...in vast quantities, at a suburban Family Mass, off my usual beat. Today J. and I were due to visit some friends, clashing with my normal late-morning Mass, so I found an alternative. Golly, what a packed Mass! Squeezed in near the back. Quantities and quantities of children...and then, just before the Offertory, more and more poured in, trotting quietly up the aisles to join parents and siblings, having been busy at their own instruction-classes during the Liturgy of the Word...
They mostly seemed remarkably well-behaved, except for one boy immediately in front of me, who seemed intent on being as disruptive as possible and encouraging his companion to do likewise, within the constraints of the crowded pew and the general reverent atmosphere. When the Consecrtion was about to happen, and he was having a busy time removing his sneakers and pushing his friend about, I grabbed him by the back of his hoodie and whispered savagely:"It's the Consecration. Kneel and pray!" And to my surprise, he did, or at least went through the motions of doing so. With one shoe off and one on.
There was music, beautifully played - even a violin - but it included a couple of hymns with awfully trite tunes, and a too-jazzy Gloria...there is so much beautiful, beautiful music from which to choose...we surely don't need to keep on flogging those tunes from the late 1970s?
One thing which was noticeable, however, was the very reverent way in which the children went up for Holy Communion, and the smaller ones for a blessing, arms crossed in front. They had obviously been told about this and were following an established parish tradition. That, plus the glittering candles and the incense, would impress this Mass on a child's mind, week by week. I can see why the numbers attending are high.