In short: Are there instructions or norms for a First Pennace Service?
Now here’s the story…
My daughter made her First Pennace on Saturday. We homeschool and she gets religion everyday but she was in the parish school for the last 2 years so we decided to let her go thorugh the faith formathin program as a transition to let he be with her class to receive her sacraments. While I know she was well prepared and have no issue with how the actual sacrament was administered, I took issue with the actual service itself. As a parents, my wife and really felt disconnected and what there was of a service was not well prepared and chaotic at times.
First let me start off that our parish Masses are very vell done and reverent. Our pastor is very traditional but somewhat of a “one man show.” Now, there was a rehearsal for this the week before that my wife attended. That consisted of the pastor talking to the children and parents and not much else. There was no actual practice or the next week. Father mentioned the “song” that the children usually sing and he apparently was met with a blank look from the coordinator who had no idea what he was talking about. He then instructed her that they will learn “the song” for the next week. From what my daughter sauid, they listened to a “song” on a CD in class that SUnday but she didn’t remember what it was called or the words.
We arrived about 10-15 mins before the service on Saturday and there were groups of parents sitting in various areas of the church. The children were instructed to sit all together in the front but in no particular order. One of the teachers was passing out handouts with the “song” lyrics on it and ran out just before she got to us. She apologized and said that she didn’t know that father wanted her to make enough copies for everyone.
Father came out about 5 minutes to nine and announced that the children were going to practice their “song.” I think this was news to the organist as he tried his best to go along with it. Needless to say we sat there whil they practiced this song all while there were still kids straggeling in. When tehr were don practicing, we then all stoof up and sang the “song” and were instructed to it down. Father addressed the children for a bit, then had them repeat a response to a prayer (that they never learned or practiced). We all said the Our Father and then the 3 priests went into their confessionals and the teachers began hearding the children to the confessionals. When they were done, they were to say their pennace, light a candle in front of the sanctuary, and then they could leave.
As parents that go to Mass each week and participate in the parish, we felt uncomfortable. I can’t imagine the how parent who doesn’t normally attend felt. This is the first one of these I’ve attended since my own and my memory of that is vague. Is there a proper way to do this or is the service up to the pastor?