Play Mass

I occasionally receive note from parents whose children are interested in "playing Mass". 

This note came from a reader with photos.

Father Z.,

Sometimes I notice that you put up snippets and photos about children pretending to celebrate Mass.  My son, who is 9, also likes to "celebrate Mass," but lately his attention has gone to setting up his Playmobil figures in the liturgy.

He did all this on his own, and without prompting from his parents: sewed the brown habits and green chasuble, made the little Missal and chant book, added the yellow flowers from the garden, and put the St. Benedict statue there.  Intriguingly, although 90% of the liturgies he attends are versus populum, he knows to set up Mass ad orientem, put the crucifix on the altar, and the tabernacle in the center.  He added the beards to the server and the schola master for authenticity, I think.  Obviously some things had to be improvised, like the beer barrel that supports one of the candelabra, or the little idol on the side that is supposed to represent a saint.

I was so charmed when I came home one day to find this set up that I had to take some photos of it.  Sorry they’re not the greatest photos but they still show it well.

Kudos to the kid!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Laurinda1230 says:

    I want to have kids like this!

  2. ckdexterhaven says:

    What a sweet picture. I wonder if the “Lego guy” is a viking in real life? One small quibble with the child, there’s no RED in the priest’s book. j/k

  3. Bryan says:

    We should all encourage our sons to imagine as such.

    My parents did, way back in the bad old pre-NO 60s. Hamper for an altar, bath towels all arranged properly for vestments, brass candlesticks, etc.

    How many vocations were encouraged by such healthy ‘play’ acting?

  4. TJM says:

    Ex ore infantium! Deo Gratias. Tom

  5. ejcmartin says:

    My seven year-old son is going to love this!

    Tomorrow is going to be a busy day. I know a similar project will be in the works. On top of that he has his first training session to be a server at the TLM!

  6. Trad Tom says:

    I “played Mass” as a kid, back in the (bad ol’ pre-VII) 1950s. There was even a girl from the next block who was the “nun” in the first pew, always giving the correct responses. She actually did grow up to become a teaching sister. I should have become a priest.

  7. Vilallonga says:

    I want to be a kid again to do that!

  8. Jenny says:

    My daughter plays priest sometimes. I’m not really sure what to think about it. I don’t want to discourage her interest in Mass, and she doesn’t really know the difference between girls and boys yet. She also will “marry” her little sister; they take turns being the boy. So if you tell her that only boys can be priests, she will declare that she is a boy for right now and carry on. Of course she sounds more like a Baptist revival preacher than a priest, “Okay, people. Listen to me! Everybody stop talking. Today we are going to learn about the Word of the Lord! And the state of the planet! Okay! Listen!” That’s her regular sermon. She is only three, so I’m not too concerned. She lives in a gray area between reality and fantasy.

  9. Craig says:

    Neat! If the Priesthood isn’t his calling, perhaps Church architecture.

  10. JennyZ says:

    Oh, I hope and pray my kid is like this.

  11. Girgadis says:

    What a fantastic little boy. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  12. Agnes says:

    I love this.

    My son donned a superman cape when he was 4, played Mass with a kit we had, and distributed nilla wafers to the family… them were the days!

  13. Scott W. says:

    It’s funny when the pretend celebrant will distribute pretend communion and deny it to a sibling he has a beef with.

  14. medievalist says:

    The child attends mostly versus populum Masses but still sets up his altar ad orientem? Clearly, this family should be offered a massive salary to run all catechesis in their parish.

  15. The child attends mostly versus populum Masses but still sets up his altar ad orientem?

    Just shows that some things about the liturgy, even a child can understand. Or perhaps especially a child, without the baggage that so many adults carry.

  16. Genevieve says:

    As glad as I am for the Year of Priests, I wonder if having a Year for Family or a Year of Ecclesia Domestica followed by a Year for Priests would have better stimulated the response to vocations. Clearly family life that encourages “play priesthood” is where listening for the calling begins.

  17. Fr. A.M. says:

    – Henry Edwards

    ‘The child attends mostly versus populum Masses but still sets up his altar ad orientem?’

    How true that appears to be. I did the same when I was a kid !

  18. irishgirl says:

    This is so cute!

    ‘Out of the mouths of babes’, indeed!

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