What is Messy Mass?
The idea of a Messy Mass emerged from a programme that has recently become popular in some Anglican circles called Messy Church. Coming from the catholic spectrum of the Anglican tradition we liked the idea of presenting a traditional liturgy in a more relaxed format. The Eucharist is central to the spirituality of many Anglicans and we would like to honour that and the importance of making the mysteries of the Eucharist more accessible. As catholic Anglicans we have a duty to pass on the tenets of our beliefs to younger generations and we believe that “Messy Mass” is one way we can do this.
As the term suggests “Messy Mass” is allowed to be, well, messy. The service, while following the basic structure of the Second Order of Holy Communion as it is found in A Prayer Book for Australia, has been simplified so that the service may be completed within an hour. The Eucharist is celebrated in a more informal setting where children are actively involved in a liturgical narrative whose aim is to explain “what we do and why we do it.”
The structure of the service revolves around several different prayer stations, to which the congregation are invited to move, which correspond with the basic parts of the Mass, namely, the gathering, the blessing, the confession and absolution, the Gloria, the Eucharist and the dismissal. Symbols that encapsulate the meaning of these parts of the Mass are employed at each of the stations.
There is a children’s talk with an accompanying activity, which the children complete during the sermon. It is ideal that both the reading for the day and the Intercessions are read by any older children present who are also encouraged to help supervise the younger children at their activity.
The Eucharist is fully interactive with children helping to set the small purpose-built altar and serve for the priest. The children will also be responsible for the ablutions along with the priest. It is hoped that Messy Mass will provide a friendly forum for greater involvement of both children and adults in the Mass.
Some Photos from Messy Mass servies at St Luke’s and St Christopher’s