Parishes to take turns hosting Masses geared toward younger audience, including kid-friendly homilies and shorter liturgies
DETROIT — In one of the most oft-quoted moments in Scripture, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me” (Matthew 19:14).
During the coronavirus pandemic, the Archdiocese of Detroit is partnering with parishes across southeast Michigan to make sure the children do, indeed, continue to flock to Jesus.
For the remainder of the Easter season, at least one parish in the archdiocese will host a livestream children’s Mass each weekend, available through the host parish’s platform of choice. The archdiocese will maintain a schedule and links for the children’s Masses, available at aod.org/livemasses.
The archdiocese's Family Evangelization Team launched the effort after hearing from parents that a Mass geared toward children would prove helpful as families hunker down amidst Michigan’s shelter-in-place order.
The first of these Masses was held April 26 at the Church of the Divine Child in Dearborn. Each week, a different parish will host a children’s Mass, including St. Michael the Archangel in Monroe on Mother’s Day, May 10, and Guardian Angels in Clawson on Memorial Day, May 25.
Tara Stenger, a family evangelization coordinator for the archdiocese, said parishes hosting a children’s Mass are asked to celebrate the liturgy with children’s needs in mind.
“There are three things that we are asking them to do to make it family-friendly: a little shorter, family-friendly music and a homily geared toward the kids,” Stenger told Detroit Catholic.
Stenger said that, if possible, participating parishes are asked to keep Mass under 45 minutes and to help engage children in the music.
“We ask that they make the music family-friendly, whether it is easier to sing along with or a little more upbeat,” Stenger said. “At Divine Child, they made sure they had the worship aid available online and that they had the words (to songs) scrolling on their screen.”
Ultimately, how a parish chooses to make the music family-friendly is up to them and dependent on the technology and resources they have available, Stenger said.
Stenger said families looking for more resources can check out the archdiocese’s 52 Sundays initiative, which offers weekly activities for families to do together.
Stenger said it’s important for children to feel included in the Church, especially when attending Mass in person isn’t an option.
“This is an awesome opportunity because we are building the ‘domestic church,’ just like the archbishop calls for in his guideposts,” Stenger said. “This is just another way for us to help build the younger generation. It is giving them a chance to engage and see that Mass is important and that it matters to them.”
Despite the emphasis on a younger audience, Stenger believes adults can get just as much out of the children’s Masses as their kids.
“The priests are really good at speaking to both audiences watching even if they are talking directly to one,” Stenger said. “We are excited to see how it unfolds and hope it meets the needs of families.”
Find a children’s Mass
To find the children’s Mass schedule, visit aod.org/livemasses and click on the Children’s Mass Schedule. Because of the traveling nature of the Mass, the Mass times will vary, but recordings will be made available.