One of the things that is a constant struggle with little kids is helping them be quiet and if they are able be attentive at Mass. Something that has worked for us so far is to just keep things simple. Since M and I have a missal for Mass (for both the Ordinary Form and the Traditional Latin Extraordinary form), we decided that each of our children should have their own personal missals appropriate for their age. The key to encouraging children to use hand missals is to use them yourself.
By small children, I mean children who are not yet reading or not yet reading enough to actually read along in a missal. I like these ones for their simplicity and pictures.
1) Ages 4-8: Marian Children’s Missal
While originally printed in 1958, Angelus Press has reprinted. We got our very old copy from some really sweet friends at our TLM parish in Buffalo, NY. What I love about it is the photographs of a priest celebrating Mass at the high altar. The photographs give your child a close up look at what is happening at the altar, to help familiarize her with the parts of the Mass without actually being in the sanctuary. Actual photographs are way more interesting than drawn illustrations, at least in my book.
My almost six year old uses this at both OF and EF liturgies. The great thing about children’s missals is that they focus on the key parts of the Mass which were maintained in the New Mass. This one has a lot more detail than the other ones that I am showing you today, so it is actually more appropriate for the EF Mass. This does not stop my daughter from using it at the daily OF Masses we attend.
The Marian Missal has a photograph and accompanying page with simplified prayers for: the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, the Introit and Kyrie, The Gloria, The Collect, The Epistle, The Gospel, The Credo, The Offertory (Host), Preparing the Chalice, The Offertory (Chalice), Washing of the Hands, Prayer to the Trinity, Orate Frates (Pray Brothers), Preface and Sanctus, Te Igitur, Prayer for the Living, Hanc Igitur, Blessing of the Offering, Consecration (Host), Elevation, Consecration (Wine), Elevation, Blessing Host and Chalice, Minor Elevation, Pater Noster (Our Father), Breaking the Host, Prayer for Peace, Prayers-Holy Communion, Domine non sum dignus (Lord I am not worthy), Priest receives Host, Priest receives Sacred Blood, Communion of the People, Communion and Post Communion prayers, Blessing, Last Gospel.
Following the photographs of the Mass are summaries and illustrations of the Gospels for Sundays and Holy Days.
Following that are the parts of the Mass in Latin and English. On each page of the photographed parts of the Mass are page numbers for the text of the Mass, so a child who is reading well could flip between them. (Our copy once had a ribbon, but a baby pulled it out):
I highly recommend this missal, and would probably purchase another once my four year old is a little older.
2) Ages 3-8: My See and Pray Missal
This little gem of a book is short and sweet. It is published by Tan and very reasonably priced. The only thing it has against it is that it is paperback and the bindings are stapled, so it is not really good for a destructive child. We once had a printing with red and black illustrations inside. It got left in church one day, and the one we have now is just black and white. The illustrations are reminiscent of the Baltimore catechism, but not as cool as the photographs in the Marian Missal.
The Missal based on the EF Mass, but this one more than the last is very usable for the OF Mass.
The book starts with guide to the altar, and a reminder to pray to Our Blessed Mother.
The headings of each page explaining the Mass pictured with brief prayers are: The Sign of the Cross, I Confess, Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Epistle, Gospel, The Sermon, Creed, Offertory, Washing of Hands, Sanctus, Get Ready, The Consecration (Host), The Consecration (Wine), Jesus is Here, Our Father, Agnus Dei, Jesus is Coming, Holy Communion, Thank You, O God, Last Blessing, Last Gospel.
It has the simple words SEE, HEAR, PRAY where it is appropriate, so a child does not have to be super literate to understand the prompts.
My four year old has been following this book with ease since she was about 3.5, and since she is a very active child it really helps for her to have something in her hands. I also love that the girl is pictured with a head covering, which you do not see in children’s missals featuring the OF Mass.
3) Ages 3 and under: We Go to Mass
|Our copy has seen a lot of Masses with toddlers.|
This is the best board book I have found for toddlers to follow the Mass. It is simple, straightforward, and the priest is young and reverent. That being said, if I were to make a board book missal for children I would use pictures like the Marian Missal, have the women and girls with head coverings (or at least some of them since that is fairly standard where we go to Mass), and the priest celebrating Ad Orientem (facing the tabernacle and crucifix).
This sweet little book, with a nice handle, has a page for the following parts of the Mass: Procession/Introit, Epistle, Gospel, Offertory, Sanctus, Eucharistic Prayer, Consecration of Host, Consecration of Wine, Minor Elevation, Our Father, Agnus Dei, Lord, I am not Worthy, Holy Communion, Closing Procession.
My two year old never follows the Mass in its entirety in this book, but she does like to see the pictures of Jesus and pretend to each the hosts. So, we get what we can in good behavior from her. One of my children at age three did use this book to follow short, daily Masses in their entirety. I like that it is simple straight-forward and durable.
So, there you have my top three missals for small children. I would love to hear of other great missal-like books for children. One last thought is that my five year old, when we attend the EF Mass often just grabs one of the red books provided by the church and uses that.