DMC 27-28: Weekday Masses

Daily Mass in the life of children is questioned. I’m not sure where I stand on the boredom issue. Any Mass led by adults who are not solicitous of the spiritual needs of children will be boring. On the other hand, meaningful daily worship with children could not be coordinated by anything less than a person working three to four hours a day. And that excludes the use of time to teach kids vocal or instrumental skills, to develop visual art, or to do liturgical formation.

27. Weekday Mass in which children participate can certainly be celebrated with greater effect and less danger of boredom if it does not take place every day (for example, in boarding schools). Moreover, preparation can be more careful if there is a longer interval between diverse celebrations. [Notitia 1]

A large parish school like mine would be able to handle daily communal worship, but not without coopting the parish’s 8:15 Mass or pressing upon our clergy an additional Mass–which would then need to be made funeral-proof in terms of scheduling.

Sometimes it will be preferable to have common prayer, to which the children may contribute spontaneously, or else a common meditation, or a celebration of the word of God. These are ways of continuing the eucharistic celebrations already held and of leading to a deeper participation in subsequent celebrations.

Liturgy of the Hours: not mentioned, but possibly the best available choice, whether it would be done in the classroom, a chapel, or the church.

28. When the number of children who celebrate the eucharist together is very great, attentive and conscious participation becomes more difficult. Therefore, if possible, several groups should be formed; these should not be set up rigidly according to age but with regard for the children’s progress in religious formation and catechetical preparation.

During the week such groups may be invited to the sacrifice of the Mass on different days.

Until a last year, the structure was to split the school in two for Wednesday and Thursday Masses. Grades 6-7-8 at one; younger kids at the other. On holy days, all the school would worship together.

This past year we’ve done a single weekly school Mass. It has advantages and disadvantages. But I’m curious as to what you think. Perhaps add your own current experiences with weekly, daily, and/or Eucharistic prayer with children.

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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.

2 Responses to DMC 27-28: Weekday Masses

  1. CarpeNoctem says:

    I have a problem with this paragraph in that I owe my priestly vocation, I think, to the fact that my Catholic grade school went to Mass every day (the last year I was in grade school, it was reduced to once a week, I believe in response to this very directive.)

    Besides the innumerable graces of daily communion (coupled with monthly confession at the time), I think what was particularly impressed upon me was the rhythms and patterns of the Church year… the seasons, the sanctoral cycle, progressive reading of the lectionary, etc. We only had music once a week out of the 5 days, which I don’t think was a problem or disadvantage, either. I remember enjoying music day immensely, but the ‘quiet’ days increased the impact of these other celebrations. I also know that my vocabulary was strengthened by listening to the lectionary every day- which I doubt one could say about today’s lectionary. I am embarassed for our children over about second grade when I am asked to read from the children’s lectionary. I tend to reserve the use of this lectionary only for rare use with the youngest children (or in the case of very difficult ‘regular’ readings as an alternate or optional reading for our young people).

    I know I am remembering all of this in a somewhat idealistic light… I also know that so many of my peers who had the exact same experience of daily Mass are massively dysfunctional Catholics is one way or another. I, however, reinterate my main point: Daily Mass in grade school was the genesis of my priestly vocation.

    I think the once-a-week Mass at our parish for our school children is not enough, and I think that there are many parents who agree with this assessment… The bigger problem, however, is not more Masses on the weekdays, rather than encouraging or insisting on weekend attendance of whole families.

  2. Todd says:

    CN, I would tend to agree with you. It is difficult to convince educators of the value of daily worship. Not that they don’t have the best intentions at heart, mind you. But there is a very pragmatic streak in American Catholicism.

    Very strong agreement on families at Sunday Mass.

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