It’s the first Sunday of Lent, and I just realized I appropriately wore purple (albeit, very pale purple). Dumb luck for the win!
Speaking of dumb luck, it came to our rescue during Mass today. We’ve been using the diaper bag as a Mass books/activities bag for a while now and we just keep it in the car in the meantime. It also has diapers and things in it as well, but we never ever have to use it as a diaper bag because this kid never goes when we’re out of the house. I’m telling you, it never happens. But it happened today! I was so shocked when that tell-tale look came over SK’s face during the prayer of the faithful! And then I remembered: time change. Her little body thought it was an hour earlier, and we’re always at home at 8 am, so according to her internal clock it was go time. Yuck! But like I said, dumb luck came to our rescue and we were prepared like
good normal parents.
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Yesterday I headed over to church in the afternoon because my second grade CCD students were going to have a tour. My DRE was the one giving the tour so I was just there for crowd control, but I was more than happy to tag along. In fact, the whole time I was thinking “Why don’t they do tours for the adults as well?” Now, St. Theresa of Avila in West Roxbury MA is an especially gorgeous church. And I’m not saying that in a haughty “my church is more gorgeous than your church” way. Having grown up in an area where many of the traditional older churches were leveled or abandoned for more modern (ok, ugly) barn-like structures, I know it’s the exception and not the rule to have beautiful parish churches. Unfortunately. But, every Catholic church has certain features that must be there (like the tabernacle and the altar) so there’s always material for instruction.
It struck me when my DRE was teaching the kids how to genuflect and why we genuflect, that this would be a good refresher for all the parishoners!
I assume most parishoners, like myself, don’t have time on Sunday to wander around and actually look at each stained glass window. Not all stained glass windows are as intricate as the ones in St. Theresa’s maybe, but they are all meant to be catechetical.
It was really neat for the kids to get to go into the sacristy to see all the vestments and candles and the crucifix for the procession. One of the things that they found really interesting (and I thought adults should know about as well) was how there was a special place for the chalice and ciboria to be cleaned that was separate from the sink where everything else was cleaned.
They had the cutest questions about it all. One little girl asked “where are the angel’s robes?”. That stumped my DRE but then I asked, “Do you mean the kids who are altar servers who help Monsignor during Mass?” and she shook her head yes. My DRE explained that when they’re in fourth grade, they could be altar servers if they wanted and they could help at Mass. One of my students, a really smart little red headed boy, looked very serious and asked “If I want to be an altar server when I’m in fourth grade, does that mean I can’t get married?” Ah, I had to try really hard not to laugh; it was a valid concern in his little head!
Anyway, I share all this to just raise the question of whether church tours should be something that happens at every parish and not just for kids. I don’t know if it’s practical or if I’m being naive, it just struck me as such a teaching opportunity in this day and age when most church going Catholic adults don’t know some of the most basic and profound truths of our faith. A lot of it can simply be found within the building and in the artwork and function of the church itself! What do you think?
Thank you to the lovely ladies at FL&P for hosting! 🙂