Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Playing Mass"

A friend recently posted a link from this blog entitled "How to Make an Inexpensive, Homemade Mass Kit for your Kids." My initial reaction was discomfort. On reflection and some discussion with people, I came to this thought:

If children want to do pretend baptisms, liturgical services, etc. that's wonderful and a very natural thing to do (my children have done it as I expect have many others). It's when we purchase things or prepare them to mimic holy things (spray painting things or putting crosses on them) that I have concerns. The diskos can easily become a peanut butter sandwich plate or frisbee, the chalice can hold cheerios, etc. I'm sure the immediate response some parents will have is "This just needs supervision," but my experience as a parent has been one where successful sequestration of toys has been spotty. All toys end up in the bathroom eventually. What is the freak-out level of these purpose-built toys in there?

If you want to open up the idea of the priesthood/monasticism to your child, the domestic church offers lots of other possibilities (making prosphora and other festal foods) as does the parish itself (prompting them to be altar servers, preparing flowers for feast days, or singing in the choir).



  1. Agreed. These play things are too close in appearance to genuinely sacred vessels for comfort. Your suggestions are spot on.

  2. I think the example of St. Athansius' baptism of a friend while "playing" baptism as a child shows that there's no such thing as simply "playing" when it comes to the sacraments. There's also the story from the Lives of the Saints of the youths who try to "play" the Holy Eucharist on a stone altar, fire comes down and consumes the "offering" knocking the boys backwards. If I remember correctly, the local clergy steps in and sends some of the boys off to the monastery. I can't remember exactly where this story is found, but remember reading it several times.

    I think the "play censer" is one of the few "safe" Church related items. Ultimately, we see that there's nothing truly "safe" about playing the priest, both in reality, and in fantasy.

  3. it was very common in old days (back when tridentine rite was the standard) for kids to play mass, it doesnt bother me

    little kids baptizing each other however does lol

  4. Much harm comes from the elevation of thrift as a virtue. In the life of the church, it is always a disaster.