Kid-friendly liturgy
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    A few weeks ago at church, my 8yo leans over to me in the middle of the Preface and says, “I feel like this part should be chanted.”

    Then, on Good Friday, both kids (8 and 5) sat enraptured by a fully chanted Passion and afterward said it was their favorite part.

    SING THE LITURGY
    DO IT FOR THE KIDS
  • My soon to be 21 yr old said, when he was in his First Communion class: "Daddy, why, in the English Mass, does the priest have his back to Jesus the entire time?"

    Precious words, like your children's words!
  • In general children can get lost in the moment much better than adults. They don't know how to think it through as we do, so they can just take in the experience of the chant.
    Thanked by 2MatthewRoth Carol
  • Jani
    Posts: 421
    Who expected any less from Adam’s kids? That’s awesome, Adam!
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,002
    Kids aren't dumb, it's the grown-ups who are.

    There is no one more bored by a "children's liturgy" than a child; it's the cringe-y adults who like it.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,540
    I love all the modernist clerics who insist that "the youth" want dribble for liturgy whilst conveniently hiding or ignoring the fact that traditional communities are bursting at the seams and the masses that consist of the 70's greatest hits are... well... not. (A quick scan of covid-era live streams will back me up on this.)
  • From somebody who is still a “kid” (16) I cannot agree enough with the comments. I have tons of Catholic friends who are very heavily influenced by today’s culture but it when it comes to the Liturgy and its music, they know what it should sound like and that it should be as sacred and traditional as the Church can offer. Beautiful liturgies are what inspired me to bring that to others (or at least try).

    Mr Wood, congrats on getting a “proud father moment”.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 419
    My 2yo agrees.
    Choir sings: rapt attention
    Someone chants: rapt attention
    Organ plays: rapt attention
    Altar bells: rapt attention
    Reading: iffy
    Preaching: time to head for the hills
  • ...the grown ups who are...
    Spot on!!!
    And most 'grown ups' like their children to be as out to sea when it comes to worship as them.
    Thanked by 3tomjaw CHGiffen Carol
  • Caleferink
    Posts: 389
    Children are enamored by "high church." I was blessed in the first parish I worked at in Ohio where the school children, when given an opportunity, would request things like Agnus Dei XVIII and hymns like All Creatures of Our God and King or The God of Abraham Praise just to name a few examples that immediately jumped to mind. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: when we adults try to implement childish things in liturgy for the sake of being "kid-friendly" (e.g. "Children's Liturgy of the Word"), we tell them that church and religion are things for children, and then when they grow up and shun childish things, guess what they also consider childish?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    well, if you have read any of my posts and threads on the matter, then you know i am 110% for treating children as 'little adults'. how many young saints has the church reared in its history? and it all comes from a hearty helping of religion.

    Here is a very interesting revelation which I read the other day from the Little Manual of the Holy Face as it was spoken to Sister Mary of Peter... think of what our religion used to be and what it is today...

    Our Lord, moreover, made her see that the Church, His spouse, is His mystical body and that religion is the face of His body, which face, at the present day, is a target for the enemies of His Name. "I saw," said she, "through this illumina­tion, that the impious, by proffering evil words and blaspheming the Holy Name of God, spit in the Face of the Savior and cover It with mud; that all the blows given by sectarians to the holy Church and to religion, are a renewal of the numberless blows which were inflicted on the Face of our Lord, and that these wretched men make the brow of this august Face, as it were to sweat, by striving to annihilate His travail."


    This makes me think twice before I ever think wrong about our most Holy Catholic Faith as it was handed to us down through the centuries. We do not want to spit in our Lord's face by disfiguring his 'religion' which is the face of the bride of Christ.
  • Carol
    Posts: 730
    That is quite an image, Francis. Thank you.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,612
    I remember some of the craziness of the late seventies being justified by saying, "we are doing it for the young people." There was a fear that if the liturgy was not 'updated," the youth would leave. It was never a surprise to me that they left anyway.
  • opus2080
    Posts: 7
    I direct a small children's choir made up of kids from the Parish's parochial school. At the end of rehearsal each week, we have a free for all. I take requests for the kids to sing, and I play them. The stuff these kids come up with is incredible. They want to chant Salve Regina, or Regina Caeli. Or they suggest hymns such as Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All or I Know my Redeemer lives. There is hope for church music! When I was their age, singing at mass meant Kumbaya or I'd like to Teach the World to Sing, and other such nonsense.
    Thanked by 3Carol Jani canadash
  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 321

    Kids aren't dumb, it's the grown-ups who are.

    There is no one more bored by a "children's liturgy" than a child; it's the cringe-y adults who like it.


