Will Children’s Liturgies Fall Victim to COVID19?

As dioceses resume public Masses resume throughout the country, safeguards to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are being implemented: no sign of peace; no hand-holding during the Our Father; social distancing; no holy water in the fonts; reduced capacity.

And please God, the death of the Children’s Liturgy.

I’ve never understood why parents were encouraged to dismiss their children for the Liturgy of the Word. Jesus said, “Let the children come to Me”, not “Send your kids away to hear a watered down gospel (read by a lay person, no less) and a juice box.”

When I was a kid, Children’s Liturgies weren’t a thing. I sat with my family the entire Mass. My parents discussed the homily with us on the way home, or at dinner that evening. We were expected to pay attention, behave ourselves, and participate to the best of our ability. Granted, prior to reaching the age of reason, understanding and wisdom were limited. But it engendered good habits – or at least that was the hope. We were told, while in God’s house, reverence was expected.

But Larry, some might object, what if Father preaches on a topic too “sensitive” for their innocent ears? Come on, be real. Who preaches on fornication, birth control, or abortion in the US nowadays? Or personal sin? Or better yet – scriptural exigesis and proclamation of the Gospel? They’re more likely to hear a sermon attempting to sound relevant rather than revelatory. But let’s say the priest does preach on the evils of abortion or sex before marriage. Then what? Obviously, the parents are obligated to answer their children’s questions, should they arise. It’s their responsibility to discuss the homily in age-appropriate ways, to reasonably explain Catholic doctrine. After all, parents are their children’s primary teachers. It’s not the Church’s job to protect children from difficult topics by providing a safe space to which their parents can send them.

But what if the kids get bored? Okay, so? Kids get bored, especially when they aren’t the center of attention. They won’t develop the skills of attentiveness, listening, and reverence when their boredom is enabled.

Ultimately, the question is: ‘Do the children receive any spiritual benefit?’ Sure, they get to make a craft (just like in school), and have a snack (again, just like in school), and they get to hang out with their friends (like in school…hey, I detect a pattern here). Mass isn’t meant to be like school, though. Mass is for worshiping God in Word and Eucharist, where families WORSHIP TOGETHER, and they can’t worship together if they don’t STAY TOGETHER.

Besides, isn’t that why we have Religious Ed? Why disrupt the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass twice, once for the assemblage, blessing, and dismissal; and then for their return, like an Oklahoma land rush?

Many months from now, once some level of normalcy returns, I bet Children’s Liturgies will be reinstituted. Let’s hope by then, parents will have learned that worshiping together strengthens their family’s faith much more than by sending out their children for a juice box and coloring page.

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PARISH REPORT: Pastor Fills Fonts With Blessed Hand Sanitizer

(ACMPress) GRAND RAPIDS – In anticipation of the public Mass restriction being lifted soon across the diocese, Fr. Mike Robial, the pastor at Our Lady of Good Hygiene, has devised a clever way for returning parishioners to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

He’s filling the holy water fonts with blessed hand sanitizer.

“I received a generous donation of hand sanitizer from a local parishioner,” he told ACMPress. “She’s an Amway distributor, and had gallons of the stuff. At first I didn’t know what to do with it all.”

Fr Robial said the idea came up while having a conversation with the parish permanent deacon, Deacon Taminate.

“He suggested I bless it and distribute it to parishioners,” he explained, “but I figured, why not go one step further? The fonts will be empty, so let’s fill them with sanitizer. Parishioners can bless themselves with it, and sanitize their hands at the same time. Win win!”

Masses are slated to begin Sunday May 24th, preceded by a Blessing of the Masks. Check the online parish bulletin for details.

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How To Become Protestant in the Age of Covid-19

It’s quite simple, really. First, find out or be told a priest in your diocese is offering public Masses on the sly. Then, attend said Mass. So what if your bishop has suspended all public Masses in your diocese? Screw that. Why should you be any better than Luther, Calvin, or Wesley?

A friend texted me last week that a priest in my archdiocese will be offering Mass, in case I was interested. I asked, is it a public Mass, to which she responded she assumed it was. I replied, “It seems to me a priest offering a public Mass when the archbishop has suspended all public Masses is being disobedient to his bishop.”

If I’m coming off as holier-than-thou, well, that’s on you not me. The holier-than-thou folks are those feeling entitled to attend such Masses, or are feeling persecuted, as if we’re living under the 2nd century Roman Empire. I truly and deeply miss receiving the Eucharist and worshiping with the community during this time, like so many other Catholics. But disobedience to legitimate authority – and last time I checked, the Church remains apostolic, so a bishop’s authority is still legit – in the time of plague is still disobedience. Christ was obedient unto death – but I’m to be disobedient unto annoyance? Give me a break.

Here’s my advice, free of charge. Don’t disobey your bishop in this. Don’t become a Protestant. Offer up your suffering for the poor souls in Purgatory, and trust that this too shall pass. Your 1st amendment rights aren’t being suppressed. Are the movie theatres still closed? Are concert venues shut down? Are sporting events still canceled? If the answer to all the above is yes, then you still have freedom of religion. It’s not as if only secular events are permitted, while religious ones aren’t. Masses are livestreamed, Bible studies are held online, and priests offer private Masses every day (and they aren’t being rounded up and arrested, either). You can pray your rosary in public. You can wear Christian symbols without opposition. You can protest in front of an abortion clinic.*

And if a nearby diocese begins to offer Masses before yours does, stay home. Obey. Your. Bishop. Be like St Pio. The restrictions his bishop enacted were far more egregious, unfair, and quite unjust. Yet he submitted to legitimate authority, quietly and prayerfully, and was rewarded.

Another thing about these clandestine Masses. What irks me is the secrecy – the sense of belonging to an exclusive club, to which only privileged individuals are allowed membership. The Mass is for EVERY CATHOLIC, not merely for those with insider information. Such exclusivity doesn’t belong in the Church. It wounds the Body of Christ, creating disunity and division. And crap like that pisses me off.

One more bit of unsolicited advice: if you decide to attend a secret public Mass, please don’t tempt your friends into sinning with you. “Love your neighbor” and all that, y’know?  Should someone say: “Psst! I know where a Mass is being held. Wanna go?”, don’t be afraid to tell them “No thanks, I’m not a Protestant.”

*I fully believe, however, that those Christian communities who offered “drive-in” services and were fined by city/county officials, had their freedom of religion rights violated, and I am glad to see the DOJ is taking those cases seriously.

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A Thank You to the Coronoavirus Front-Liners

All of us at A Catholic Misfit give a huge shout out to the people doing their jobs during the pandemic: the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, researchers, folks in essential businesses like grocers, food delivery, and the like. I know I’m omitting some, but you know who you are. May God bless you, and keep you and your families safe. Your tireless work, dedication, and concern for your fellow man is appreciated more than you can ever possibly know.

The fact that Planned Parenthood facilities remain open in much of the country, considered by some governors and courts as “essential”, is hypocritical beyond description. It’s unconscionable.

Here’s a question: when a baby is aborted during the pandemic, does it get counted as a COVID-19 death? Duh. What am I thinking? PP doesn’t believe it’s a baby. Nevermind.

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