Sunday, December 10, 2006

Celebrate the Season?

My parish used to have several Nativity pageants each year. The preschoolers had one on Sunday morning, after the mass that took place at the same time as their classes. Now, due to lack of participation, the preschool classes are no more. The elementary religion program had one on their last class before Christmas, which was followed by a Christmas party. The program was a basic retelling of the story, accompanied by carols, with the addition of the Little Drummer Boy and, at the end, Santa entering and kneeling before the manger. There was one at the parish children's mass on Christmas Eve. Cookie Monster and Elmo puppets told the story while kids in costume came down the aisle to the sanctuary did the manger scene. I thought the puppets were a bit over the top, but the play itself was simple--the kids just walked down the aisle and took their places. Carols were sung. I'm sure the school kids did something, and finally, the teens did a Living Nativity on the front lawn of the church, right by a major street on either the Sunday before or Sunday after Christmas. This year, from what I understand, there will be only one--the teens are doing one on the Tuesday night after Christmas.

What has changed? In short, the pastor and the DRE. Our old DRE put a lot of work into those productions, as well as into similar productions at Easter. Our new DRE does not seem inclined to do so. However, the real reason is that our pastor has insisted that during Advent we celebrate Advent, not Christmas. I understand his point, but I'm afraid that what people are going to see is not that we celebrate Advent, but rather, that our parish doesn't celebrate Christmas--at least not with anything for the kids. By the time school and CCD resume after Christmas, the Christmas season will be over. The one Christmas party that most of these kids attended that focused on the reason for the season was cancelled because it happened during Advent.


  1. Has your pastor explained to folks why things have changed? I think he has the right idea. I would go crazy if there were that many nativity plays (esp since I have kids from 1st thru high school).

  2. No, he hasn't-and last year I think the DRE got blamed for the lack of pagenets, since he was new and the pastor wasn't. There was a blub in the bulletin about celebrating Advent in Advent etc.

    As far as all the pagents go, most families either have kids in CCD or in school, not both. The school pagent was during school time, the CCD during CCD. If you child was in the CCD pagent, you had to get him/her there 15 minutes early that week--and stay to watch. Two kids in each grade participated. The preschool pagent was right after their class, and all the kids were in it--but it was short. The Christmas mass one was a bit more involved, but it was pretty much third graders and their sibs--and folks with kids that age generally go to that mass anyway. I guess what I'm saying is that you probably wouldn't have kids in more than one pagent a year, unless you had a preschooler and a third grader (that year my daughter was in both the preschool and Christmas day ones, and my son was in the Christmas day one.

  3. The way you describe it now, it doesn't sound quite so hectic....


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