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Archive for category Children

On liturgical failure

Today, while the community was being asked to extend to one another its gesture of peace, two were instead being asked to leave. That is liturgical failure.

How Does Pope Francis Baptize?

An account of a baptism by Pope Francis, recently published in America magazine, contains some puzzling features. Here’s a fact check.

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Children’s Choir Director: World Meeting of Families Offers Chance to See “A Side of the Church People Do Not Get to See”

Elizabeth Folger and Michael Zubert served as assistant directors of of the Archdiocesan children’s choir under John Romeri. After Romeri’s resignation, Folger and Zubert found themselves in the role of directors of the children’s choir just in time for the World Meeting of Families and Papal Mass.

Preaching as an ecclesial response to the gospel

“Preaching is about naming and claiming God’s love present in the room. It’s about that Holy Spirit that isn’t given to the preacher and then transmitted to the people: that Spirit is in each one there and they communicate back and forth. Churches that have call-and-response to the preaching moment get this phenomenon, and to them,crying babies are just another ‘amen’ section” (from

“The world’s smallest priest”

Liturgy in Lego blocks

Whither Confirmation?

The “age of confirmation” in the dioceses of the United States at present is 7 to 16. This isn’t a coherent vision.

The Celebration of First Communion

That good liturgy is the best form of catechesis is simply a subset of the larger claim that all liturgies catechize.  I invite readers to post their own thoughts about the catechesis (good or bad) that they have experienced in liturgy (whether the Mass or another form of worship).

History of infant communion, part 2: Medieval and modern periods (500-2015 AD)

In the early middle ages, infants received the blood of Christ from the chalice, while older children and adults received communion under both species. In the later middle ages, lay Christians received very infrequently and never from the chalice, which meant that infants could no longer be communed at their baptism. When lay communion was encouraged in the late 19th and early 20th century, first communion was moved from age 12 to age 7 by Pope Pius X. His arguments about the importance of communion for young children are still moving, and can be applied to children even younger than seven.

History of infant communion, part 1: Early church (30-500 AD)

Christians initiated infants by at least the late 2nd century (180s), and until the late Middle Ages (after 1000, but probably more like 1200), all newly baptized Christians were communed, regardless of age. Infant communion was lost because lay communion was lost, but when lay communion was restored in the 19th and 20th centuries, infant communion was not restored with it. In this first post, I’ll be focusing on the evidence for infant communion and the early church context.

Baptismal anniversaries and sacramental reflection, an interlude

Celebrating baptismal anniversaries puts each child’s baptism on the calendar, and that’s central, I think. It provides a structure for periodically returning to the font. Sacramental reflection lets children, in a way befitting their development and personality, find their baptism meaningful as a foundation for who they are – and it could do the same for infant confirmation and communion.