EWTN.com - Children's Liturgy: "Children's Liturgy
Question from Anon on 10/3/2008:
We have a children's liturgy of the Word in our parish. We have a rota of people to lead it. There is a variance of opinion amongst the leaders about the required elements of the liturgy for children. Some include a simplified penitential rite, a Gloria, an Alleluia and the Gospel. Others dispense with all these elements and lead an activity on the theme of the day (eg on Rosary Sunday they may simply focus on the Rosary).
We are in the UK and we have no official children's lectionary as far as I am aware.
My question is: Which (if any) elements are necessary in the children's liturgy of the Word? Does the exclusion of any of them impact on the fulfilling of the Sunday obligation - either for the children or for the adults who assist?
Many thanks for your help.
Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 10/10/2008:
The Directory for Masses with Children Pueros Baptizatos gives the directives for how children's liturgy of the words are to be celebrated.
Those elements that a part of the Introductory Rites are not to be included in the children's Liturgy of the Word. So excluded are the penitential rite and Gloria.
The children's Liturgy of the Word should include ordinarily at least one reading before the gospel, the singing of a psalm, alleluia, the gospel, a homily-like talk, the creed (including the possibility of the Apostles' Creed), and general intercessions. There are published approved children's lectionaries that have simplied versions of the readings that are easier to understand. If this is not the case in the UK, then the regular lectionary must be used. Obviously the talk and the general intercessions should be prepared according to the mentality of children.
I would emphasize that a children's Liturgy of the Word should still be a liturgy, like what is going on during the Mass for the rest of the assembly. It should not be a time for art and crafts and it is not a catechism class. It should give the children a Liturgy of the Word that they understand and help them understand more fully what is happening in a usual Liturgy of the Word.
Those who participate in a children's Liturgy of the Word, both adults and children, fulfill their Sunday obligation.
However, in my experience, many adults who lead children's liturgies of the word decide on their own to attend another Mass so that they can also benefit from the homily. However, this would not be strictly required."