I recently saw a posting from somebody asking about Sunday School in the Catholic Church and asking why there isn’t any. I understand that Mass is a celebration of The Eucharist but I was wondering why children age, say, Kindergarten-First Communuion couldn’t have a seperate celebration. It seems like children who do not receive Communion do not get much from the Mass. Even if Sunday School just reinforces what their family and school teaches them at least it a more productive use of their attention. Any thought?
It depends on the parish!
Ours has “Sunday School” for preschoolers (ages 3-5), which happens during Mass. It’s not EVERY weekend of the year, so they still get plenty of Mass-time, which I think is still important in teaching them how to participate and behave at Mass…
Then once the kids are in Kindergarten they get Religious Education either at Catholic School or at “PREP” (parish religious education program) for the public school kids, which is once a week in the evenings.
By Kindergarten the kids should fully be able to participate in Mass (minus Eucharist before 2nd grade)… quietly listening to the readings and behaving… this is totally possible as the Catholic School goes to Mass at least once a week and the Kindergarten class is able to behave and participate.
It seems to vary in the Catholic parishes where I live too. t seems partly to do with the number of parents of pre-schoolers who want such a thing.
“Sunday school” is simply religious education by another name. Catholic parishes have religious education, it simply may or may not be on Sunday depending upon a whole host of factors.
Many parishes provide babysitting for young children. No, they cannot have a “separate celebration” because the Mass is the Mass and nothing else can or should substitute for it.
Children who are under the age of about 7 are not under the obligation to attend Mass so they *could *be in babysitting, or some sort of activity based catechesis, but many parents bring their children to Mass to prepare them for when they will have that obligation.
There is more to Mass than just receiving the Eucharist
There is a separate program called “Liturgy of the Word for Children”. For those under the age of communion, it is a presentation of the Liturgy of the Word at the level of the kids. Though not all parishes have it.
Good morning and welcome!
It is my experience that most programs like the one you are suggesting might not be offered simply for a lack of volunteers. I agree that young children can really benefit from such a program you are correct in my opinion! I know we have a “Sunday School” at my parish for younger children it is wonderful! .
Most volunteers in my parish for the Sunday School are the parents of the preschoolers themselves, probably since they are most interested in keeping it going. I know when my children went it was get up extra early, get the kids dressed, arrive early, help in the classroom, clean up the classroom and then attend Mass. It was a lot for a Sunday morning my mornings started early and I wasn’t home until after 12:00 noon.
Volunteers are needed to undergo background checks, extra insurance may be needed in case of injury/accident. Then there is registration, collection of money, purchasing materials and lots and lots of volunteers needed! Finding volunteers on a Sunday may be even harder simply because the Catholic volunteer still has to attend Mass. This puts additional demands on their time, perhaps up to 2 extra hours on a Sunday morning plus Mass.
Probably more then you wanted to know but that would be my guess why it isn’t offered at some parishes.
Our parish has Liturgy of the Word for Children during Mass for Pre-K - 1st grade. They leave shortly after Mass begins and return after the homily. We have it most weekends during the school year.
My old parish do a sunday school every sunday (apart from easter sunday and mothers day) for kids from 2 up to when they do the first communion, its run by the parish nursery and primary school teachers and some of the older kids help out, you give a donation for materials and drop them off 10 minutes before mass starts and they come back in during the offertory and they take the pictures they’ve done up as part of the offertory and father puts them infront of the altar.
They always structure it round that weeks gospel reading and the priest writes a more simple version of his homily for them then they discuss what that means to them and colour pictures, its great, it helps the kids understand a bit more and they are still in for part of the mass so they still learn how to behave in church.
I know my new parish doesn’t do it because of a lack of qualified volunteers and lack of money, I’m guessing thats the sae for other parishes too.