rightly say, they will then be more comfortable at Sunday Mass, which surely should be one of the main aims of religious education in schools - to get them to become, or sustain them in their life as, practising Catholics. For the above reasons we do not plan to stock this book at our bookstore: Cenacle Catholic Books, despite already having been asked for it!