Here is a beautiful homily by Fr. Martin Fox about handing the Faith on to our children.
I often think about how many small children I actually see at Mass on Sunday, besides my own. We used to attend a Mass where CLOW (Children’s Liturgy of the Word) was provided. All the kids would troop out to peppy piano music, and go to one of the community rooms down the hall. Later they would all come back and sit with their families. I didn’t really know where they were going or what they were doing, but one day they all came back after their activities wearing crowns made of paper colored with crayons. The significance? It was the Feast of Christ the King. I could possibly understand making a crown to put on a statue of the Sacred Heart the kids might have at home, but why were the kids wearing the crowns themselves? I can only guess that they made the crowns while listening to someone tell them about Jesus being our King. As to why the crowns were made for the kids’ heads? Maybe they learned that because of our Baptism we are part of the Royal Priesthood of Christ, and therefore deserve to be crowned like Him? Maybe since we make up the Body of Christ, we should wear His crown? Maybe it was just a fun activity for the kids to do while their teachers read to them? In any case, did the kids learn anything true about our Savior? Did they learn anything about the Mass (the “source and summit” of our Faith)? I wonder.
A priest once said, when asked why his parish did not offer much in the way of a “Sunday School” program: Parishes that have extensive Sunday school are parishes where the parents are not doing their job.
Now, I am not saying that CCD and other religious education programs do not have a place in parish life. I do wonder about the efficacy of sending our young ones out of Mass to do a fun activity (perhaps related to the day’s readings) instead of teaching them about Mass (and how to behave there) ourselves. Where better to learn about the different parts of Mass than sitting in the pews? They can make paper crowns at home, can’t they? Should Mass time be the time for that sort of activity? When they are too old to go to CLOW, will they be prepared participate in Mass? Will they know what the Mass is all about? Will they want to go anymore?