Why is it important to have a dedicated ‘Family Mass’? The answer is simple: children are the future of the Church. For that reason we need to give children a positive experience of Mass, welcoming them and showing them with their families how they can all play an active part in the celebration of Mass, by teaching them – explicitly and by example – what to do in church, including the gestures we use and how quiet we try to be, especially during the Eucharistic Prayer.
For the last two and a half years Family Mass has been held in St Edmund’s Hall in parallel with 9.30 Mass in the church. It was re-launched in May 2021, when we were still under Covid-19 restrictions. From the many challenges we faced, a new and close congregation was formed, the fastest-growing of all in our parish. Family Mass has been a joyful experience and something we want to sustain.
When the Family Mass congregation last met in the hall on Sunday 29th October, we had no idea that change was in the air: change that meant Family Mass would need to move into the church.
We therefore now find ourselves in the process of integrating elements of our Family Mass into the established 9.30 Mass:
- Children and families welcoming everyone to Mass.
- Children leading the entry procession. Children and/or their parents reading regularly, as the rotas merge.
- Writing prayers or prayer intentions to add to our prayer books which are taken to the priest or deacon during the bidding prayers.
- Making each bidding prayer our own, by singing a response.
- Families taking the bread and wine to the altar.
- Bringing small items of food or toiletries to give to the Living Well foodbank which the children take up in the offertory procession.
- Singing the ‘Echo’ Our Father.
We would like to invite everyone to join us in…
Welcoming everyone to Mass, especially all families and those new to the Parish.
Preparing for Mass at home by writing a prayer or special intention on a Post-It note to add to our prayer books when you arrive.
Bringing small donations for the foodbank each week. The children will be pleased to take them to the altar on your behalf.
To families with young children…
Please come and sit in the benches nearest to the altar so that the children can see what is going on without having their view blocked by adults; it will also be easier to involve children during Mass, e.g. during the homily.
Please do not worry if your child makes a noise sometimes; you are all welcome and no-one is going to glare at you!
Please feel free to go into the Lady Chapel if you feel that your child is becoming very unsettled; from there you will still be able to hear and participate.
Please use the area at the back of the church labelled Buggy Park for your buggies if they are not needed during Mass.
Please encourage your child to develop their understanding of the Mass and their ability to engage, by guiding them through an age-appropriate missal; a range of resources to support this is available in the church shop.
Share other ideas with me (Ann Higgs) or one of the Family Mass Team – Laura, Rachel, Anna, Daniel, Diana, Natasha – about how we can develop this Mass further.