Sunday, May 31, 2015

When Children Play...

Last week, after Nina received her First Holy Communion, she was beaming. The boys were excited for her, too.  So, once Mass had concluded, our family party had ended, and night was falling - with me ready for bed - sleep was nowhere in sight for my little ones.  They were just too wound up from the day!

Thus it was that, as I rested on the couch, Luke decided to begin training Jack as an altar boy.  Together, the kids took their children's broom and unscrewed the brush.  Then, they fetched an old cross and some yarn to rig a cross for Jack to carry into "the church"...

They also took stools, parts of our mini-Mass kit, candles and other bits and pieces to set up an altar in the living room.  Beneath it, Luke placed some toys and books, which I later discovered were to be props for his family-friendly homily.


As the boys began their procession to the altar, Nina welcomed the parishioners (me, on the couch "pew") and sang the opening hymn.

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Jack and Luke bowed and, then, began Mass, with Luke doing the readings since they had no lector.  Because Luke knew Pentecost was coming up, he self-selected some related readings from his copy of the
The Action Bible.


Nina sang the Psalms with joy and, then, Luke read the gospel from the book that Nina had been given at choir practice earlier this year so she could practice reading at home with it. 

While Luke proclaimed the Word, his altar server Jack remained rapt and his cantor Nina was so prayerful.  Just beautiful!


After the gospel, Luke gave a homily in which he used books and toys as props to keep his "family Mass audience" (me) interested.  (Our pastor has done this on occasion and, obviously, it  has captured Luke's attention!) 

Then, Nina collected offerings in a basket and double-timed it back to the altar area to sing while Jack brought up the gifts.



"Priest" Luke then consecrated the gifts while Jack eagerly rang the "altar bells" (keys).  While leading the Liturgy of the Eucharist, Luke prompted Jack to come over so Luke could wash his hands and also asked Jack to bring water over so Luke could mix it with the "wine" (juice).

Of course, then came the apex of Mass: communion with the "Body of Christ" (crackers and, um, hot dog slices)...

... and the "Blood" (juice mixed with water in one cup and chocolate Silk mixed with water in another)...

Nina sang hymns after "receiving communion".


Then, Luke drew "Mass" to a close and made announcements, which included reminding folks of blood pressure checks in the St. Joseph Center, thanking people who had helped at the recent First Communions, announcing upcoming events and more...

Finally, as Luke charged everyone to "Go and make disciples of all nations!" and Nina began the closing hymn, Jack eagerly began a premature bow to lead the final procession.

At this point, Luke, realized there was no organist and paused from "priesthood" to accompany Nina as she sang the closing hymn.

Once "Mass" concluded, Jack did his final altar server duty.  He, took the snuffer that Nina had previously rigged out of a paper cup, tape and a long toothpick, to snuff out the altar candles while leaving the sanctuary candle burning.

Children play what they know and what they are interested in.  For mine, that includes playing Mass.

What play have your children been developing on their own?


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