We have a Eucharistic Prayer for children’s masses. Perhaps he used that.
Adding the Hail Mary to the bidding prayers or prayers of the failthful has also been addressed. Look to Marialis Cultus for direction on merging devotional prayers in to the Mass.
No, the gravity isn’t the same.
Having the people (even children) gather around the altar violates the very role of the priest at Mass as the one who consecrates. It’s a silly practice that serves no good purpose but merely trivializes the Mass. For good reason, the Church specifically forbids this practice.
On the other hand, there is a certain latitude given for the priest to close the petitions. There are some suggested prayers, but the priest is really given license to compose his own prayer here. So, while adding a “Hail Mary” is not exactly what the Church intended in the rubrics, neither is it a direct violation of the rubrics.
Having said that, though, adding the “Hail Mary” to some other part of the Mass would be a problem.
The two issues are just not on the same level.
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