Youth Serving in Mass

Hi all, I was hoping someone might be able to answer a question for me. What roles are youth able to perform during Mass before their confirmation?

I know the obvious - Altar Server, greeter…and I can see why they would not be able to be an EM. But could they be a cantor or lector?

Does anyone have any suggestions with ways to include the youth, specifically Middle School students in the liturgy?

Any advice, suggestions, etc would be very helpful. Thanks!

From the 1973 Directory for Masses with Children:
Offices and Ministries in the Celebration
22. The principles of active and conscious participation are in a sense even more significant for Masses celebrated with children. Every effort should therefore be made to increase this participation and to make it more intense. For this reason as many children as possible should have special parts in the celebration: for example, preparing the place and the altar (see no. 29), acting as cantor (see no. 24), singing in a choir, playing musical instruments (see no. 32), proclaiming the readings (see nos. 24 and 47), responding during the homily (see no. 48), reciting the intentions of the general intercessions, bringing the gifts to the altar, and performing similar activities in accord with the usage of various peoples (see no. 34).”

This is from Chapter 3, with the title: “Masses with Children in Which Only a Few Adults Participate”.

From the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) approved for the USA, which can be accessed from romanrite.com/girm.html :
“101. In the absence of an instituted lector, other laypersons may be commissioned to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture.”

Only men can become instituted lectors (not children or females). There is a special ceremony that makes a man an instituted lector. So if an instituted lector is present they should do the reading.

The fact that the Directory on Masses with Children allows children to read and cantor means that they need not be confirmed to perform these ministries.

OTOH, I have a problem with searching for “how to involve children in the Liturgy”. They should be involved by their active conscious participation at Mass. The various ministries don’t exist to involve as many people as possible. A very good reader is a blessing to have, whether he/she is 11 or 61. A good cantor the same. They are there to serve the Liturgy, the Liturgy is not there to give them something to do.

Perhaps you could have someone speak at the Masses of the parish to get teens involved. I know that many teens aren’t involved because they find church “boring” or “uncool”. It’s a shame, really. There might not be a real “way” to get teens involved in the parish, but if you can get a few of them involved, maybe others will reconsider.

We have a monthly Mass geared around the Kids. They older kids do the readings and pick the music and read the intercessions. The next group down do the collections, the little kids bring up the gifts. During the Homily the priest calls up the K-4th graders and delivers a nice homily while they are seated in front of him. It really brings the younger people into the light of God.

Thank you all for your answers - to John and Phemie, I appreciate the information on the 1973 Directory for Masses with Children.

Actually, we do have a very vibrant youth at our Parish; however, the lay leadership in my Church keep their roles in Mass to Altar Server and Greeter with the exception of a couple HS Seniors I know who are EMs.

I am starting a Middle School Ministry using the USCCB’s Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry. A lot of the USCCB’s sources say that Youth Ministry should be comprehensive - not necesarily to have a special Mass for them but to include them in all areas of out Catholicity to give them a sense of belonging and solidarity with the community.

One of the ways to do this, according to my research, is to include them in the Liturgy by allowing them to serve more. I spoke with our DRE and she said that she agrees but that the Church does not allow people to serve who have not been confirmed. Naturally, this makes sense with converts going through RCIA, but cradle catholics who are going through preparation to receive the sacarment? I could not find any information on the subject which is why I brought the question here.

Again, many thanks for the answers. And, in case anyone is wondering, my Parish Priest is interested in incorporating the youth more as well…

Thanks again!

I like this.

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