Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2 Things to Help Children with the New Translation of the Mass: PowerPoint and No Parents

I am pleasantly gobsmacked and happily flabbergasted at the first attempt to offer Mass in the New Translation at our parish school of St Augustine's Catholic Primary in Hythe, Kent, UK.  For the first time, the children all participated in loud and clear voices.  Their attention was kept the entire time, and they pronounced every word.  Well almost every word, "Con, con, con, con...substantial" I heard lisped out during the Nicene Creed.

There were two reasons why the headteacher, or principal as she would be called in the States, and I could see made all the difference.  The first was the use of a PowerPoint display that had all the words necessary for the fruitful, active, and conscious participation in the Mass.  I first noticed it during the Gloria.  I thought I would be reciting it solo, but a great majority of the school enthusiastically pronounced all the words.

Here is the powerpoint we used:

If you have trouble viewing this click here.

The second was that their parents did not attend.  In the past this has caused them to wave, to follow their parents poor example of chattering while mass is being prepared to start, and to try to show off to them.  Ultimately it turned Mas into a show, where the parents did not go to pray, but to see little johnny and sally do something or read something on the stage.  With their parents not around they were able to focus on praying.

And pray they did.  It was most apparent during communion time.  There wasn't a lot of fidgeting, flustering, or flippity flobbering around by the younger children.  I had asked them to pray very hard for someone who needs their prayers and to ask God to make them holy.  You could see their eyes being clenched tight and you could almost hear their little hearts crying out to the Lord in supplication.

I remember attending a seminar last spring about how to present the new translation to children.  One of the presenter's, a priest, main question was, "What can we get away with?" meaning, what part of the new translation can we avoid or leave out or manipulate.  I would like to ask the question in another way.  What can we get away with in not changing it, but in presenting it well to the kids?  What can we get away with so that they are elevated by the new translation to lift up their hearts and minds to the mind of Christ who loves children and calls them to sanctity through the words and gestures of the Sacred Liturgy?

1 comment:

  1. As a former teacher I wholeheartedly sympathise with you, Father, over the influence of parental bad behaviour. It soon became apparent to me that where the children were troublesome, once one met the parents one realised that the children were, more often, triumphs of grace by comparison!