Teaching Children about the Mass: Roman Missal Changes Focus of Workshop

It’s a language all children understand: music. That’s why the Diocese of Orlando presented a workshop recently on using music to explain the celebration of Mass and the new Roman Missal which will be introduced later this month.

It’s a language all children understand: music. That’s why the Diocese of Orlando presented a workshop recently on using music to explain the celebration of Mass and the new Roman Missal which will be introduced later this month.

The keynote speaker John Burland is an internationally known educator and composer whose music has educated thousands of children worldwide, helping to form their faith. Burland and Dr. Jo Ann Paradise, a national consultant for Our Sunday Visitor, presented the workshop Nov. 9 at St. John Vianney Catholic School to help deepen children’s understanding of the Mass through scripture and the new translation of the Roman Missal.

The Diocese of Orlando is one of 20 U.S. dioceses in which Burland – who works in the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia – is visiting.  At each stop, Burland’s message is simple: to spotlight the liturgical changes and identify parts of the Mass that need the most explanation.

For example, Burland performed the song “Under the Roof,” which makes a connection to and teaches children the significance of Holy Communion. In the new Roman Missal, the phrase “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof,” replaces “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,” in a prayer during the Communion rite.

“It is a different approach,” Burland said. “By engaging children through song, taking the content and using repetition, we’re able to give catechists and teachers a vehicle for sharing that with the children. This has also reached out to families and adults, which has helped in their formation, and really been a bonus.”

Paradise presented material to help middle school children acknowledge and understand their sins. She discussed the process of admitting faults which leads to healing. Those examples, as well as a song “Through My Fault,” referred to the Penitential Act, in which we ask for forgiveness. In the new Roman Missal, the phrase, “Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault,” replaces, “In my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do.”

Dennis Johnson Jr., the senior director of faith formation at the Diocese of Orlando, said the workshop is an important tool during this time of transition. He hopes the information will be brought into our parishes and schools.

“When children are learning this in their religious education classes, they will become more familiar with the celebration of Mass,” Johnson said. “I am excited to see parishes embrace this and use it as a teaching tool.”

Attendants included parish catechistical leaders, or Directors of Religious Education; youth ministers; catechists; teachers and other school leaders; and Directors of Liturgy and Music.