The weather outside is frightful, but inside, let’s finish up the intro section for funeral rites for children:
242. Special consideration should be given to any sisters, brothers, friends, or classmates of the deceased child who may be present at the funeral rites. Children will be better able to take part in the celebration if the various elements are planned and selected with them in mind: texts, readings, music, gesture, processions, silence. The minister may wish to offer brief remarks for the children’s benefit at suitable points during the celebration.
These considerations are for children in the liturgical assembly. We’ll get to a brief examination of the texts for Mass, but you should know the Scripture readings are not edited or “dumbed down” in any way. The selections do tend to be more brief. Note that silence remains an important liturgical virtue. Some would say in spite of the presence of children. But I would say because of them, in part.
If children will be present at the funeral rites, those with requisite ability should be asked to exercise some of the liturgical roles. During the funeral Mass, for example, children may serve as readers, acolytes, or musicians, or assist in the reading of the general intercessions and in the procession with the gifts. Depending on the age and number of children taking part, adaptations recommended in the Directory for Masses with Children may be appropriate.
Children may serve in liturgical roles. They don’t have to. Their liturgical involvement as members of the assembly is primary, of course.
The point of OCF 242 is for ministers to make good judgments regarding siblings and peers. When children are at the vigil, the funeral, or at the committal service, it is ideal to consider their needs through the liturgy. And if their deeper liturgical involvement will be of benefit to them or to the faith community as a whole, then some consideration may be given as to how that will happen.