Monday, June 29, 2009
Last week, we touched on how bringing a child to the Mass can leave a deep and lasting impact. This week, we would like to focus on some of the rituals we can do before the Mass as parents and as teachers of the faith.
1. Breaking open the Word of God
While at home before coming to Church, go through the readings with your child. This prepares both you and your child to better understand what is being celebrated at that particular Mass and in the right frame of mind.
2. Arrive early
Again, early lessons leave lasting impressions. Not only being punctual but coming early will set in place the mindset one should take coming for Mass from a very young age. For one, you don't have to be rushing to Church, with all the other stresses like traffic and finding a parking lot. (We already have that during the course of the week.) The other would give you time to teach a child proper etiquette upon entering the Church. Switching off your mobile phones, making the sign of the Cross and genuflecting with reverence (without rushing), moving into the pews to pray, visiting the Shrine of Our Lady after Mass, etc will all cultivate in the long run, the right disposition of how one should be in a sacred place of worship. The Church is filled with signs and symbols. Coming early gives you the opportunity to points these out to your child.
3. The Aftermass
The Mass ends with "Go in the peace to love and serve the Lord!" The Mass continues in our everyday lives. By reinforcing these ideas with love at home by family prayer at the altar, prayer before meals, morning and night prayers does wonders especially when child reaches the age of reason.
Then finally, there is always this question, "How do I start?" or "I don't know how to..." .
As cliched as it might sound, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you guide your child. And He will. These things take many years to nurture, so don't be expecting miracles to happen overnight (though it is possible that that might happen). Keep sharing God's love with your child and may God give your strength as your persevere!
Monday, June 22, 2009
It is not always easy bringing young children to the Catholic Mass. I just want to affirm all of you for making the commitment and effort to do so. You can see God's blessing is abundant to those who do not stop their little children coming to Him!
1. By bringing children to Mass, parents fulfill their duty to begin faith education in their children's earliest years. At your children's baptism, you made a vow before God that you will bring them up in the Catholic faith. It's better to start early. Not only will it be a lot tougher to teach an older child who has rarely been to Mass to behave, leaving kids at home sends the message that Mass is not for children. Regular attendance at Mass is a must to help them recognize the sacredness of the Eucharist and to value their faith.
2. Bringing children to Mass helps nurture their inner life. Early lessons make lasting impressions, child development experts tell us. Good parents recognize the importance of nurturing their children physically and emotionally during their formative years. But if we fail to nurture their spiritual self as well, then we are not attending to the whole child. While we can teach about the Faith within the walls of our domestic church, being in the presence of Christ and those who love Him is what really awakens the spiritual self.
3. Regularly attending Mass helps children find their true home. While my children are constantly with me at this age, I know I won't always be there to guide them. But God will never leave their side. Their real home is with God in His Church, but they will only learn to recognize it as home if I bring them to Mass from an early age. We cannot open the door to the Church at Baptism, only to slam it in their face until they're deemed mature enough to be a part of the Body of Christ.
Jesus invites all of us to His table – and He extended a special invitation to children, saying, "Let the little children come to me."
God bless you & your children!
Extracted & adapted from 'Why Young Children Belong at Mass' by Kate Wicker
Monday, June 8, 2009
What's in the DVD stores now that's worth a watch?
Image from: Internet Movie Poster Awards - Featuring one of the largest collections of movie poster images on the web.
Set at a Catholic school in the Bronx, it centers on a nun who grows suspicious when a priest begins taking too much interest in the life of a young black student. Is she being overly protective or not protective enough? And can she work within the system to discover the truth? Written by Sherman (courtesy of Broadway.com)
Click here for the trailer.