DMC 22: Liturgical Ministries

Chapter Three’s Part 1. Offices and Ministries in the Celebration addresses liturgical ministries. Internal participationists who complain about multiple liturgical roles won’t like it. While the DMC differentiates between the two, this is where the Church connects ordinary participation with liturgical ministry.

Children in leadership roles are regarded as a tool for the “increase” and the “intensification” of the participation of children as a whole.

22. The principles of active and conscious participation are in a sense even more significant for Masses celebrated with children. Every effort should therefore be made to increase this participation and to make it more intense. For this reason as many children as possible should have special parts in the celebration: for example, preparing the place and the altar (see no. 29), acting as cantor (see no. 24), singing in a choir, playing musical instruments (see no. 32), proclaiming the readings (see nos. 24 and 47), responding during the homily (see no. 48), reciting the intentions of the general intercessions, bringing the gifts to the altar, and performing similar activities in accord with the usage of various peoples (see no. 34).

Note: as many children as possible should have special parts.

To encourage participation, it will sometimes be helpful to have several additions, for example, the insertion of motives for giving thanks before the priest begins the dialogue of the preface.

More than one example may have been helpful, but a multiplicity of examples sometimes replaces the application of discernment and common sense.

Lastly, the DMC doesn’t see internal participation in conflict with external activities. A warning is offered that all of this must be attended to in good liturgical ministry.

In all this, it should be kept in mind that external activities will be fruitless and even harmful if they do not serve the internal participation of the children. Thus religious silence has its importance even in Masses with children (see no. 37). The children should not be allowed to forget that all the forms of participation reach their high point in eucharistic communion, when the body and blood of Christ are received as spiritual nourishment. [See GIRM 56.]

I think the instruction here is balanced. It presumes an internal faith on the part of the faithful, including children. It encourages participation and advocates for special roles. Only then, does the DMC rightly caution that external activities should not overshadow the internal, and underscores the importance of silence and of receiving Holy Communion. That strikes me as about the right balance. How about you?

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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.

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