“Rejoice, Father; they are paying attention!”

You know the old phrase in commercials… "Do not attempt this at home!"

Here is an exception to the rule.

From a reader:

Another fun photo! 

This is what our 8-yr-old decided to make today after serving his first two Traditional Latin Masses this week.
Note that the “hosts”–made of flour and water and cooked lightly in a frying pan–were clearly imprinted with the raised writing from the bottom of the salt shaker.  The words?  “Made in Taiwan.”   ( ! )  [ROFL! Not exactly "IHS" or "ALLELUIA", but the theory is good.]
He asked only my permission for the ingredients and to use the stove this morning. Everything else was done on his own initiative and per the recipe told to him last summer by the priest who turned us on to your website.  
Then, out came the children’s miniature brass Mass kit that has never failed to interest boys 
[Here is the point…] Rejoice, Father; they are paying attention!  The leaven is working! [well… not in those hosts!]  The Extraordinary Form of the Mass is the best thing to come along since, well . . . Hosts! 
God richly bless the Holy Father for releasing the EF and all the bishops and priests who make it possible.

A great e-mail!  Thanks for that!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, Just Too Cool, Lighter fare. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Flambeaux says:

    Our oldest received one of those Mass kits for Easter this year. He asks me daily to teach him more of celebrating the Mass. Finally, my Liturgy Geek studies are paying off.

    He wants to learn it in English (Anglican Use) and in Latin (EF).

    He’s asked to start with Low Mass “until [his] brothers are old enough to help out as servers.”


  2. mrsmontoya says:

    How wonderful! What a lovely thing to read, and to have sent to you. Priests are wonderful, your light brightens lives around the world, may you always be strong in your vocation.

  3. Far better than G.I. Joe!!!

  4. Maggie says:

    that’s beautiful! I wouldn’t be surprised if this lad felt a call to the priesthood in a decade or two. or, was called to marriage and raised awesome sons who themselves were called to priesthood.

    Wonderful news! Thanks for sharing such a great story.

  5. Laura Lowder says:

    How absolutely lovely! I had to tell a couple of customers what I’ve been laughing at – thanks so much, both to the mom who sent it and to you, Father Z, for sharing it with us!

  6. Tominellay says:

    …reminding me of the “Masses” I celebrated as an eight-year-old…my hosts were made of pressed Weber’s bread…

  7. Tim Ferguson says:

    We used to use Necco wafer candy as hosts.

    When my home parish started using “substantial” bread at Mass back in the 70’s, I remember experimenting at home with graham crackers, but it was way too crumbly, and went back to Necco.

  8. Bryan says:

    I can remember ‘celebrating’ Mass when I was a youngster…now that brings back fond memories.

    How many parents (somehow I missed that part…but that’s ok) encourage their sons to do the same. Mine did.

    It is through emulating people we respect that we can come to appreciate the beauty of their chosen vocation. I’m wondering, with the wide contraceptive mentality that has decimated our formerly large Catholic families, how many vocations we’ve lost because there weren’t enough ‘sons’ to go around, and the stress to ‘make something of your life’ mentality (as if service to God and His Church is not ‘making something’ greater than being a Wall St. tycoon).

    I would have loved to have something like this; I had to make do with a gold wine glass, saucer, and a couple of crystal candlesticks (but still (!) have the crucifix I used…).

    Thanks for publishing the letter!

  9. Paul Haley says:

    God bless this youngster. The story shows how young minds can be influenced by a ceremony conducted with utmost reverence and respect…something truly out of this world. It also shows why the traditional practice of the church before the changes was to allow only boys as servers – so that they might possibly be influenced towards a vocation to the priesthood or religious life – and God knows how we need vocations in this day and age. How inspiring a post!

  10. Robin says:

    I would LOVE to get the recipe for these hosts. We’ve tried in the past to make our own for play, but they end up horribly hard and tough. Can the reader please share the recipe?! Thanks!

  11. Daniel says:

    That is quite an ingenious boy!

    My 2 year old son’s favorite hobby is playing Mass. He is currently content to use anything laying around the house for communion wafers – wood blocks, large plastic legos, etc…but he is very particular about the altar setup and other accoutrements. He has a chalice (plastic cup painted gold), censer (2 plastic cups taped together painted silver), taper candles, paten (metal lid from a large candle), chalice veil (red napkin) and a chasuble (piece of throw-away material with hole cut in the center). He also has 2 “altar cards”, which are really the Our Father and Creed texts in small frames. He is VERY reverent when he plays Mass, and he actually arranged everything himself (excluding the censer…before he just made the arm motions) and makes certain to vest the chalice very carefully. At first my wife and I were speechless about the precision (1 candle & 1 altar card on either side of the altar, children’s missal in the middle, vested chalice, etc…). The only item he is missing is a processional crucifix, but he makes do with anything large and mostly straight (broom handles, large wooden blocks, toy shovels, etc…). He loves to do processions (especially after Candlemas and Palm Sunday), so for about an hour straight at least 3 times a week, my family processes from one room to the other singing hymns/chants, carrying candles or missals and genuflecting whenever we arrive at the “altar.”

