Un bell'articolo sulla religiosità dei bambini.
Children with time and space to explore spirituality
By Tara Holmes
WHEN I was growing up in the 1970s there was no such thing as children’s liturgy. My role was to keep
quiet in church so that adults could pray. Sitting still for long periods of time was never my strong point. I
remember being particularly restless and bored during the homily. Even after I made my first Holy Communion
at the age of seven, there was little in the way of follow-up until confirmation classes began some years
Although the Roman Catholic Church published a directory on Children’s Masses in 1973, it took another
20 years or so for any real change. By then, most children of my generation had lost interest in their faith.
Now, nearly three decades later, the tide is changing. Most Catholic parishes offer weekly children’s liturgy
sessions during Sunday Mass. Children will typically leave the church after the opening hymn and gather
together in a separate place for a simple act of worship overseen by an adult, returning to church for the
preparation of the gifts.
As a parent of two small children, I have found myself increasingly supportive of the role played by children’s
liturgy in the Mass. For my eldest daughter, who began attending shortly before she turned three, the
experience has gone hand in hand with the first signs of spiritual awakening and numerous spontaneous acts
One Sunday she entertained the congregation at our small village church by using her Thomas the Tank
Engine book as a hymn sheet. No doubt some people would frown upon the idea of singing “Henry is a green
engine, Thomas and Gordon are blue engines” to the tune of Cardinal John Henry Newman’s Lead Kindly
Light but my gut feeling was that God would not be frowning with them.
My daughter’s enthusiasm has now spilt beyond the church doors to places where she most likes to play.
Trips to the playground always include a prayer in front of the war memorial statue in our local park. She insists
that the statue is Jesus and stands beside it reciting some simple prayers.
The process is then repeated at every park bench. On one occasion, she found a flower next to the “Jesus”
statue and gave it to my husband, saying: “Here is a flower for you from Jesus.”
Bernadette Farrell, a Roman Catholic liturgist and composer, believes that children are in a league of their
own when they are given the freedom to worship on their own level. “Children have an innate spiritual ability
and a profound sense of connectedness and awareness that crosses all barriers,” she says. “As
parents and people working in the Church, we need to give them the simple vocabulary they need. We need to
tell them the Scriptures in everyday simple words and listen to what God is saying to them.
“We come from a culture where our experience of learning is in the classroom. As teachers, we are
imparting knowledge to children. The danger is that we can crush their natural spirituality if we don’t give them
the scope to express it.
“I think church is one place in society where children can actually be listened to and where their insights are
valid. They can often do things through spirituality that are beyond their years. It becomes all the more
important not to crush this.”
She adds: “There’s a whole new awareness of children’s spirituality sweeping across all of the faith
traditions. In some ways, Catholics have been leading the way ever since the Second Vatican Council. The
council has blown a wind of change through all the different traditions.”
Continua su Times on line