DMC 55: Conclusion

The final section of the DMC. It’s been a wild ride, hasn’t it?

55. The contents of the Directory have as their purpose to help children readily and joyfully to encounter Christ together in the eucharistic celebration and to stand with Him in the presence of the Father. [See Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer II.] If they are formed by conscious and active participation in the eucharistic sacrifice and meal, they should learn day by day, at home and away from home, to proclaim Christ to others among their family and among their peers, by living the “faith, that works through love” (Gal 5:6).

You have to love the hammering away on “conscious and active participation,” don’t you?

This Directory was prepared by the Congregation for Divine Worship. On 22 October 1973, Pope Paul VI approved and confirmed it and ordered that it be published.

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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.

3 Responses to DMC 55: Conclusion

  1. Gavin says:

    The DMC is completely ignored at my parish and the school, definitely for the better from what I’ve read.

    Now I am not a liturgical scholar, nor do I have any education in child psychology. I am, however, at a minimum of 9 years older than our oldest students and tend to do an outstanding job when I have to interact with them, so take my opinion as you will. I simply don’t see the need for celebrating Mass ANY differently with children. There’s a matter of catechesis, and careful pastoral application of the options of the Roman Rite. But beside that, it seems to me that the DMC has advocated nearly consistently that Masses with large amounts of children present should be “dumbed down” as much as possible. Not that liturgy shouldn’t be “dumbed down” for children: one should not give sermons on homoousis vs. homoiousis or subject children week after week to a slew of unfamiliar music. Nor would I even agree with the usage of the Roman Canon on a regular basis with children. Rather what I’m saying is that one must give children the Mass, unaltered. The liturgical year, unaltered. That’s the only way they can learn how to attend Mass. It doesn’t help them if they have to sing “hosanna in the highest!” in the middle of the canon or if they’re instructed to come together to hold hands at the Pater if that isn’t what’s going on in the parish.

    When I plan music for our school liturgies, the #1 thing on my mind (besides the musical demands of the Rite) is that the children be well-suited to attend liturgy in the Catholic Church. To that end, I use the NCC’s “Ecumenical Hymn List” and a self-made list of all the Catholic hymns and chants that are on a “must know” basis. For music, given the upcoming translation, I restrict us to Jubilate Deo Mass and Mass of Creation (since it’s already known) and any extremely simple vernacular settings. Given the renewed and spreading interest in chant, I want them to be prepared to go to a parish as Catholic adults and be able to sing the parts of Mass with the congregation.

    And THAT, I think, should be the goal of Masses with children: raise them to be Catholics. I’m reminded of our parish youth group, which frequently has traditional devotions. I had the privilege of playing music for their “mini holy hour” (a 40 minute Holy Hour) and I was struck that at our parish the kids are being taught how to be Catholic. My upbringing? Service projects (very good), “what does God mean to YOU?”, and “meditation”. My mother’s preconciliar catechesis was different but no better, I’ve heard. Let’s focus on giving the kids something to rise up to and grow to love rather than something that’s always changing that they won’t recognize on Sundays anyway.

  2. Anne says:

    Gavin,
    Respectfully, you haven’t been paying attention to the DMC posts. It highly recommends that children celebrate a true Eucharistic celebration in order that they learn about the liturgy and learn how to participate. You say”Let’s focus on giving the kids something to rise up to and grow to love rather than something that’s always changing that they won’t recognize on Sundays anyway.” Where in the DMC does it say that we should always keep changing things for kids?” I was involved for a couple of years in a Children’s Liturgy of the Word program. We always made sure this was liturgy. The children listened to the appropriate Word proclaimed, heard a homily, prayed the intercessions and recited a Creed when appropriate. They were learning, understanding and participating.

  3. Gavin says:

    Anne, I’ll respond more fully later when I’m not on my way to the door to leave for Good Friday. But to say it quickly, an example would be the Eucharistic Prayer for Masses with Children. If we were talking something that compressed the overly verbose Roman Canon into a couple paragraphs, that’s great. But the EP is very different in structure, with additional acclamations and such. That’s an example of something I think does more harm than good.

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