Monday, 26 June 2017

First Holy Communions

 Yesterday we had our second "batch" of First Communicants. Congratulations to all of them. Family visitors from Nottingham and Poland had come for the Mass! 

We have had a small group of five this year. Sad that there are so few but the bonus is that these are all children who come regularly to Mass with their families and who will continue to come to Mass. After 25 years of trying very many plans, courses, inducements, carrots and sticks, we at least no longer suffer the disappointment of seeing lots of children making their First Communion and then disappearing forever from the following Sunday. 

Like all priests, I've experienced the depressing phenomenon of families attending all during the preparation, no matter how lengthy, and thinking that they might have gotten into the habit of coming to Mass and taking part in the life of the parish only to find that first Communion was also last Communion. That is, until they roll up at a school Mass (or a family funeral or wedding) and the teachers herd them all up to Communion without any instructions on going to Confession, as they are basically lapsed. And yes, I know it's not the children's fault but that of the parents; none the less, they learn by practical experience that its okay to be lapsed and go to Holy Communion whenever they happen to attend Mass every one, two three... or twenty years!

I have found in the past that it is possible, over a long period and if the school and staff are open to it, to catechise a procedure for more thought to go into this process but it is still definitely fighting against the "perceived" wisdom of the age. 

The vast majority of our children in Catholic schools are basically lapsed, it seems to me, so liturgies would be more suitable avoiding Mass and using para-liturgies - to evangelise first. Sadly, the lazy path is usually to put on a Mass, trying to squeeze in all sorts of unsuitable things to hold the interest, as so few of the children are able to make the basic responses, let alone understand what is meant to be happening. Thus we get the dance, drama art, secular music, secular readings and a myriad of other oddities squeezed into and distorting the Rite of the Mass. Much better to use all these things - and hopefully, Benediction, Rosary and Stations of the Cross - in other liturgies where we don't have to force the lapsed up to receive Communion when they are in no fit state to understand, appreciate or benefit from it.
The necessary certificates
and more importantly, cake!


Unknown said...

Thank you, Father, for such an acute analysis of the current tragic situation.Something to pray about to St Josemaria Escriva on his feast day.

Sixupman said...

It is interesting to note: that African children upon entering their pew, properly genuflect, that is until they reach a certain age range. The initial approach, I believe, has been taught at home and not school. Or am I wrong?

Luke said...

This is great news, father.
I've been praying for you. As it happens, I also prayed recently about the situation with school masses so this is quite apt.

David O'Neill said...

Were your First Communions at OF or EF Mass? Whichever I trust that, as in my home parish, all children took Communion kneeling & on the tongue & under one species (in an OF Mass). Probably the next time many of those children come within the radar will be when parents are applying for places in a Catholic school claiming to be "practising Catholics"

vetusta ecclesia said...

One of the (myriad!) problems with the Novus Ordo is that it leads, especially in children's or other groups' Masses, to a sort of "all must have prizes" mentality, a frantic desire to include every Tom, Dick and Harry in some aspect of the Mass.