Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Resources for Children and Teenagers

Wednesday greetings to you all.

Several times over the past year, I have been asked about the availability of materials to help those who work with children and teens maneuver through the upcoming new translation of The Roman Missal.

I want to urge those of you who work with children and teens in catechetical settings to consider looking at two new resources from my good friends over at Liturgy Training Publications. Maureen Kelly, a friend and colleague who has been involved in catechesis for most of her life, has written two resources that address these issues.

The first book, What’s New about the Mass Teaching Edition: Handbook for Teachers and Catechists, is designed for catechists ministering to children from the third through the seventh grade.

The second book, What’s New about the Mass for Teens, is obviously targeted to those who work with teens.

In the introductory material, Maureen says this, "Facing both the challenges and the opportunities will strengthen your ability to catechize effectively, not only on words, but also on the meaning of parts of the Mass. It is an exceptional opportunity to catechize and be catechized."

She sums up what all of us hope will occur in our efforts to catechize. Not only will we be helping others develop a deeper understanding of the celebration of the Mass, we will also deepen that understanding ourselves. A word of gratitude to Maureen and LTP for offering these two resources that will serve the needs of the Church as we move through the reception and implementation of the new translation of The Roman Missal.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


FJH 3rd said...

I'm sure these are fine resources, but why, oh why, do they have to have teenage Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion on the cover? Wouldn't a priest present a better image of what the normative situation should be? (But I'll give them some credit - at least these kids are appropriately dressed.)

Gregg said...

Why cannot teens serve? Once Confirmed, our interested teenagers are appropriately trained and welcomed into adult roles in the parish community. What's the problem?

Anne said...

I don't believe there is an age requirement for EMs. Confirmation age can differ depending on the diocese but high school age seems reasonable. It seems to me this is a wonderful way for young people to witness to their piers. The cover is good. It's giving young Catholics a sense of what it means to serve and participate.

Anonymous said...

My goodness, FJH, do you have to whine about EVERYTHING? The teens are at Mass... they are serving the community... which is more than I can say for most adult Catholics in this country... It is the kind of welcome that you are offering that helps ensure the continuing exodus from our churches.

FJH 3rd said...

Don't get me wrong. I know teens can serve in this capacity. In fact my son does so at his high school Masses. I just think the cover image is a bit odd without showing a priest. The teens are "extra-ordinary" ministers of Holy Communion. So where is the "ordinary" minister on this book that is purportedly about the Mass?

FJH 3rd said...

Anonymous, I'll forgive your uncharitable crack about me contributing to an exodus. But if you look uncritically at everything, nothing ever improves. I happen to think the cover of the book is weak in conveying anything about the Mass. I bet many teens would agree. In fact I'll ask mine when he comes home tonight.

Chironomo said...

I don't believe there is an age requirement for EMs.

I'm not sure why this would matter, given the nearly total disregard for all of the other requirements for the use of Extraordinary Ministers.

If there is usually present a sufficient number of sacred ministers for the distribution of Holy Communion, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may not be appointed. Indeed, in such circumstances, those who may have already been appointed to this ministry should not exercise it. The practice of those Priests is reprobated who, even though present at the celebration, abstain from distributing Communion and hand this function over to laypersons.[258]

[158.] Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged.[259] This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason

In other words, only if the two or three Ordinary Ministers who are able to be present are not sufficient to distribute communion without an excessive prolongation. this doesn't mean 4 or 5 minutes. This is in reference to situations such as LARGE Masses with communicants numbering in the many of thousands. In such case, the conclusion is that it is not only inconvenient, but IMPOSSIBLE to distribute communion with two or three ministers.

If you can show me a parish (in the US) where it is actually NOT POSSIBLE (not just inconvenient, but actually not possible) for the Ordinary Ministers (all Priests and Deacons who are able to serve at the liturgy) to distribute communion, then you can at least make a case for the use of Extraordinary Ministers under the terms set forth in the indult for their use as described in Redemptionis Sacramentum.

We may not like this particular instance of the law, but it is the law of the Church. If your parish or pastor is willing to disregard such a specific law concerning something of such great importance, then the question of the EM's age is really no big deal I suppose...

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Chironomo, what Catholic Church are you referring to here? Not all parishes even have a resident priest or deacon; there are parishes in this country where a "supply priest" celebrates Mass once per month only in a given parish. There are parishes with no deacons, one priest, and several hundred people coming to several Masses. If there are priests and deacons at Mass, they are the ordinary ministers, obviously, but even in very large "mega-parsihes," there may be one priest and one deacon at a Mass, with well over a thousand people in the pews. I am not grasping your logic here.

Stephen said...

I'll try to get back on topic here: I'm disappointed that LTP has been slacking on their "book preview" pages lately. I would love to see a lot of their new material re: RM3; however, many of their materials do not have preview pages. It makes me not want to risk the purchase. I then seek out other publishers for materials; however, none seem to be publishing on children/teen issues, however, still makes me wary w/o a few preview pages.

