Faith & Family: St. Mary children prepare for Mass

Published 12:10 am Saturday, October 11, 2014

By Morgan Mizell

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ A special children’s Mass will take place at St. Mary’s Basilica Sunday.

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The Rev. David O’Connor and Mary Katherine McDonald, along with other mothers who volunteered, have taken a Montessori approach to involve the children of the church in the Mass.

“The idea behind this effort is to let the children participate,” O’Connor said. “We think that the children will better understand what is going on if they can be a part of what we are doing.”

A traditional Mass consists of scripture readings from the Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament and a Gospel. Lastly, the Homily is given.

“We feel like a service has traditionally been an adult experience,” O’Connor said. “Children can sometimes feel left out and we want to involve them in the service and allow them to grow up knowing and understanding the service.”

The children will be featured at the front of the church and will be involved in every aspect of the service from the liturgical readings to the music.

“The theme of the service is ‘Welcome to The Lord’s Banquet,’” McDonald said. “There will balloons and even a cake at the reception after the service.”

The children will role play and wear costumes to be fully involved in the service.

“They will have banners and march into the sanctuary in a procession at the beginning of the service,” McDonald said. “We will have rehearsed the service a few times to make sure the children know what to do.”

Another important part of Mass is the Communion, or Eucharist, which is the retelling of the Last Supper.

“Every detail of a Mass is thought out in advance,” O’Connor said. “We select the passages and the music to accompany the Mass so that the congregation is put in a state of reflection and it is all designed to support and reinforce the Homily.”

If all of that sounds a little difficult to understand, imagine being a child.

“We really want the children to be involved so they understand what is going on in the service,” McDonald said. “We want them to grow up knowing all about their faith and loving it.”

Both O’Connor and McDonald both hope that the service will go well and it will grow in the years to come.

“We do want this to become a regular occurrence,” O’Connor said. “We have been very fortunate to have a tight-knit group of young mothers and past educators that have rallied behind this idea.”

Other volunteers include: Karen Verucchi, Marci Carlton, Jennifer Lambuth, Katherine Callon, Jessica Stubbs, Mary Ellen Porter, Ellen Eldridge and Katie Goldman.

“These ladies are very busy,” O’Connor said. “They are doing this because it is important for them to see their children grow up in a faith environment and it is great to see them giving their time to make this happen.”

The children’s parents and grandparents, along with students at Cathedral School are invited to attend. Also, members of the community are welcome as well.

St. Mary’s Mass is at 10 a.m. Sunday.