    This church synod thing is going on through parishes in my Diocese and someone at my table suggested she would like to see us bring Mass down to Children’s levels with children’s music, and language that children will understand. I really had to hold my tongue and fight the natural impulse to roll my eyes. I hated that stuff as a child and liked the chant at Mass. I hate how the only sung parts of Mass now are the Ordinaries. Why can’t we at least chant the preface and the Roman Canon?

    We now have about 20 children in our Latin Mass choir. They have no issues with the Latin or the chant…just reading three digit numbers when it comes to finding page numbers in the hymnals…Latin Mass problems.
  • Sponsa,

    While an eye roll is entirely appropriate in the situation you describe, may I suggest (instead) that you take the adult in question to see you Latin Mass choir. Then have her suggest (in their hearing) that to make things more kid-friendly the choir of which they are a part should be abolished and a kiddy-group set up in its place.

    That ought to solve the problem, right there.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,978
    Surely in 'this synod thing' the appropriate response is to state your own experience of hating trivial ditties when you were a child.
    Sponsa - a chanted Roman Canon is a big task for a celebrant, and of course only the celebrant(s) may sing it. Traditionally it was/is forbidden for the words to be spoken so as to be audible to anyone but the celebrant.
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 332
    I believe Sponsa was referring to a chanted preface dialogue and preface.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,540
    TBH, I don't see what the particularly big deal about changing the canon is (which is to say, I don't understand why people say it is so difficult). It is formulaic. All you need to do is learn a few cadential formulas and not drift too far from the reciting tone. It's not as though it's through composed and changing throughout.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 321
    I believe Sponsa was referring to a chanted preface dialogue and preface.


    No. I was referring to the Roman Canon chanted, which was the norm when I was a kid in the 90s. I used to chant it along with the priest when I was 5, much to my dad’s dislike. Now no one seems to even use the Roman Canon.

    They even have practice videos now.
    https://youtu.be/QCoFxoibzGQ
    Thanked by 2tomjaw trentonjconn
  • jcr
    Posts: 116
    I had the experience in the late 60's, while still a Protestant, to take a youth choir on at a Baptist church. I had a nice group of kids, four parts, regular attendance, etc. They would sometimes whine a little bit about the fact that I used mostly solid sacred church music, but we tackled some fairly difficult material successfully. I left the post after a year, but met the music director at that church later and he told me that he had resumed the diet of gospel music and "contemporary Christian Music" that they had used before. About half way through the program year the singers requested some of the music "that John had us sing while he was here". Kids aren't stupid. They do require exposure, though.
    Thanked by 2irishtenor Carol
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,526
    The chanted anaphora, and especially the Canon, was rare in the 1990s…
  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 321

    The chanted anaphora, and especially the Canon, was rare in the 1990s…


    Not in my city it wasn’t. We used to go to several different parishes and it would be the same everywhere. Then something happened when I was in high school that Mass wasn’t sung anymore and it seemed to get shorter.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,526
    All I’m saying is that the area that you were living in was a bubble even smaller than indult land. My experience is also the opposite: more and more use the Canon, especially the unmutilated version, but it’s rarely sung, because the priests would rather say it silently.
  • Matthew,

    I don't know where Sponsa's bubble is, but I must have encountered a displaced version of it in North Carolina, where one priest of my acquaintance prided himself on singing the "Eucharistic Prayer", and having it accompanied by the organ......
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 332
    I've only ever encountered the sung canon at the Cantius 11am OF. I have to say, despite the fact that I'm a huge proponent of sung liturgy, I definitely prefer a (quietly) spoken anaphora.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • I have heard the canon sung twice; once by Bishop Lopes of the Ordinariate, another by a priest who was singing the OF. In completely sung liturgies it only makes sense. If the mass itself is not sung in toto a sung canon would stand out like the sore thumb; If the entire liturgy is sung then speaking the canon would stand out like that same sore thumb.

    I have sung it once, for about two hundred priests in Oklahoma who were attending a workshop of chant and liturgy. It was very well received and I was even asked to 're-sing' parts of it for greater familiarity.
    Thanked by 2LauraKaz CHGiffen
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,293
    I am sure we had a sung canon at our Latin OF Mass back in the 1990s, but we were one of the few places that still had a sung Latin Mass.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,540
    Our pastor chants the canon very regularly (especially on feasts at the 11am). He is very musically literate, however, and a season subscriber to the local philharmonic. (Makes working with him a musical pleasure.)
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,234
    I taught quite a few young priests (seminarians at the time) to chant the canon to both simple and solemn tones when I was music director at a seminary in the Midwest
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,044
    We have the canon chanted every week by our pastor.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,002
    Just this morning a woman from the parish spoke to me and told me how much her nephew (7-8yrs old), loved the Easter Vigil: This was a two-hour liturgy, with copious chant in English, Latin, and Spanish, including the Propers and Ordinary (VIII) Hymns in English and Polish, anthems with organ, etc.

