24 August 2018
World Meeting of Families

Furlong (Diocese of Elphin), “Before celebrating Mass with young children, let’s get ready first at home”

“The beauty of the liturgy and the family celebration of the liturgy consists in the fact that it is something that we can all do together, surrounded by other families, all in the same boat.” At the panel that the Pastoral Congress has dedicated to the relationship between liturgy and family, at the Dublin World Meeting which will end on Sunday, Colette Furlong, from the Irish diocese of Elphin, told about the experience of celebrating a “liturgy of the Word for children” in a parish. She recalls that, while the little ones were happy, the parents “complained about being separated from their children” in one of the few things they can do together: be united as a family during Holy Mass. “All Masses are Family Masses; every believer, every member of the faith community, from the smallest to the oldest, has a place in the Sacrifice of the Mass,” notes Furlong. However, the challenges facing parents who have to “restrain” young children at Mass can be difficult. What can be done? “As a family,” she replies, “we must prepare ourselves”—for example “by reading at least the Gospel in advance. This will help us to focus on the message of the Word and to be concentrated during the Sacrifice of the Mass. So, just as we prepare to transmit social norms, let’s do the same with Holy Mass: let’s prepare ourselves as a family at home.”