Children’s Masses

I really like working with Children although I admit it is tough. I understand why Jesus said we must have faith like a child. It is simple, beautiful and trusting. Children are really teachable. Now granted you have to reinforce the habits over and over but eventually they get it.

It is sad though how many don’t know basic prayers like how to make the sign of the cross. We are teaching them but they should know it by the time they get to school. It really shows me how much we need to get parents more involved in teaching the faith to their children. Somehow, somewhere I will find the right scriptures in the Sunday readings to teach on that.

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12 Responses to “Children’s Masses”

  1. Tom Says:

    Fr. Todd, I am praying that you receive Holy Inspiration from the Holy Spirit. Teaching parents is so vital.

  2. Cornelius Says:

    As a relatively new parent and relatively new Catholic, I was wondering what prayers you consider basic (besides the two obvious ones, the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary)? Thanks for your guidance.

  3. Father Bernard A. O'Malley Says:

    Dear Cornelius, I cannot speak for Father Reitmeyer and, of course, the following depends on age of the child, but when the students were in Kindergarten and the First Grade I introduced–or re-introduced, if they already had been taught by their parents– the children to six prayers:
    1.) THE SIGN OF THE CROSS
    2.) OUR FATHER
    3.) HAIL MARY
    4.) GLORY BE
    5.) GRACE BEFORE MEALS
    6.) GRACE AFTER MEALS

    As soon as possible, I added:
    7.) ANGEL OF GOD
    8.) ACT OF CONTRITION
    9.) APOSTLES’ CREED

    Later, I suggest:

    10.) HAIL, HOLY QUEEN
    11.) MEMORARE
    12.) PRAYER OF SAINT FRANCIS
    13.) ANY VOCATIONS PRAYER

    May God bless you, Cornelius, your precious wife and dearest child.

  4. Father Todd Reitmeyer Says:

    I like those. I was mainly thinking of the sign of the cross. That is something most kids love to learn very young.

    Two others I would suggest in addition to the above list are:

    Night prayers Now I lay me down to sleep… It is good to begin this habit young. I still pray that as an adult sometimes before I doze off.

    An easy version of the morning offering. To begin and end one’s day with thoughts of God and his grace are very fruitful.

    Thanks a lot padre for the suggestions.

  5. Chris Oles Says:

    I appreciate the discussion. We have 3 children, 6 yrs old, 4 1/2, and 1. They have all (well, not our 1 yr old yet…) learned the sign of the cross, the Our Father, and the Hail Mary. We say an evening offering together every day before bed. Grace before meals is also a family routine. When Daddy’s feeling frisky we break out the guitar for a few verses of “This Little Light of Mine” or “Jesus Is The Rock and He Rolls My Blues Away.” We look forward to teaching our kids the Rosary very soon and adding this to our family prayer time. I think the key is just to DO it. If your kids see that God is the center of the family (as opposed to, say, THEM) then I believe that they will eventually learn to be humble before Him.

    It isn’t easy, especially when the two older ones start arguing during Mass or act silly during family prayer time. I think you just have to persevere and allow the Holy Spirit to do His thing.

  6. Todd Says:

    Peace, all.

    I would add that it is important for children to be attending Mass every Sunday. Preferably not in a cry room (except for a particular emergency). Certainly a four-year old should be able to learn and do the basic gestures and postures at Mass, including signing with holy water, kneeling, signing at the gospel, bowing, genuflecting, and praying with folded hands. Children old enough to be introduced to God and to Mary should also know their patron saint. Children preparing for First Communion should be able to pray spontaneously in a simple way, and know their baptism anniversary (or at least be celebrating it with their parents), and be able to participate at Sunday Mass without “props.”

  7. John C. Says:

    To Fr. Todd: the foregoing discussion of Prayers for children is excellent. I, like Chris Oles, appreciate the discussion. It is precisely this exchange–rather than the critical spirit found on other weblogs dedicated to Catholic subjects–that helps to make “A Son Becomes a Father” one of the very best Catholic Blogs I have seen. Thank you, Fr. Todd, for your service. You are in our prayers.

  8. John C. Says:

    To Todd: I am grateful for your emphasis on having young children attend Mass every Sunday and Holyday. You are right on when you stress teaching them what to do during Mass. I commend you, Todd.

  9. Edward Says:

    I found the comments of Chris Oles to be superb. Chris’ remark that children will learn to be humble when they see that God and not themselves is the center of the family is poignant. Peace to you, Chris, and to your family.

  10. Father Bernard A. O'Malley Says:

    Dear Father Reitmeyer, I wish to thank you very much for jogging my memory. I should have included on the list of the Prayers to teach young children:
    THE MORNING OFFERING
    In this way, the children hear explicitly about the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
    Sincere gratitude to you, Father Reitmeyer.
    Father Bernard A. O’Malley

  11. Father Joseph T. Mallady Says:

    JESUS IS ALIVE! Dear Father Reitmeyer, I read with great interst your desire to use the Sunday Homily to teach about the Sign of the Cross. I have used three elements when trying to convey the meaning of the Sign of the Cross, whether to adults or children.
    1.) The physical action of making the cross with our right hands–we really do “make a cross”–is a reminder of Calvary’s Holy Cross on which Jesus died for us.
    2.) The Holy Water we often use when signing ourselves with the cross is a reminder of the Holy Waters of Baptism.
    3.) The words we say when signing ourselves is a reminder of the Most Blessed Trinity: “In the Name of the Father (+), and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
    Hence, Father Reitmeyer, when teaching about the Sign of the Cross I highlight these three essential elements of our Holy Catholic Faith: A.) Redemption; B.) Baptism; C.) Most Blessed Trinity.
    You have an abundance of Sacred Scripture texts to use in presenting your message.
    JESUS IS LORD!

  12. Mary Raymond Says:

    I have a wonderful story about children at Mass; as a mother of three active children born within 11 months of each other, Mass was sometimes a challenge for me – moreso than those around me. With one of me and 3 of them – the odds were not on my side (joke). I found that asking them to count how many times Father said ‘Amen’ or ‘Let Us Pray’ or having them sit close enough to ‘see’ and saying look at what Father is doing – would get their attention re-focused on the Mass – but I digress, that’s not the story. The story is actually about when my children were older – Junior high/high school age and a father with two small children sat in front of us. The daughter was truly ‘angelic’ – the perfect Mass child; the son, couldn’t sit still. My youngest son – who’s behavior was similar to the little boys when he was younger said, “Why can’t that boy be like his sister?” I smiled at my son and initially said nothing – it was then that he realized what a distraction he once had been. As he got that realization, I said, “He is a precious one; he has down syndrom.” My son understood even more; he learned a lot that day. That Mass is one we, as a family will never forget, because at the sign of peace, the little guy caught on after we had all knelt and he stood in the pew and gave each and everyone one of us that were kneeling a wonderful hug; fortunately his father didn’t notice until he had finished because the father picked him up and began to apologize but was cut off by the seven of us saying what a blessing his son was. Living the faith, teaches the faith what a blessing we all receive when we let the children come.

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