    They (this woman and her nephew) normally attend the Saturday 4:00 Vigil, which is more like a "Low Mass" with hymns, and he said, so I was told, that the Easter Vigil was "the best Vigil he's ever been to". This comment almost makes me want to up the ante at the 4:00 a bit. I've been doing things the way I have been to keep the older folks (who are the majority who attend the Saturday Mass) in the state to which they've become accustomed, but perhaps the time has come to add some things, for the younger generations who appreciate it.
  • Salieri,

    [Trying to rescue the idea of Kid-friendly-liturgy, half-heartedly]:

    Surely, you know, that child is just an anecdote, not actual data?
  • Ah, but the plural of anecdote is data and we have multiple anecdotes in this thread. I would say that is data.

    (Only half joking.)
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 366
    Ah, but the plural of anecdote is data and we have multiple anecdotes in this thread. I would say that is data.


    Indeed.

    Of course there will be some younger people who like chant, and find it spiritually enriching. In the same way there will be some who don't. And some older people who do, and some who don't. That's just people. And God's revelation isn't restricts to any one style or culture.

    Naturally, people will gravitate to place where their spirit is nurtured. So you will hear appreciative things from the people in your place. And equally naturally your own children will say things they know you will like.

    I've been working with some ethnic minority kids. Not gonna say exactly where or what mix, but their home-background culture didn't do "the 60s" at the same time western countries did. Their choir was set up by a traditionally-minded curate: he left, I inherited. I've tried hard to keep some of the material which he taught, but THESE kids aren't buying it. Where they are emotionally and spiritually, they are receptive to stuff that most of you despise. Trying to force traditional hymns or Latin on them would fail, they'd be quickly in the nearest pentecostal church. So the aim is teach them that there are many styles of music used prayer, that it's good to pray with what works for them now - but we expect them to keep learning more things as they mature.
    Thanked by 2a_f_hawkins Elmar
  • . Where they are emotionally and spiritually, they are receptive to stuff that most of you despise. Trying to force traditional hymns or Latin on them would fail, they'd be quickly in the nearest pentecostal church. So the aim is teach them that there are many styles of music used prayer, that it's good to pray with what works for them now - but we expect them to keep learning more things as they mature.


    One can be receptive to stuff which isn't good. [Examples are not meant to be exhaustive]: an alcoholic is drawn to alcohol, and alcohol isn't bad in itself, but it will kill him; some people are drawn to the music of Madonna and the politics of Joe Biden. Others are drawn to tea which, being an Englishman, I think is a necessity of life; others are drawn to the music of Philip Glass or John Cage; still others are drawn to the politics of Donald Trump. The being drawn part isn't surprising, but one can't judge the goodness or badness of a thing on whether people are drawn to it.

    Maybe these kids are being formed by people who want to be popular with them? How sad if it is true. Pentecostal "churches" are catering to a need for sugar, self-affirmation, caffeine and a Christian veneer. The kids may go there, but when they're ready for real spiritual food, they'll come home to the only Church which Christ founded.
    Thanked by 2ServiamScores tomjaw
  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 321
    And God's revelation isn't restricts to any one style or culture.


    No, but the Church does say that Chant has pride of place.

    We had this gem sung at our church’s English Mass.

    https://youtu.be/CJ9-toxYm1M
    I was feeling inspired to go make a difference by suggesting something more appropriate. To the MD’s credit, he switched it out for Holy God We Praise Thy Name at the Mass I attended in person, but left it for the livestream.

  • Jani
    Posts: 421
    Good heavens - I lasted through the intro and one “go make a difference.” I suddenly feel somewhat less guilty about singing the SL Jesuits.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • jcr
    Posts: 116
    I have come to classify a great deal that comes from the "Church" environment as "popular religion" and it has taken over much of the religious landscape in what I used to think was just the US, but it has become a worldwide phenomenon. For a long time it was confined to more Evangelical Protestant groups, but it has spread to the mainline Protestants some time back. I'm afraid that this has taken over a growing corner of the Catholic landscape as well. It comes with a popular approach to music, continues with an almost "pod cast" manner at the altar, and is very focused on young people. Although it is a caricature, I'm reminded of the "Church of What's Happening Now" in Sweet Charity and the "Rhythm of Life".