    I am impressed with how observant he is when he plays Mass – I think he notices things that many adult observers to a traditional Mass might not, such as vesting the chalice. He still genuflects on the wrong knee (we are working on that), but he is certain to genuflect each time he arrives at the altar and kisses the altar. For any person that thinks the traditional Mass is “too hard” or that “kids won’t get it,” I invite them to my house to take part in one of my son’s Masses/processions so that he may prove just how well he “gets it.” While I have no idea what his future holds, I can definitely say that he loves God…and ENJOYS doing so.

    (And, yes, my son is a normal 2 year old that loves GI Joes, tractors, trucks, motorcycles, playing in the dirt, playing with and/or hitting his little 6 month old brother, etc..)

  12. Rachel says:

    Awwww Daniel that is so precious. God bless your son and your family!

  13. Latekate says:

    Thanks for sharing that. The link to the site where the Mass kits are sold is terrific, too. I will link to it on some homeschooling sites.

  14. Genevieve says:

    I wonder what the mother of my godson would do if I bought the Mini Mass Kit for him. I don’t think it’s ever entered their minds to take their kiddos to an EF Mass. Has anyone noted kids “playing Mass” in the style of NO?

  15. Tyler says:

    Ah, this gives me great hope for the generations coming after my own(who are at the age of making decisions and entering seminary). Good to know there will be solid priest to form when I’m a cranky old man :P

  16. q7swallows says:

    The Host Recipe

    The recipe is pretty simple and makes about seven 1” (2.2 cm) diameter hosts in about 30 minutes. Can double/triple.

    1/4 cup [4 Tablespoons] (56 g) flour
    +/- 3 teaspoons ( 15 ml) water

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees F / 150 C (medium-hot). We did the ones in the photo in an ungreased frying pan on the stove, so that’s an option too.

    Knead flour and water lightly together into a pliable dough that’s not sticky, adding flour or water as necessary. Roll the dough as paper thin flat as possible with rolling pin or glass bottle and cut out circles with something like a child’s cough medicine dispenser cup. Thinner is harder to handle but has nicer, not-so-chewy results.

    Add flour discs to ungreased cookie sheet, impress with a design if you wish, and bake for 10 minutes.

    Turn gently with a pancake turner/spatula and cook for 10 more minutes until discs are dry & crisp-looking. They may puff a little. You’re aiming for thoroughly dried but not golden. Kids will not be picky about the results—especially if they make them themselves. Ours were 1/8” (3 mm) thick, very primitive, and had a significant chew but the children were thrilled (and that’s a key point).

    Cool and use within a few days – IF you can keep them longer than a day. If you have improvements to this recipe, please post them here!

    A friend suggested trying phyllo dough (the refrigerated dough sheets used for making baklava) and just start at the cutting out stage.

    In a pinch, use round Ritz/ crackers or water crackers with the Mass kit.

    — After they’ve mastered host-making, for an extended exercise a la Montessori, have the children plant their own wheat, grow it, harvest it, and then prepare hosts from it.

    — And of course, periodically, there has to be a brass cleaning exercise day where the children clean all the brass implements. Sacristy-care 101!

    And yes, the Mass kit appeals to children in the Novus Ordo too. Our older boys used it when we were still there and in Byzantine rite and now one is MC-ing in the EF.

  17. liebemama says:

    Yes, Genevieve, I know of many families whose children play N.O. Mass with the mentioned Mass Kit. Our Godson in Germany just received this same kit this Christmas. It is a huge help for family catechism, even with a family like ours of 4 daughters.

  18. Banjo pickin' girl says:

    Thank you everybody for your wonderful comments. I am a convert and comments like these give me some insight into what it is like to be in a faithful Catholic family. These boys are GREAT!

  19. cuaguy says:

    I remember playing mass when I was younger- it was OF of the Mass.

  20. q7swallows says:

    Not to downplay people’s nice comments, but this is not ingenious or extraordinary behavior – especially for children who have taken part in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program (http://www.cgsusa.org/atriums.php) developed by Maria Montessori and her collaborators. I know of all kinds of children all over the country who do these very kinds of things. Once you see the materials and see the presentations in action, it will blow you away.

    I strongly — strongly — recommend this catechesis, especially for those interested in bringing children (starting as young as 3!) to a deep-rooted appreciation of the EF (for which the method was originally developed!). But it serves to invite children of *all* the various liturgical forms and rites to the contemplation of the Lord in a way uniquely suited to the way children absorb information best: 3-dimensionally, through their senses, in an atmosphere of quiet order and beauty.

Comments are closed.