Is it a crèche? No! Is it time out for parents? No! What is it? It’s Children’s Liturgy, or Liturgy of the Word for Children, to give it its proper name.
2014 marks thirty years of Children’s Liturgy at Christ the King, and it was one of the very first parishes in our diocese to make this provision. We will be celebrating the fact at a special 10.30 Mass at Christ the King on Sunday 28th September.
The Church has always shown particular care for the faith journey of children – we can see Catholic schools everywhere, for example. But this applies also to their week-by-week experience of the worship of the Church – the Liturgy. With the best will in the world, three readings in sometimes difficult language is too much for our young brothers and sisters to absorb (some would say it’s too much for most of us!). So we can make provision for children to experience the Liturgy of the Word in a way that is adapted for them. In this way, while the adults are celebrating that part of the Mass in the Church, the children are also celebrating the Word in an appropriate fashion in a hall or meeting room.
So, no, it is definitely not a crèche, just taking kids somewhere out of the main church, and it is certainly not an opportunity for grown-ups to skip the sermon! Parishes are required to have well-prepared adults lead well- prepared Children’s Liturgy.
As this will be based on the reading or readings of that Sunday, it is important to note that this is not for very young children, and many parishes restrict it to primary school age children for that reason. The presence of very little ones can make it difficult to lead in a way that is fitting for such a wide age group. Neither do parents need to stay more than an introductory session or two, unless they wish to become leaders themselves, have their safeguarding checks etc. Their place is with the rest of the adults in the Church.
We are enormously grateful to those who give, and have given, of their time and gifts to lead the Children’s Liturgy in our 3 Churches – during Mass at St Paul’s 9am, Christ the King and St Brigid’s 10.30am. Congratulations to Christ the King for 30 years – and still very much going strong. All who have attended as children or as helpers are specially invited to the Mass and gathering on 28th September, but indeed all parishioners are welcome to mark this great occasion.