Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

Catholic Activity: Religion in the Home for Elementary School: November



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This section for the month of November covers the following areas: Month of All Saints and of the Holy Souls in Purgatory Our Children and the Whole Church Pedagogy: Training by Doing The Mass The Missal The Missal And Mankind Virtue For Parents Books For The Month Hymns For The Month: Jerusalem the Golden, De Profundis (Psalm 99) and Miserere (Psalm 50).


MONTH OF ALL SAINTS AND OF THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY In October we recalled the presence of the angels round about us and our children; in November we realize that all the saints, known and unknown, are our friends to whom we may pray, knowing that they will present our needs to our Blessed Lord. We remember, last, but not least, the Souls in Purgatory, those souls, so dear to us, about whose happiness we are often wondering. Have they yet passed on to heaven, into the peace of complete union with God? Or are they still suffering, waiting to make up for the lack of perfection in their lives on earth?

OUR CHILDREN AND THE WHOLE CHURCH If the saints and souls in Purgatory are often on our lips, so that they are household names, our children will grow up with a sense of familiarity with them. It will then be easy for us to put into practice in our homes the great doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ. We are all united in Christ: the saints — the Church Triumphant; the souls in Purgatory — the Church Suffering; and we fighting soldiers on earth — the Church Militant.

If the children are familiar with this great doctrine of the union of us all in one Body of which Christ is the Head, then they will more easily prove equal to the future that faces them in the twentieth century.

SOCIAL JUSTICE—THE CHILDREN'S PROBLEM No one doubts that a terrible struggle is going on and gathering force between different forms of society. Strikes, labor troubles, panics and depressions, unemployment, misunderstandings between capital and labor,—make up the ordinary news of our times. The children of today must settle these difficulties a few years hence.

The Holy Father and all wise people tell us that there is only one way to a peaceful settlement of that strife. Each man must respect every other man and treat him as his brother in Christ; each man must gaze across the maze of trouble to the other man, and looking into his eyes, recognize him as another member of the Mystical Body.

Our children may solve the coming class struggle without warfare, if we train them now to understand that the Second Commandment, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," is a definite order from God Himself and not a poetic fancy.

PEDAGOGY—TRAINING BY DOING What shall we do, then, to train the children to love their "neighbors"?

  1. Insist that each child respect the belongings of his brothers and sisters and little friends.
  2. Instruct the child to show kindness and consideration to servants, "help" of any kind, elevator men, salesmen at the door, shopkeepers and beggars. In small ways, train the child to practice this perfectly definite commandment. We give a few illustrations: a. See that the child says "Please" and "Thank you" to servants and "help" and elevator men. b. Never allow the door to be slammed in the face of a salesman. Explain to the child that though you do not buy the article offered you of course treat the man civilly and patiently, even if he is very trying and rudely persistent. Explain to the child that the man has to earn his living in a very difficult way. c. In shops, say a pleasant word to the salesman or saleslady and tell the child that you make a point of doing so, because he or she is probably very tired standing and waiting on all kinds of people. d. If you are going to give something to a beggar, hand it to the child to give. Thus early he learns how to help others. In these and many other small ways we can help the children to form habits of looking upon strangers as their neighbors.
  3. Never allow a child to speak unkindly to a person of another race, whether white or black or yellow.
  4. Restrain yourself from violent and critical talk about other nations. In these days of head-lined newspapers, people's emotions are swayed by propaganda. A good plan is to say, "I wonder what the Holy Father thinks about this. He hears all sides of the question."

THE MASS While we strive to do our part in bringing about the coming of the Kingdom of Christ, we must emphasize even more strongly that prayer to God is the most powerful means of all to bring about a solution of the terrible struggle of our world. And of all prayers the Mass is the most powerful.

As we walk to Mass let us say to our children that we are going to unite with the priest in offering to God the sacrifice of His Only Son. Repeat over and over that father, mother, children and priest all together have a part in the offering of our Lord to God.

It would be well here and now to make up our minds to speak and act habitually, as if we realized this momentous fact.

THE MISSAL What can we do to keep vivid our own grasp of the meaning of the Mass? And how can we bring up our children to be aware of what is happening at Mass? In July we advised the purchase of two books about the Mass. In May we recommended two Mass prayer books. This month we ask all parents to try hard to secure Missals and to use them. They can be had in many styles and at various prices. We list a few in the notes on books.

The Missal, the regular Mass book of the Church, is now used by millions of Catholics every day in the year, and of course on Sundays.

Children as young as eight or nine years of age have great delight in following the Missal. There is a fascination in discovering all the many interesting things which are set out day after day in this prayer book of the Church. Anybody who will faithfully read the Mass prayers for every single day for one year will discover that he has acquired a real education. Even if you don't go to Mass every day you can at least read the Missal. You begin to understand how this Church of which we are members today has gone along through the ages, storing up the wisdom of great saints and composing little prayers about them so that we make their acquaintance in the Collect. If you have not had any experience with the Missal, you may find it hard to believe that there are families in which each child finally gets a Missal for Christmas and you can see them all kneeling in the pew on Sunday, each one following the priest with great interest and excitement.

