DMC 13-15: More on Liturgy

The next three sections of the Directory for Masses With Children are brief and address related points. So let’s take them in one gulp:

13. Various kinds of celebrations may also play a major role in the liturgical formation of children and in their preparation for the Church’s liturgical life. By the very fact of such celebrations children easily come to appreciate some liturgical elements, for example, greetings, silence, and common praise (especially when this is sung together). But care must be taken that the instructive element does not become dominant in these celebrations.

The DMC is speaking of liturgy outside of the Mass. Liturgical greetings are important: they establish the sense of dialogue that is common to the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, and other sacramental celebrations. The inclusion of call-and-response forms, microliturgy I think of them, reinforce the notion that prayer is a dialogue and encounter with God. They also serve as an artistic counterpoint to long stretches of monologue in the liturgy.

Note the importance of silence above. In my experience, children of all ages are capable of silence. Usually more than adults, especially catechists and pastors give them credit for. Children (and adults) also need to be formed in what to do with silence. It’s not a resting period.

As a pastoral musician, I’m heartened to see communal singing emphasized here.

14. Depending on the capacity of the children, the word of God should have a greater place in these celebrations. In fact, as the children’s spiritual capacity develops, celebrations of the word of God in the strict sense should be held frequently, especially during Advent and Lent. [See Sacrosanctum Concilium art. 35, 4.] These will help greatly to develop in the children an appreciation of the word of God.

Do we celebrate the Word often enough with kids? I don’t think so.

15. While all that has been said remains true, the final purpose of all liturgical and eucharistic formation must be a greater conformity to the Gospel in the daily life of the children.

Good. The bottom line is the second purpose of liturgy: sanctification. The goal of celebrating liturgy with children is not necessarily to make them good at singing, praying, or knowledge. The point is for them to be saints.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Directory for Masses With Children, Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to DMC 13-15: More on Liturgy

  1. Bosco Peters says:

    More on the Liturgy of the Hours ecumenically can be found at

    http://www.liturgy.co.nz/ofthehours/resources.html

    Thanks for your post

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