Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Didn't I Just Say...?! More "Cute"

Just after I finished the previous post, “Cute Trumps All” (see below), I learned that this little story will appear in the next issue of our Diocesan Chronicle.
The Children of St. Patrick Parish in Heppner celebrated All Saints' Day this year with a Children's Mass. Grades pre-school through sixth began the Mass by singing "When the Saints Go Marching In", and then carried in banners of the Saints.  Four children were dressed up as Saint Juan Diego, Saint Therese of Lisieux, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and Saint Padre Pio, and read to the congregation about their lives. Saint Padre Pio even displayed his wounds of Jesus Christ. All of the students participated in the Mass, and
after Communion, the little ones sang, "This Little Light of Mine" and "Jesus Loves Me".   Everyone enjoyed the special Mass and the learned not only about the saints but also about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
I admit that I was not there (thanks be to God!), so I am basing all of my comments on the above description of this event.
1.      Even though the story mentions that “grades pre-school through sixth” were involved, I don’t think this was really a “Mass for Children at Which Few Adults Are Present”. I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that there is not a Catholic school in Heppner. Even if it was actually a Mass with lots of kids and few adults, it still violates the norms for such a Mass. See the Directory for Masses with Children.

2.      That little ditty, “When the Saints Go Marching In”, should be banned from every musical situation possible, apart from that where a marching band plays it at a football game…in my not-so-humble opinion. I may have been formed in this opinion by my father, who always said it didn’t even qualify as a song; I’m certain that a few years of hearing children sing it in the context of Mass has led me to experience nausea at the mere mention of the title. Although I cannot find this doctrine in any Church document, I’m sure that it’s only a matter of time… ;-)

3.      Four children read to the congregation about the lives of the saints. When? During the time designated for the homily? Hmmm…It doesn’t say. Maybe it was afterwards, in the parish hall, while the adults were enjoying coffee and donuts? Yeah, that must be it, because that would be the appropriate place for it.

4.      Folks, this story describes a children’s pageant, not a Mass.

5.      The children “learned not only about the saints but also about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.” Okay, they learned about the saints, which they should have done in their RE classes, not at Mass – at least not in the way described above. And what, I’m wondering, just what did they learn about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? Remember even the Directory for Masses with Children notes:
21. It is always necessary to keep in mind that these Eucharistic Celebrations must lead children toward the celebration of Mass with adults… (my emphasis)

Kids dressed up as saints, reading at Mass, and singing kids’ Bible songs – it’s all cute. Very, very cute. Adorable even.

It’s not meant for Mass.

And that’s not just my opinion. It is what the Church tells us.

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