Play Mass

Commented upon at dotCommonweal, I can’t resist my own comments on this.

My Mass Kit is the flagship product in the Wee Believers™ Catholic toy line.  This innovative, educational and entertaining soft-sculpture toy is aimed at play for boys ages 3-12.  Children will enjoy “playing Mass” using this kit as a part of their playtime activities at home or at school, and in environments such as a church sanctuary where busy-child activity requires solemn attendance.

Flagship? What’s with this word? I see it applied to naval fleets, starships, and now Catholic web pages and a toy.

Can you imagine if bunches of feminist moms bought this up and gave it to their daughters? Or what would happen in the conservative households if the little girls complained and were given a napkin to put on their heads.

Troparion Corporation suggests the kids bring it to church with them. That might be good. Foam hosts join Cheerios as the litter of choice for the back pew. A whole new generation of unfavorable clergy comparisons: “I like little Mikey’s Mass better than Father’s.”

If you’re thinking of this being a great Christmas present, Fr Jim Martin of America plays the Scrooge for you:

Here is what the Code of Canon Law says:

“Can. 1378 §2: The following incur a latae sententiae interdict** or, if a cleric, a latae sententiae suspension: 1° a person who, not being an ordained priest, attempts to celebrate Mass…”


“Can. 1379: A person who, apart from the cases mentioned in can. 1378, pretends to administer a sacrament, is to be punished with a just penalty.”

In this case, I suppose the “just penalty” would be a time-out.

Canonically safer would be a play liturgical musician’s kit. Plush guitar, amp, microphone, music stand, hymn board, toy piano, etc.. Maybe a real kazoo.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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17 Responses to Play Mass

  1. Fran says:

    I do think that this leaves me in a rare condition!

    And that would be speechless.

    When I was a kid (I am 51) I did not dare ever think of being a priest. But boy was I ever jealous of those altar boys in their finery. I wanted that job so bad I could taste it.

    I am not sure if this toy makes me want to laugh or cry.

    And we see that speechless truly is a rare condition for me. I was for a second in any case!

  2. Anne says:

    It might be on the list of toys that came out today with a high content of lead or other potential poisons! Better check on that!

  3. Gavin says:

    Hmm, I used to “play Mass” when I was 6 or 7, but I just wore a blanket like a chausible, stood behind a table, and recited out of my child’s missal. Didn’t know that was a mortal sing.

    Canonically safer would be a play liturgical musician’s kit. Plush guitar, amp, microphone, music stand, hymn board, toy piano, etc.. Maybe a real kazoo.

    For kids? I think that stuff is all you need to play at a typical suburban Catholic parish…

  4. Liam says:

    It’s missing lace and, most important of all, collection baskets.

    The foam circlets will undoubtedly be a safety hazard.

    And where’s the muscatel?

  5. Lou Isaf says:

    Oh, no, it seems like none of you know your history or tradition very well. “Play” Mass kits for children have been around since well before Vatican II, and are primarily created to help instill a love and appreciation for the Sacred Mysteries of the Mass and call young boys to the priesthood.

    Archbishop Raymond Burke, former Archbishop of St. Louis and now the prefect for the Vatican’s highest court (which by the way deals directly with liturgical abuses) has spoken on several occasions about how as a young boy he had a toy Mass kit, and how his siblings and neighbors (both boys and girls) would “play Mass” as youngsters. He credits that experience as one of the primary ways he was called to the priesthood as a young boy. If you do a little research on this toy, you will find out that he reviewed AND gave his endorsement to it.

    If children can “play firemen” or “play teacher”, why shouldn’t we encourage them to “play priest”, the highest vocational calling on earth.

    So with all do respect, I suggest you reconsider what the actual intentions of this company might be (they are called Wee Believers for Pete’s sake). It looks like they just want to help kids love God and the Catholic Church and oh no, maybe consider a vocation to the priesthood.

  6. Liam says:


    I am sure at least several of us are quite aware of that history. And when I was growing up, if we encountered anyone with such a kit instead of scavenging, they would have been considered to have missed the point. The point of a game was to do unexpected things with household items. Only adults would the the point was imitative at a purely earnest level. This is one of the problems with adults creating purposeful toys for children – the adults lose sight of the primacy of play rather than purposefulness.

  7. Anne says:

    If children can “play firemen” or “play teacher”, why shouldn’t we encourage them to “play priest”, the highest vocational calling on earth.

    Little girls like to play priest as well. I know I did.

  8. Deacon Eric says:

    I think it’s interesting that this kit does not include a lectionary or gospel book. I took a look at my calendar, and by gosh, it’s not 1956. What about the Liturgy of the Word? One cannot pretend to have Mass with only the Eucharistic Prayer. That’s disembodied nonsense.

  9. Anne says:

    Good point Eric!

  10. Tony says:

    This is the perfect gift for your wannabe priestess who has a hankering to “play mass”.

    You would have to add an obligatory red poncho and loose-leaf “sacramentary” (to read the latest neo-pagan “consecration”) to the kit to make it complete.

    The next thing we’re going to see in the series is a “play ordination” kit. :)

  11. Gavin says:

    Of course, the kids can’t celebrate a valid Mass with it. Because there’s no maniple.

  12. Shannon says:

    And where, pray tell, are the Necco wafers? Can’t play Mass without the Necco wafers!

    Actually, I think Catechesis of the Good Shepherd does a much better job than “Wee Believers” does. Why use foam and cheap stuff? Why not let children use quality materials?

  13. CarpeNoctem says:

    Hello, Fr. Martin? Can we say ‘cherry-picking from canon law’? What about Can. 1323:

    No one is liable to a penalty who, when violating a law or precept… 1) has not completed the sixteenth year of age…”

    There has got to be a remark to make about ‘womenpriests’ ‘playing Mass’ in this context, but out of Advent charity, I’ll leave it be for now.

  14. How y’all crammed into that teapot to stir up that tempest, I can’t imagine…

  15. Rani says:

    Uh, I agree with Fr. Martin Fox. Let kids be kids. Let them enjoy and experience Mass to the fullest. If, a foam set bothers you don`t buy it for your kids. I can`t believe you complain about cheerios on the seat.

    Would you rather we leave our children uneducated about the Church? How is a Catholic mom to compete with all the media and goodies out there that are worldy?

    Come on.

  16. Will says:

    Doing a make-believe Mass as part of childhood play is not what the Code of Canon Law is referring to, lol. It’s referring to people who attempt to do a *real* Mass without the requisite authority to do so. Sheesh, I’m not a believer no less a Catholic, but this is just common sense. As long as the kids don’t believe that they’re doing a real Mass, it’s fine.

  17. Patrick O'R says:

    i think the point that is greatly missed here is the words from Jesus himself where he reprimands his disciple’s for pushing the children away. Jesus calls the children to himself and warns anyone who would push them away. so a mass kit for a young boy to play mass with being done under proper education and guidance of a parent would draw him closer to Jesus. now that being said great care and respect should be given by the child when playing mass, but i think it is the parent that also needs to grow with the young boy so they both grow in understanding and love for the mass and what great gift it gives us all when we celebrate it.

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