    I suggest that we need to focus on a few basic things.
    1. Young people are not the Church of tomorrow. They are a part of the Church of right now!
    2. There needs to be a time when our young people grow away from children's music and become acquainted with adult music. When does that happen? Has anybody been where the youth program concerned itself with this issue?? The MD often has a fight on his hands when he tries to do it.
    3. Much of the music that kids are expected to like and that many insist must be given to them "is not good for them".
    4. It could be asked as well, "Why are so many of the adults in our pews so enamored of the same music that they tell us the "kids" want?" It seems that they were never weaned, which may explain some of the above.
    5. To what extent is the type of focus on our youth actually teaching them to be self-centered and lacking in some of the Christian virtues we should be fostering in them?

    I suggest that the Catholic Christian life should be taught as significantly different life than the typical American life. We should question the obviously flawed hiring practices by which youth directors, DRE's, and Catholic school teachers are chosen. It has been a mystery to me to see Catholic schools making the state teaching certificate the most important credential. How about being a sincere Christian with actual expertise in an academic discipline?

    Well, I'll get off my hobby horse or what some might think is my high horse for now.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,540
    I had a mother once thank me for teaching the school children the seasonal Marian antiphons. “My children are in the back yard singing the salve Regina in Latin from memory, and they just love it! It makes me so happy to hear them sing! Thank you for teaching them these chants.”

    This was a very eye opening remark to me.

    Conversely, some of the teachers at the school were mad about it, and also mad that I wasn’t using these tiny little red song books filled with dribble, but rather required the kids fo pick up the real hymnals and sing real hymns during school masses. “But they don’t know this music!!”

    …and they will never learn unless we expose them to it…

    My children would be “vegetarians” if I never offered them any meat… but lo and behold: chicken tenders are awfully tasty!
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,526
    It has been a mystery to me to see Catholic schools making the state teaching certificate the most important credential. How about being a sincere Christian with actual expertise in an academic discipline?


    Not even the state should emphasize this so much.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 321
    It has been a mystery to me to see Catholic schools making the state teaching certificate the most important credential.

    I used to nanny for a family whose children went to a private SSPX school where the teachers weren’t required to have teaching certificates. The stories I heard about how the teachers handled unruly children were horrid and I witnessed a teacher get annoyed with a student after school and push him into the chain link fence. Knowing how to teach is important.
  • Sponsa,

    Knowing how to teach is, indeed, important.
    Having a state certificate doesn't actually mean that a person knows how to teach. If the program (for example) has a section on gender inclusivity or all sorts of other buzz-word stuff, the person with the certificate may not know anything about actual teaching, but only what the state has crammed into his head so he can finish the state licensing program.

    Did you mean to imply that the SSPX schools are knuckle-dragging, anti-intellectual cesspools, or did that just come over accidentally? [I'm not a member of the SSPX, nor am I an attendant at their Masses, except once in the last 15 years.]
    Thanked by 2tomjaw LauraKaz
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,804
    Honestly, most SSPX schools are vocation mills, that are more concerned with turning out quantity than quality. I've known of a few cases where students have attempted suicide because their teachers & principals were less than charitable in their pedagogical approach, to put it mildly. Read Robert Cormier's The Chocolate War if you'd like to get an idea of what it's like.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,612
    Some of those schools operate without much in the way of oversight and do pretty much as they please. I kept teaching certificates for some years when I was actually teaching. I quit keeping them current when I retired since it wasn't worth the expense and time for the coursework required for recertification. Certificates do not necessarily make you a good teacher. If you want to teach successfully you need knowledge and a good heart.
    Thanked by 3Jani tomjaw LauraKaz
  • jcr
    Posts: 116
    The teaching certificate can be a guarantee that the teacher will be indoctrinated with the current "teacher stuff" of colleges and schools of education. I allowed my certificates to expire long ago for a lot of reasons. It has always seemed to me that state run schools with state approved curricula have no place in a free society. This because the interests of the state and the interests of parents in educating their children are all too often at odds. No doubt there are abusive and incompetent teachers. However, the most common thing is to find teachers who are waiting for a public school job to open where they can make a living. It is apparent to me that in most levels of education, as is the case in music as well, money, a calling to the work, and some kind of serious commitment to the work and its results is necessary and greatly lacking in the real world. Few there are who will dedicate themselves to these causes. Few are the places where those who are responsible for these things as well
  • Stimson,

    You're not describing a pedagogical approach, surely, but the effects of people who shouldn't be teachers actually teaching, or trying to do so.

    Because of your credibility on this issue, let me ask: do you mean that the behavior you've described (and seen described) is unique to the SSPX schools?
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,044
    Teaching certificates can expire? The teaching certificates that the State of Texas issued me don't have an expiration date. (And yes, I'm amazed that the great State of Texas saw fit to give me license to warp the minds of our youth!)
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,612
    They do expire and require periodic university course work to keep them in effect.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 424
    The Church should consider introducing similar procedures about knowledge of Latin and liturgy (including music) for priestly orders to remain in effect.
  • I'm pleased to see the purple!