[Editor's Note: Although this was written when Mass was always said in Latin, it is still encouraged to read along the Mass with a missal, so as to avoid distraction and meditate on the prayers of the Mass. There are many different publications and versions of missals in the market today, including: St. Joseph Weekday Missal and St. Joseph Sunday Missal by the Catholic Book Publishing Company; Vatican II Weekday Missal and Vatican II Sunday Missal published by Pauline Books and Media; The Roman Missal published by Midwest Theological Forum, contains both weekday and Sunday readings. There is also a monthly publication of the readings, meditations and morning and evening prayer called Magnificat, available from By the same publishers are different versions of missals for children. --JGM]

THE MISSAL AND MANKIND Steady reading of the Missal gives a sense of the universality of the Church. Children begin to realize that all over the world people of every race and nation are reading those words and thinking those thoughts, and that in the Mass we and they and everybody, including the saints and holy souls in Purgatory, are united in one great powerful sacrifice to God.

VIRTUE FOR PARENTS Go to Mass every day, if possible, for the souls in Purgatory. If we forget our dead, who will remember them? Should attendance at Mass be impossible we may be able to say the Stations of the Cross.

BOOKS FOR THE MONTH There are so many styles of Missals that it is difficult to advise parents which ones to choose. The St. Andrew Daily Missal1 has, besides all the Mass prayers for every day in the year, explanations of the liturgy which are very valuable. It has also extremely beautiful illustrations, one for each Sunday and feast day. At the back of the book are to be found the words and music for 0 Salutaris, Tantum Ergo, Benedictus Deus (blessed be God), Adoro Te, and the words of the Te Deum.

Another excellent Missal (not for every day, but for the Sundays and chief feasts of the year) is My Missal,2 with introduction and notes by Abbot Cabrol. This comes also in short form, with only the Epistles and Gospels given.

A very cheap and useful publication is The Catholic Sunday Missal,3 arranged by the Dominican Fathers, Callan and McHugh.

A useful little pamphlet containing prayers in general use, prayers for Mass and the words of well-known hymns is, A Prayer Book for Sunday Schools.4

HYMNS FOR THE MONTH Jerusalem the Golden, that wonderful song composed by Bernard of Cluny, is good to sing on All Saints and All Souls Days.5 De Profundis (Psalm 99) and Miserere (Psalm 50) are hymns which Catholics like to know.6 The English words of De Profundis are found in most prayer books and of course can be read in the Bible. It is a good habit to recite this psalm daily for our beloved dead.

1 Daily Missal, by Dom Gaspar Lefebvre of the Abbey of St. Andre. St. Paul, Minn.: The E. M. Lohmann Co. [Editor's Note: This book is out of print.]

2 My Missal, by Abbot Cabrol, O.S.B. New York: P. J. Kenedy & Sons. [Editor's Note: This book is out of print.]

3 The Catholic Sunday Missal, by Rev. Charles J. Callan, O.P., and Rev. John A. McHugh, O.P. New York: P. J. Kenedy & Sons. [Editor's Note: This book is out of print.]

4 A Prayer Book for Sunday Schools, by Right Rev. Msgr. John L. Belford, D.D. New York: P. J. Kenedy & Sons. [Editor's Note: This book is out of print.]

5 St. Gregory Hymnal, Singers' Edition. Hymn No. 23. Philadelphia: The St. Gregory Guild. [Editor's Note:: This is now available in two editions. GIA Publications,, St. Gregory Hymnal and Catholic Choir Book Compiled by C. T. Andrews, 1979 abridged edition of the original collection edited by N. A. Montani. For 2 and 4 Voice Choirs. Paperback G-2291 8.50, Paperback Spiral bound G-2291-S 9.50. Also, reprint of the original by The Neumann Press, RR2 Box 30, Long Prairie, MN 56347, 800-746-2521, www.neumannpress. for $38.00. --JGM]

6 Catholic Youth's Hymn Book, by the Christian Brothers. Nos. 201 and 203. New York: J. Fischer & Bro. [Editor's Note: This hymnal is out of print. A good basic hymnal for a Catholic family is the Adoremus Hymnal, available from I highly recommend the Organ edition (for $24.95) so that one can accompany the song on the piano, plus the CDs can help those in need of more musical help. Another recommendation is Cantate et Iubilate Deo published by the Midwest Theological Forum. --JGM]

Activity Source: Religion in the Home: Monthly Aids for the Parents of Elementary School Children by Katherine Delmonico Byles, Paulist Press, 1938