Two liturgies of the word and two dismissals? What’s best for child catechumens?

2 thoughts on “Two liturgies of the word and two dismissals? What’s best for child catechumens?”

  1. Hi Rita. Terrific post! You really did a nice job of exploring all the options.

    One point I would add is that the Directory for Masses with Children envisions children’s liturgy of the word as a “sometimes” activity and only if the place in which it happens is appropriate for the celebration of a liturgy, “including a homily.” And I would add, music and environment. Children’s liturgy of the word is almost always done in a classroom. There is no signing and no homily. Also, dismissing baptized children, for whatever reason, fractures the unity of the Sunday assembly.

    So I would suggest children not be dismissed for their own word service on Sunday except on rare occasions.

    The other point I would make is that if a parish does go with the Monica’s compromise, I would not have the presider distinguish the catechumens at that point since they are not actually being dismissed from the liturgy. I would have the catechumens later formally dismissed from the children’s liturgy of the word. They are still being dismissed from the Sunday assembly, in a sense. But it is a compromise. The larger assembly does not experience all the benefits you list.

    Once the baptized children return, the presider or an RCIA team member could note that some of the children have not returned and that they have been formally dismissed from the liturgy.

  2. Rita Burns Senseman

    Good idea, Nick. Yes, I have heard of parishes where the presider for children’s liturgy of the word dismisses the catechumens. Good compromise.
    I would like to add this thought. In my experience, I prefer that the child catechumens stay with the main assembly, even if there is a children’s liturgy of the word. The reason is this: then ALL the child catechumens and ALL their parents, and me(the leader of the dismissal session)ALL hear the same proclamation and the same homily.
    Sometimes, when the older children stay in the assembly and the younger children go to the children’s liturgy of the word, they hear different homilies and receive different messages. So, as the leader and guide, I find more continuity and cohesiveness when we are all together. But, maybe that just makes it easier for me? There would certainly be ways to make adaptations.

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