Dismissing children at Mass

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Forgive me if you’ve answered this previously. How should I send the children to their liturgy in the hall? At present, so as not to disrupt the Mass, I have them join in behind me at the procession and as I walk up to the Altar I hand the book over and then carry on as normal. It feels cumbersome and I don’t like them going before the collect but everything else seems disruptive. Please help?


A: The Directory for Masses with Children allows children to join the entrance procession (34). They may be dismissed for their own Liturgy of the Word after the introductory rites (17), which means after the collect.

In my book Let Us Pray, I note the following: “The documents do not say who dis­misses the children. A deacon gives the dismissal at the end of Mass, so he could appropriately direct the movement of children here. The catechist who will lead the children’s Liturgy of the Word might personally invite them. The priest could extend the invitation. Or in communities where this option is regularly featured, no announcement may be necessary at all. Normally, though, someone will deliver a cheerful invitation. Some communities sing a refrain or hear instrumental music as the children leave, but the documents are silent on this practice. Out of respect for those who will give attention to the Scriptures, the departure of the chil­ dren should be complete before the Liturgy of the Word begins.”