08 Oct 2022

Fr Vincent Stapleton writes to parents, grandparents and godparents

A new initiative underway

A new initiative will soon be underway in the church

A new initiative will soon be underway in the church

Pictured above: Fr Vincent Stapleton


Dear Friends,
Just dropping you all a brief note to let you know about something we are planning at Bothar Na Naomh Church, Thurles in the coming weeks – the Children’s Liturgy (also known as Pray and Play). More details will follow soon.

Children’s Liturgy is a space that we will create in Lámh Chunta for younger primary school children (Junior Infants to First Class) so that they can encounter the Word of God in child-friendly language. While the congregation is in the Church listening to the regular readings, our team of leaders will bring the children to Lámh Chunta for their own children’s liturgy and activities.

If the plan works as we want it to, it will allow the children to really understand what they are hearing and come to know and love Jesus. And it will allow the parents to relax at the Mass and not have to worry about how to keep the little ones occupied.

In the world we now live in, faith is something that increasingly finds itself on the margins of popular activity. We might be inclined to think that getting the children out for Mass is too much hard work with little tangible fruit. Some parents have spoken of the stressful half-hour or hour that they put down trying to get through Mass, without disturbing the prayer of others, especially if a child is full of energy. This will be one little space we offer to try and support parents in passing on faith to their children.

It is worth the effort! I thank God for the effort that my parents and teachers made to pass on the faith to me.

I would like to encourage parents, grandparents, godparents, teachers and all who look after children in their valuable work. You are also doing so much for the wider community by your love, care and attention.

You might feel under-qualified when it comes to God. But don’t let that stop you because this isn’t rocket science and it doesn’t need a PhD. What we are going to do in Lámh Chunta is simple and powerful. We will light a candle and read a story – the oldest trick in the book.

Obviously, we will use the best stories of Jesus and only the most exciting ones from the Old Testament. In this way, we will be planting seeds of faith that will grow and mature as the years go on.

Our faith offers something to people which is hard to put into words but irreplaceable. It confirms for them the total meaning of their life.

Pope Benedict said it well some years ago … “We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God.”

We are known and loved and valued … each one of us without exception. We have a heavenly home which awaits us. We all want our children to learn, to know and to discover their value and potential … and to do so through the eyes of God. Knowing their deepest identity, being able to tie together the different strands of their lives, and knowing that they have someone to turn to in prayer … all this will be invaluable to them in the unsettling teenage years and beyond.

Looking forward to seeing you soon, Bail ό Dhia ar an obair

Fr Vincent Stapleton is a curate in Thurles parish and is the Rector of St Joseph and St Brigid's Church, Bóthar na Naomh, Thurles. A native of Borrisoleigh parish and a former primary school teacher, he is the youngest priest working in the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly.

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