Last Sunday, 15th May, marked one year since we relaunched the Family Mass in our Parish of St Edmunds celebrating it each week in the Parish Hall.
One year ago we were still very restricted by rules governing what we could and could not do. When we began only two of us were allowed to sing – and that was from the kitchen – but we were able to give the younger children shakers so that they could make some noise with us.
Fr Steve encouraged us to buy The Lectionary for Children’s Masses, which provides readings in simpler language and our priests began to use one of the Children’s Eucharistic Prayers; we also purchased a beautiful coloured cross for the altar.
It was difficult at first to persuade families to read, but now the rota is filled up to the first Sunday in July! There are many other ways our families are actively involved in the celebration of Mass:
- the children lead the Entry Procession from the garden,
- they come forward to light candles during the Bidding Prayers, creating a lovely focal point dur-ing our prayers,
- one family takes the Offertory Gifts to the altar,
- everyone sings the prayers of the Mass as well as hymns and we have some eager soloists coming forward too!
It has been very encouraging to see two of our older children: Grace and Aida, become regular servers; their mums, Katherine and Vita volunteered to be our sacristans and together they make everything ready for Mass each week.
We have a good regular attendance at this Mass; not everyone attends every week, but many return most weeks and sometimes we find ourselves putting out extra chairs!
In order to develop family involvement further it would be great if:
- most families could arrive at least 10 minutes before Mass to learn new music and improve participation,
- there could be some assistance with leading the music. If you have a reasonable level of competency in playing an instrument – it doesn’t have to be the piano – and could play along with the singing or sometimes accompany if I’m away, it would help what happens at this Mass to be sustained by families for families.
The Family Mass has become a new community in our Parish. Sometimes we have tea and coffee after Mass and it would be great to do that every week, especially while we can use the hall garden. Please sign the rota against dates on which you can assist.
What next? If you have further ideas, please talk to me after Mass.