November 3, 2011

Kids and the Missal Launch

I find it difficult to believe that I have been writing this blog for eight months and still have not written a post about the Roman Missal.  In twenty-four days we will be praying with the revised English texts and I have been preparing for its implementation for quite a number of years. As a pastoral associate, one of my responsibilities is parish liturgy. I also serve on the diocesan liturgy commission and have been facilitating and teaching courses, workshops and training sessions for liturgical ministers for over ten years. Before that I served in liturgical ministry since 1967 being part of our parish's first folk group and the youngest member of the first liturgy committee in 1971.  So when I first heard of the revised English texts of the Missal I began keeping up to date with what was going on and as time got closer I became more and more involved by attending national workshops and conferences and eventually presenting workshops on the revised texts.

Today I presented a workshop to the sixth grade at our parish school. I haven't been in in front of a class of children since I gave up my teaching job over fifteen years ago, but I have worked with children and looked forward to introducing the revised texts to them.  It was a wonderful experience.  I gave the kids copies of the revised texts and we had a lively conversation on the differences between the current text and the one we will be using on the first Sunday of Advent.  They were so interested, especially when I introduced words and concepts that might have been strange to them.  I was also very happily surprised at how much the kids did know about what we pray and do at Mass.

The most interesting conversation occurred when we look at the Creed. They were very surprised to learn how old the Nicene Creed was and the various reasons why it was so important to even have a definitive statement of our beliefs.  We talked about those beliefs and the discussion really went well when we came to the words "consubstantial" and "incarnate."  They were eager to offer their thoughts and I think following our discussion they understood the meanings quite well. I gave them the assignment to bring up these words at the dinner table and see if their parents knew what the words meant.  The teacher found this part of our discussion so interesting that she is putting those two words as bonus questions on their next religion quiz.

They had lots of questions but I chuckled that one of the questions was one that I heard at almost all the workshops I have done with adults.   "Will Mass be longer?"  What I didn't hear was any complaints about the words being used, their difficulty or how it wasn't the way we might normally speak. They seemed excited and I think they are looking forward to it. I hope that they will pass on this excitement to their parents.  The teacher even said she was going to let the other teachers know that would gladly do a presentation for their classes as well.

So, it seems that after my minor meltdown last week when I had to cancel some of my adult programs, God has shown me that He still can use my talents to reach people, even if they are little ones. Perhaps what God is telling me is that the way to reach the parents is to go through the kids, get them excited about being in relationship with God and worshiping Him in the sacrifice of the Mass.  Then maybe we will have more families in church on Sunday and we can begin the work of New Evangelization.

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