DMC 20-21: When Adults Are Few

In the US, school liturgies are the most common application of Chapter III: Masses With Children in Which Only a Few Adults Participate:

20. In addition to the Masses in which children take part with their parents and other family members (which are not always possible everywhere), Masses with children in which only a few adults take part are recommended, especially during the week. From the beginning of the liturgical reform it has been clear to everyone that some adaptations are necessary in these Masses. [See DMC 3.]

Such adaptations, but only those of a more general kind, will be considered later (nos. 38-54).

DMC 21 contains a very important principle we’ve definitely lost in light of multiple child and teen celebrations of Reconciliation form II. But the Mass sometimes suffers too from this lack of grounding in and preparation for the Sunday Eucharist:

21. It is always necessary to keep in mind that these eucharistic celebrations must lead children toward the celebration of Mass with adults, especially in the Masses at which the Christian community must come together on Sundays. [See Sacrosanctum Concilium 42 and 106.] Thus, apart from adaptations that are necessary because of the children’s age, the result should not be entirely special rites, markedly different from the Order of Mass celebrated with a congregation. [See “De Liturgia in prima Synodo Episcoporium”: Notitiae 3 (1967) 368.] The purpose of the various elements should always correspond with what is said in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal on individual points, even if at times for pastoral reasons an absolute identity cannot be insisted upon.

Readers, how would you interpret this? “No special rites” seems clear enough. At what point does an adaptation lose the “partial” identity? How does one finesse these points when, as in my situation, the entire student body, pre-K through grade 8, is gathered for Mass?

Other comments, too?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Directory for Masses With Children, Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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