Children's Mass Liturgy "Pageant"...help?


#1

I have been asked to put together a type of pageant/presentation for the Liturgy of the Word at the Children’s Christmas Eve Mass. Basically, the idea is that the children would “act out” the readings. I am to try and use as many kids of various ages as possible. I have some resources, but they are not really specific to the Liturgy of the Word for use in Mass.

I want to do this in the most respectful way possible so that it is

1st: licit
2nd: the children appreciate their participation in proclaiming the Word, and
3rd: it is more that a little “show” for parents.

Any comments/suggestions would be helpful.

Thanks in advance!


#2

Is this for ALL the kids in the parish, or for the little people under 7 who are hauled off to Children’s Liturgy of the Word?


#3

I do not believe that there is any way that this can be done licitly. I cite:

  1. In the celebration of the Mass with a congregation, the readings are always proclaimed from the ambo.
  2. By tradition, the function of proclaiming the readings is ministerial, not presidential. The readings, therefore, should be proclaimed by a lector, and the Gospel by a deacon or, in his absence, a priest other than the celebrant. If, however, a deacon or another priest is not present, the priest celebrant himself should read the Gospel. Further, if another suitable lector is also not present, then the priest celebrant should also proclaim the other readings.
    Source: General Instruction of the Roman Missal

It is very clear here that the readings from the Holy Scriptures are to be proclaimed, not performed, and this from the ambo, not from some makeshift stage or acting platform.

Also, a performance such as this one is bound to attract applause, which is never acceptable during Mass. It indicates that people believe that they have just been entertained. The Mass is not in competition with or a substitute for entertainment. This is a Holy Sacrifice, not a Broadway Revue.

MT


#4

It’s the Christmas Eve Mass that they are calling the Children’s Christmas Mass. In the past, the Vigil Mass at Christmas has been called the “Children’s Mass” but it’s basically been a whole bunch of people with their kids stuffed into the church and kids read the liturgy and intentions and sing songs during a normal Mass. We have a new priest and he said to the effect–“if we’re going to call it a Children’s Mass, it should be a Children’s Mass.” and “according to the GIRM, I have a litle ‘leeway’–normally, I would read the gospel…”

sooooo…???


#5

Is there something that is specific to Children? I hear of the “Children’s Lectionary”…??? I’m new to this, so I’m trying to figure it out–and again, I want to do it right–and I mean right by God’s standards, not just what will please people.

Thank you for the responses so far.


#6

Wait a minute! Are the kiddie-pies supposed to “act out” the Gospel too???

MT


#7

That’s the gist I got…yeah…
…is there something specific to “Children’s Masses” ? I’ve got a copy of the GIRM–what should I look under?

He did say that he would revisit the gospel in his homily…and that would be fine…???


#8

adoremus.org/DMC-73.html

Did you look through here? I’m not sure if it will help you but it might keep it licit.


#9

Super helpful–especially these parts:
(I feel so much more comfortable with this after reading this Directory–I was a little worried about what was being suggested since I am not familiar with “Children’s Masses”)

42. With regard to the number of readings on Sundays and holy days, the decrees of the conferences of bishops are to be observed. If three or even two readings appointed on Sundays or weekdays can be understood by children only with difficulty, it is permissible to read two or only one of them, but the reading of the gospel should never be omitted.

47. All the elements that will help to explain the readings should be given great consideration so that the children may make the biblical readings their own and may come more and more to appreciate the value of God’s word.
Among these elements are the introductory comments which may precede the readings [43] and help the children to listen better and more fruitfully, either by explaining the context or by introducing the text itself . In interpreting and illustrating the readings from the Scriptures in the Mass on a saint’s day, an account of the saint’s life may be given, not only in the homily but even before the readings in the form of a commentary.
When the text of the readings lends itself to this, it may be helpful to have the children read it with parts distributed among them, as is provided for the reading of the Lord’s passion during Holy Week.

Thank-you!!!


#10

No problem at all.
God Bless you for volunteering!

(I wonder if you get the Plenary Indulgence for teaching the Bible on this one?)


#11

It sounds like multiple readers are OK, but acting is still out, and the priest must still read the gospel himself.

Good luck. This is an assignment I would turn down flat.

MT


#12

Actually, the rubrics only allow for multiple readers only on readings of the Lord’s Passion.

If there are several persons present who are able to exercise the same ministry, nothing forbids their distributing among themselves and performing different parts of the same ministry or duty. For example, one deacon may be assigned to take the sung parts, another to serve at the altar; if there are several readings, it is well to distribute them among a number of lectors. The same applies for the other ministries. But it is not at all appropriate that several persons divide a single element of the celebration among themselves, e.g., that the same reading be proclaimed by two lectors, one after the other, except as far as the Passion of the Lord is concerned. (GIRM 109)


#13

I don’t know if it’s too late to get the word out–but the way it’s done in my parish is that the pageant takes place 15 minutes before Mass (so it is not part of the Mass). I don’t see how costumes/acting out within the context of Mass would be licit.


