Children's Play during Mass

I’m curious to see whether this was a liturgical abuse or not. Basically, during Christmas Eve Mass the Priest would read the Gospel reading while children would “act out” what was going on in the Gospel reading (such as the shepherds coming to Jesus and the Holy Family, etc.). The Priest also didn’t have the OT and Psalm read during the Mass, though the Second Reading and the Gospel was read, and the Eucharistic Liturgy was done properly. Can you give me advice on this and what I should do regarding this?

Definitely illicit. You have to do all the readings and can’t put on a play. Still valid though. Express your concerns to the parish about the way the Mass was celebrated.

Actually, the Christmas pageant and the Passion Play were introduced into the mass by St. Francis of Assisi at Greccio sometime between 1219 and 1221 and it is still allowed in the liturgy of Christmas. It was gradually replaced by a manger with statuary, because it is easier to clean and as cities developed, farm animals were not readily available.

Originally, it was acted out as the Gospel was read, but it included live animals and the actors were usually adults. There is no hard and fast rule that says it has to be adults. The custom is almost 800 years old and has never been abrogated. It is still used in many parts of the world, especially in parishes run by Franciscans.

As to omitting the OT reading, the OT reading can be omitted if the celebrant uses the Children’s Liturgy. Not being there, I wouldn’t be able to tell you which liturgy he chose to use. If using the regular liturgy for adults, it is usual that all three readings be used.

It would be totally inappropriate to make a long distance canonical judgement.


Br. JR, FFV :christmastree1:

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