The meaning of the Mass…for children

The meaning of the Mass…for children
Why We Go to Mass, a comic book

by Fr. Pat Seaver & Hugh McMahon (€5.99 postage included; for copies contact Paul Flynn at Kyle House, Henry St, Limerick, tel: 061-313377)

Having to sit on so many Sundays to sit beside families with their small children, even some of communion age, are running around the aisles, inattentive and uninterested in the service they are attending, this is a book many will have longed for.

Once upon a time small children were never taken to Mass – they had not reached the age of reason after all. They stayed at home with Granny or an elder sister. But when the extended family seems to have vanished, along with a series of Sunday morning masses, things are different.

There is nothing comic about the mass. Fr Seaver should perhaps have not used the Americanism “comic book” for his little pamphlet- the correct European term is “graphic book” might have been better. But he has written a book many parents will want to have. In the simplest but clearest terms he can mange he explains to a young readership what the mass and the Eucharist are about.

Observation suggests that some may have been schooled in the right movement and actions, such as going up to receive, but their minds are not engaged with the Mass as a kind of feast, a source of nourishment. Their parents hush them, but are so intent on their own devotions that they neglect their children. Whether this is a sort of mild “child abuse” is something to think about.

Fr Seaver wrote an earlier book with a similar intent but found it was just too academic. This book is a further effort to reach out to what seems to be a neglected cohort of Catholics, the Catholics of the future. What surprises one is that the Catholic publishers that exist have not taken up his idea. Maybe with a bit of promotion now they will, and so reach even more families.

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