- Picture 1 giving an example of contents: Toy lamb (Lamb of God),chewable rosaries,holographic picture cards,chunky holding cross, cards with medals. These are not all from one bag, but meant to illustrate contents.
- Picture 2 shows different Mass books suitable for different ages.
- Picture 3, showing the bags themselves.
This is a
idea I had to help children in their participation and understanding of the Mass, by providing appropriate items in a colourful bag, for children to play with during Mass.
Unlike conventional toys, these items are designed to focus the child's attention on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, rather than distract them from it.
Our parish now has 21 of these bags, officially blessed during both Masses, for children to use.
Contents are arranged by age, with a different colour for each age group, so children can pick one best suited for them. Baby bags include a soft toy lamb (Jesus being the Lamb of God, of course), colourful rosaries, and board books, also a smooth wooden holding cross-although in practice, these turn out to produce a noisy clatter when inevitably hurled during Mass.
I am investigating getting crosses knitted for the future.
All bags regardless of age range, contain always a rosary, an age-appropriate Mass book and a crucifix.
Most of them have holy pictures of Our Lady and the saints. The holographic cards are particularly popular.
The bags, in my opinion have had the right effect. "Do we all have an angel watching us then", said one child, after looking at the guardian angel card in her bag.
Some children lay their cards out in a row on the pew:"Hey, I've got a picture of that lady!", they exclaim, after excitedly noticing the Our Lady statue matches one of their cards.
Another child counted how many crosses were in church, after looking at the one in the bag."That one's got Jesus on it, though"
The bags are drawstring ones from Ikea. It's a shame they didn't have purple and white ones, as they would have matched the liturgical seasons!
The bags themselves have play value. They are in a soft velvet, with a satin trim, and generally good for discovering items hidden in their depths.