Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An Incredible Tool for Teaching the Mass and its Ceremonies

We have all heard of "Mass kits" which are kits made particularly for young boys to help inspire interest in serving at the altar, not only as servers but ultimately as priests. They typically include a little thurible like object, something that approximates a chalice, and so on, with the intent that they put themselves in the role of the priest.

I have been struck for sometime, however, by these photos which came in the context of a book for teaching children the Mass. It was not so much the book itself as it was what I saw pictured as the tools which they employed for this purpose which I found both highly creative and inspiring:

As you can see, they have setup a canopied Roman altar, complete with altar candlesticks, altar linen and so on. Not only that, they have included the various other sacred objects which are employed in the Mass:

For those whose preference is for a freestanding altar without gradines:

It is the fullness in which they have approached this that makes these particularly inspiring and effectual. When so approached, it can also provide opportunities to introduce, familiarize and teach children in particular about various aspects of our liturgical tradition, including in its architectural and stylistic elements.

The parts are actually fairly straightforward, and anyone with any small measure of creativity could likely put together such a setup such as this using some basic construction and sewing skills.

It strikes me as well that this sort of tool could be useful in both the home or in the parish and in point of fact, has applications even beyond children for teaching the Mass and its ceremonies -- in both forms I might add. For example, it could be used to explain the ceremonies and parts of the Mass to adults, to converts, or to altar servers.

I offer it here mainly as a point of consideration to families and parish priests alike that it might inspire you.

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