#14

Note that the Directory for Masses with Children explicitly suggests that multiple readers may be helpful only when “the text of the readings lends itself to this”. The dialouge-heavy Passion narratives have been accordingly deemed appropriate by centuries-old Catholic tradition to be proclaimed by multiple readers, as this tradition dates from before the Council of Trent. But if a reading is, for example, from an Epistle of Paul wherein he exhorts the community, it is probably not appropriate to divide his reading among several readers for the purpose of “participation”. One must also take the directives of the GIRM into persepctive and read them in the context of the above Directory.

If there are several persons present who are able to exercise the same ministry, nothing forbids their distributing among themselves and performing different parts of the same ministry or duty. For example, one deacon may be assigned to take the sung parts, another to serve at the altar; if there are several readings, it is well to distribute them among a number of lectors. The same applies for the other ministries. But it is not at all appropriate that several persons divide a single element of the celebration among themselves, e.g., that the same reading be proclaimed by two lectors, one after the other, except as far as the Passion of the Lord is concerned. (GIRM 109)


#15

I’m thinking maybe having an older child dressed as whatever prophet is associated with the OT scripture read from the ambo, something similarly appropriate for the second reading done by another child, and Father reading narrative portions of the Christmas Gospel at the ambo with the children on the sanctuary steps in costume merely saying the dialog parts of Gabriel and Mary. Would that fit the purpose and spirit of the Children’s Mass while remaining appropriately respectful of the Liturgy?


#16

How about this - which also would be less stressful for the kids - Have the priest read out the Gospel reading very slowly from the Ambo, and have the kids, dressed in appropriate costumes, “mime” the action of the Gospel reading.

For example, at the point where the priest says, “Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem for the Census,” you could have a boy and a girl, attired to look like Mary and Joseph, walk across to a designated space which would be read as “Bethlehem.”

By the end of the Gospel reading, the “characters” would have all arrived in Bethlehem, and you would have a “living Nativity scene.”

I’m visualizing this taking place off of the Sanctuary, but still visible to most of the congregation - or, the action could take place in among the congregation (Mary and Joseph could walk up the aisle of the Nave, for example, and then stop at the Marian corner).


#17

I do like that idea of traveling to their positions, but I don’t want to direct attention away from the reading itself by watching the kids too much rather than hearing the word. Our Church is almost entirely sanctuary–it’s one of those modern-ish designs with the tabernacle off to the side. Maybe I could have them arrive by the tabernacle to express the “bread of life” in the manger…only problem is that is exactly opposite the ambo on the other side of the church…Hmmmm…lots to think about and not a lot of time!

Thanks again, all…


#18

No. HE has to read to Gospel, or the deacon if one is present. He can’t turn it into The Best Christmas Pagaent Ever. No.

He does not have enough leeway in GIRM to have the children act out the Readings. Look under Children’s Liturgy. The look under the part about the Readings and the Gospel.

He can use a children’s lectionary. He can have all the little kiddies gathered around him during the homily. He can have kids who can read proclaim the first two Readings, along with the Responsorial Psalm and the Petitions. He can use one of the less-than-stellar children’s Liturgical Prayers, where all of Jesus’ friends will “sing a song of joy”. Excepting gathering the kids around him, our priest does all these things during our weekly school Masses (Actually, our DRE and the classroom teachers see to this. All Father and Deacon have to do is show up and celebrate the Mass).

But he can’t abdicate proclaiming the Gospel to anybody but one of his deacons, or another priest.

When you find the exact spots in GIRM, respectfully show him. Suggest this for before Mass or after Mass. If he still gives you a rough way to go, tell his bishop.


#19

#20

[quote=JohnLiburne]I think acting out the readings is always going to be a distraction. There is no choice of readings for the Christmas Vigil Mass. From the Lectionary:
First reading: Isaiah 62:1-5
Second reading: Acts 13:16-17.22-25.
Gospel: Matthew 1:1-25 or 1:18-25 (I suggest the shorter one).
[/quote]

If I structure it where the kids only say the dialog (it looks like it would be an angel and Joseph) while Father proclaims the Gospel, does it appear that would be licit? It would be like the Passion portions of the Easter readings. I can write the kids portion any way I like and I won’t have to be confrontational at all. Actually, I’m glad I was asked to do this because I am concerned about doing it appropriately–I would rather have the headache of it myself, than go and see something in a Mass that upset me and not be able to do something about it after the fact.


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