Anne said...

Yikes! I can't believe some of the comments here!! I for one am having a difficult time accepting this horrible translation! Regardless,I'm trying to look for the positive. It is what it is. Jerry is suggesting a way we might provide some good catechesis for our young people. So It's puzzling to me that people who love the new translation and are counting the days until Advent with great anticipation are still finding something to whine about!!

Anonymous said...

Chironomo is mistaken in his application of RS. Paragraph 158 makes the point that "a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason" to use EMHCs. The key is that "brief" is defined by local circumstances and culture. There is no universal definition of what might be the magic cuttoff. The pastor, in consultation with the local community, is the best judge of what "undue prolongation" might be.

The criterion is not "impossibility" but simply "undue" prolongation.

Even with 2 clerics, double that number of Extraordinary Ministers would be needed if Communion were to be offered under both species (which is certainly normative in most places, and praised as a more complete sign of the sacrament).

So, Jerry, I am with you... the world that Chironomo describes does not resemble at all the real world where I work and pray.

Paul said...

Chironomo, where to you work/live that has so many priests? We never know who we're going to have weekend to weekend...please send some of your excess to us so we may follow the documents exactly and live in happy-land forever and ever.

Chironomo said...

We have Masses with perhaps 4 or 5 hundred people in attendance, two Priests and a Deacon, and still there are at least 5 or 6 EM's being used. It would take MAYBE an additional 4 or 5 minutes to distribute communion (you have to take into account the additional 4 or 5 minutes it takes to have the EM's come up, distribute communion and separate their cups, ciboria, etc). I don't think that qualifies as an "excessive prolongation of the Mass.

We also have Masses with 2000 - 2500 in attendance. At those Masses we have two Priests, a Deacon and perhaps 5 or 6 EM's being used.

My question is not why the EM's are needed at the latter Mass (although I think three ministers could pretty easily distribute communion to 2000 people in under 20 minutes)... it's why they are "scheduled" ahead of time at the former Mass when it is well known that they aren't really necessary. That's the problem.

I live in SW Fl... a parish of about 5000 families. Three Priests and two Deacons, plus visiting clergy. I understand that there are places where there are shortages of ministers. In situations where it would ACTUALLY take a half hour or so to distribute communion, I could see a need. But is 15-20 minutes REALLY too long to distribute communion...??

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

OK Folks, I am interested in your answer to my friend Chironomo's question: Is 15-20 minutes too long for the distribution of Holy Communion?

Chironomo said...

And to add, also from Redemptionis Sacramentum...

"also reprobated is the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass thus arbitrarily extending the concept of "a great number of the faithful".

This, as has been determined through several responses by the CDW, is directed at the regular "scheduling" of Extraordinary Ministers without any determination of the number of faithful present.

Don't get me wrong... I understand that there are actual cases where EM's are necessary, but it seems evident that in more instances than not every Sunday across the US, they are used in ways that are clearly at odds with the directives.

Also specific in the directives are that EM's are NEVER to be used as a means of "participation" by the faithful, and yet I hear that reason given frequently as to why there are so many... "It's a way for people to be involved in the liturgy".

Anne said...

"Is 15-20 minutes too long for the distribution of Holy Communion?"
Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. That's not the important issue. In this country and culture it is our custom for lay ministers of the Eucharist to minister,to serve and to witness to their fellow parishioners. It is our norm. The instructions for EMs leave room for pastoral interpretation. Not to say as a guideline it isn't is not canon law.

Anonymous said...


In answer to your (and Chironomo's) question, as I stated earlier, there is no magic number.

But, in most communities in North America, yes, 15-20 minutes would probably be experienced as unduly prolonged, especially if they are already used to communion taking half that time.

I do not wear a watch at liturgy, and so do not pay attention to clock-time; but I do pay attention to ritual-time... to flow... and if the distribution of communion is taking up 1/3 of the Mass, then I think there very well could be a problem with ritual flow.

And speaking of flow, there is also the architectural issue: how is the seating for the assembly arranged and how many communion ministers ("stations") are needed to allow for an orderly procession? How far do we ask people to walk? Do we take them by circuitous routes all over the nave? Or do we address this as an issue of hospitality?

One last point. Ecclesiastical documents have their own norms for interpretation. As part of the Church's legal system, one must carefully look at a number of issues before pronouncing on just exactly what a document is asking for and what weight it carries. While a detailed discussion of these matters is beyond the scope of a blog, I would refer readers to two articles that have discussed the interpretation of RS:

(1) Huels, John M. "Canonical Observations on Redemptionis Sacramentum." Worship 78:5 (S 2004):404-420.
(2) LaSalle, Donald G. "The Art of Interpreting Liturgical Instructions." Liturgical Ministry 14 (Fall 2005): 189-196.