14 February 2009

Children and the Tridentine Mass

Reading Andrew M Brown's article in this week's Catholic Herald, A wonderful way for children to encounter God, I was fascinated by his comments:
Really, this Mass is a wonderful way for children to develop a relationship with God. And children have a capacity for apprehending mysteries that can elude the rest of us.
How often do we think about how children experience the divine? What occurs to them during mass? Just how does the Lord talk to them at this time? I recall a priest with whom I was on placement saying, when a child cried out during mass, how wonderful to hear the children talking to God. In an instance it took the embarrassed parent from social leper to the centre of the focus of those gathered in a positive and inclusive way.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not all for screaming children, running around and participating in the liturgy in whatever fashion they like. No, this is disruptive and not helpful to maintain a prayerful atmosphere. When we engage children during our schools outreach programme each summer, one of my favourite prayer activities is a guided meditation. We get the children to relax and encounter the risen Lord in a loving and supportive way. Many, many teachers, and indeed children themselves, respond that this is a wonderful way to use silence to pray. The children respond incredibly favourably.

We have much to learn of the mystery of God from children. Let's all encourage them to be full partakers in the liturgy and I have no doubt they will be teaching us our own wonderful Tradition in due course.

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