I do sort of agree, even if they can’t understand exactly whats going on during Mass, it certianly can’t hurt, and even by watching and listning they’ll learn what to do and what everyhing means.
I “taught” Children’s Liturgy of the Word at our parish for several years; it doesn’t bother me at all. Our CLOW is confined to those children who are actually younger than the age of reason and have not yet received First Eucharist. Technically, most of them are not actually required to attend Mass anyway.
We always tried to make the lesson meaningful, and I am sure that they went away with at least some understanding of the week’s readings and Gospel, which they likely would not have if they were in the pew. (I recently saw this described as “active participation of children growing in the faith of their parents.” diocese-sdiego.org/OLSFiles/LITURGY%20OLD/Guidelines_English/CHLITW.HTM)
This is, of course, a perfectly acceptable practice, (Nos. 16-17, Decree and Directory for Masses with Children).
In my parish we sometimes have a children’s Liturgy of the Word, with the children sent away during the readings and homily, and returning in time for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. So they are in the church for the consecration, if you want to consider that the “Main Event.”
I don’t have kids and have never attended the children’s liturgy of the word, so I can’t speak to the criticism of any content. However, I would make the following observations:
Whether or not it helps the kids grow in their spirituality, sending the kids away for the readings and the homily may very well help the parents, who can probably use 15-20 minutes of uninterupted time to pray, listen to the readings, and reflect on them from an adult perspective. I would imagine that opportunities to do this are rare, and truly listening and reflecting on the readings is probably difficult for parents if they are attending to a small child.
Kids seem to have an easier time remaining well-behaved during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This may be because the sung parts of the Mass keep their attention better, or it may be something else. But sending the kids away for the part of the Mass where they seem most likely to get antsy is not necessarily a bad idea. Which leads to. . .
My own personal observation is that the number of children who become disruptive and have to be taken out off Mass before the end is higher on the weekends when there is no children’s Liturgy of the Word than on the weekends where there is a children’s liturgy.
Holy Mass is “where it´s at,” where Christ is physically present, yet we banish our youngsters to the basement, as if doing crafts and singing bible songs were the Main Event.
I agree there are definitely problems with most Children’s Liturgy of the Word programs especially if they are doing crafts and singing songs (other than the Psalm and the Alleluia.)
However the premise that the children are banished to the basement when Christ is Really present is problematic because while the Mass has Liturgies of the Word in two distinct places, the Liturgy of the Eucharist is only in one.
We don’t have a Children’s Liturgy of the Word at my parish. In fact, I’ve never seen it at a Catholic parish. it makes much more sense for protestant services where the homily is the highlight of the service.
The understand the idea behind a CLOW --helping children who cannot yet receive the Eucharist to understand the scripture better. I just haven’t heard that the execution is ever very good and I don’t believe that children can’t be taught to love Mass and behave appropriately there.
I assume all the folks who hate to hear children in Mass are the ones taking turns running the CLOW. :rolleyes:
The Canadian Bishops have issued a guide on “Celebrating the Liturgy of the Word with Children.” The main points:
It should not be done frequently, per the Directory on Masses with Children which says “occasionally”.
If done as it’s supposed to be, it should be the same as what is happening with their parents: a first reading, a psalm, the Gospel (all from their own approved Lectionary, which does exist and is in language at their level), a reflection (which can be question and answer), the Creed, Intercessions and then return to the assembly in time for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
It should be for children who haven’t received their first communion, but not babes in arms who can more properly be said to be babysat than celebrating a liturgy.
If pencils and paper come into play you no longer have a “Liturgy of the Word”.
Well, then you would assume wrong.
I “ran the CLOW” because I wanted to help ensure that the little ones could hear the readings and the Gospel in a way they could understand, in the prescribed manner. Then, they all returned to their parents for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, where they could then be “taught to love Mass and behave appropriately.”
Thank you! I was being sarcastic and that never ends well. I do appreciate your service to the children of the church. I teach CCD for the same reasons, but as I said, my parish doesn’t have a Children’s Liturgy of the Word either regularly or occasionally.
Our Parish has had Children’s Liturgy of the Word for many years. The author’s critisims are a bit unfounded. The word is read and then discussed in a mannor to which they can relate. We suscribe to a service that provides illastrated versions of the reading for that Sunday. It’s not a dumbing down of the scriptures, it’s making it a more understandable format. Best of all it works. It works with the children’s understanding of the word, and of thier faith.
We do it also, only twice a month. It is a real Liturgy of the Word, not a catechetical or “craft session.” We find that our kids, when not in the CLOW the other weeks, now know the Creed and the responses and sing the Responsorial Psalm. They also, during the CLOW pray for their own needs and the needs of others (usually their grandparents but somtimes their prayers are profound) during the petitions. We also find that the kids who participate in the CLOW are better behaved when they return back to their parents. Also the parents get to listen very attentivly to a homily without distractions.
Are those who preach (teach the readings) at CLOW ordained just as they are upstairs? Are they supposed to be?
Does anyone else notice how dangerously close CLOW is to CLOWn?
I used to be involved in Children’s Liturgy of the Word when I was in Austin. It was interesting, to say the least. We kept it reverent and tried to explain the readings to the kids. However, I do not think that our pastor or any of the priests looked over the “reflections”.
From what I understand, Rome is having a serious review of the whole Directory for Masses with Children. As far as I can tell, the EPs for Children are going to take a hiatus for (what I hope to be) a good while as the Holy See is studying the matter.
Last Sunday, my parochial vicar preached an incredible homily. He said that one of the parents at the “children’s Mass” criticized him for not “speaking” to the kids during the homily and directing his words to the parents. My PV told him that was exactly his intent. The parents are supposed to be the first teachers of the faith to their children. Proper behavior at Mass begins at home. The parents should be engaging their children in discussing the Mass and explaining what goes on during the Holy Sacrifice.
This is the best summation of what is currently permitted that I have found:
The short answers seems to be 1) not often, unless there is a spare deacon around 2) apparently not, according to the above cited link, which references official documents.
Snarkiness and insults of those who are giving of their time to a currently approved ministry is unnecessary and uncharitable.
The problem is that most parents are not explaining things to the kids at home and while at Mass there are some who don’t encourage their children to behave. We have a “family mass” in the parish where the homily was geared to the kids. It was cute. BUT the parents were never hearing a homily geared toward them. So now we have the CLOW twice a month and the parents get a homily for adults. The other two or three weeks the homily is usually (not always) geared to the kids, but we have two good priests who can talk to the kids in a way that a message gets across to the parents as well.
Jimmy Akin on the matter:
You might want to take off the quote allegedly from Mother Theresa, since the priest who said he was quoting her later admitted she had not said that to him - nor, apparently, anyone else.
Okay, so I’m one of those heathen parents who likes CLOW. While I want my kids to behave during Mass, the fact of the matter is, most Sundays they become restless and bored. I find that I almost always lose them during the homily when they’d much rather poke at each other or wiggle under the pews. CLOW allows us the opporunity to actually listen to and even absorb the readings and homily, while giving our kids the same opportunity at an age-appropriate level. Besides, even being able to make the short walk from the classroom back into the main church gets some of their wiggles out, and allows the parents to more fully participate in the Mass without all of the distractions.
I do agree, however, that it ought to be done right, with the focus being on the readings and not on “arts and crafts.”