During our early days at Teach Bhríde, Father James took me and Ben into Scoil Mhuire to introduce us to the staff and some of the students. We were immediately excited to begin working with the passionate teachers and students. One of the many things Teach Bhríde is able to do in the schools of the parish is work with the 4th and 5th Class (or, ‘grade’, for our American friends) students to plan, teach, and celebrate a Mass just for their class. Ben and I selected the theme, readings, and music, and last week we began visiting the classrooms to review things learned last year and teach some new music.
Each class gets its own Mass to lead within the main church at Clonard. We start going in to the classrooms a few weeks before the date to begin planning and rehearsing with the students. Although they were hesitant with the unfamiliar music, they really lit up when we began to brainstorm things for the Mass that would be unique to their class. Together they thought of a list of ‘gifts’ to bring to the altar before Mass that represent the class and their prayers. They collectively decided things to pray for during the Prayer of the Faithful. A majority of the class also volunteered to read or bring forward gifts at Mass. It was beautiful to see them so enthusiastic about participating. It was clear they appreciated the Mass being specially tailored for them. Seeing their artwork on display and praying for the things they believe are important will help them immerse themselves in the liturgy.
Ben and I both have experience working with high school students, so working with these younger children has been a bit of a challenge. But it has been exciting and rewarding so far! We feel blessed to be working directly with these kids that are in the ages between First Communion and Confirmation. God continues to call these children, and now is the time to encourage them to listen and be present.
This was the first of many Class Masses for both Scoil Mhuire and Kennedy Park. We look forward to seeing smiling children filling our pews throughout the year!