Are Children’s Masses Appropriate?

According to a recent Catholic World News story, the “Vatican intends to remove the Eucharistic Prayers for Children from the authorized prayers of the Roman Missal.” 

The article continues:

Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey, the chairman of the US bishops’ liturgy committee, has disclosed the Vatican plans in a letter to the American bishops. He reported that the Congregation for Divine Worship plans “to publish a separate text at a later time.”

The Eucharistic Prayers for Children, like many other liturgical texts, have been criticized for failing to convey an adequate sense of the sacred in the liturgy. In recent years the Vatican has made special efforts to recover that sense of the sacred, and to curtail the proliferation of liturgical texts in order to encourage consistency in the liturgy.

“This does not change our present practice,” Bishop Serratelli wrote in his September 29 letter. The change will take effect at an unspecified future date.

However, the US bishops’ committee has decided to suspend work on a new translation of the existing Eucharistic Prayers for Children. In light of the coming change, Bishop Serratelli said that he was removing that item from the agenda for the November meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

A personal note:

I had the opportunity a few years ago to interview Monsignor James P. Moroney (former executive director of the US Bishops’ Secretariat for Divine Worship) on children’s Masses. He rightly reflected the Church’s stance that children belong in the liturgical assembly–along with the rest of the faithful–and that the important thing was that they were able to have that “full, active, conscious participation” called for by Vatican II.

As Monsignor Moroney put it: “Mass geared to children is not an end in itself, but seeks the eventual full participation of children in the Eucharistic community of adults.” 

This has been an issue of concern for many faithful because children’s Masses often lose the sense of the sacred and distract from the real meaning of Mass.  We published a fascinating article by Monsignor Moroney on the subject in a special issue of Lay Witness on the Mass. Click here to read it. 

3 responses

  1. I believe they should also set norms for how the Mass geared toward teens(i.e. Life Teen mass) should be conducted. Too much inappropriate music and far too casual attire. Any official info out there that I can forward to those in charge at a local parish would be appreciated.

  2. I think people should entirely eliminate the whole idea of a “children’s mass” from their minds, as well as the idea of a “youth mass”.

    How about this shocking idea:

    Get a reverent & traditional bishop/priest to celebrate the mass with traditional hymns, chant, incense, bells, 6 candlebearers, “the benedictine arrangement”. Then call it a children’s mass. That’s what we have every sunday, with the addition of roman vestments (ie, fiddlebacks) much of the time by our good bishop!

    You have that kind of mass, and you will have families, young and old flocking to that mass (that’s first hand knowledge). And guess what? You just hit 2 birds with one stone! You just knocked off the “Children’s Mass” and the “Youth Mass” off the parish schedule! Now that’s something to be proud of!

    Ben

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