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Saturday, 5 March 2011

Old Mass for primary school children in West Heath

School Mass

The LMS Birmingham and Black Country reports on a Mass celebrated according to the usus antiquior for St John Fisher Primary School at West Heath, Birmingham last Thursday. The parish priest, Fr George Grynowski said a Votive Low Mass for the Blessed Sacrament for the school children aged 8-11. Fr Grynowski described how the Mass came about:
The Mass started out as a casual comment from myself to Melanie Bullivant. I said something like "wouldn't it be great if the school had the opportunity of experiencing the Extraordinary Form so that they can appreciate something about the richness of the Church's traditional liturgy, which is after all part of their heritage". This would have been as recently as about December last year. I didn't expect much to come from it, certainly not in the immediate future. Melanie mentioned it to the headteacher, and to my great joy I was told that she was quite happy for one of the regular scheduled school Masses to be in the Extraordinary Form. We decided on today, 3 March, to give time to prepare for it.
In his parish newsletter the previous Sunday, Father wrote:
School Mass: will be in Church on Thursday, and will be different from usual. As part of their education in their Catholic heritage the children will be experiencing the traditional form Latin Mass. They will be taking an active part with hymns and a scripture reading and presenting an explanatory commentary on what is happening. It is important that all Catholics (and especially children) are aware of their heritage and the diversity which exists in the Church. All are welcome. Later in the year they will be visiting places associated with other Christian groups and other religions. These experiences help to promote understanding and prevent prejudice and bigotry, which can exist even among people who think of themselves as liberal or progressive in their thought. (St John Fisher Parish Newsletter 27 February 2011)
That is a good point to make. Children are accustomed nowadays to visiting all sorts of places of worship and experiencing many different things. It is not really a "progressive" attitude to deny them access to their own heritage simply because they may not be used to it.
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