How Joseph Ratzinger’s Family Prepared Him for Mass

Photo Credit: Catholic News Service

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Accounts like this:

During the recent World Meeting of Families in Milan, Italy, Pope Benedict XVI participated in the “Celebration of Witnesses” event by answering questions asked from families in attendance. A seven-year-old girl from Vietnam asked the Pope to talk about his own family and infancy. Here’s the Holy Father’s response:

Benedict XVI recalled the essential importance Sunday had for his family. “Sunday began on Saturday afternoon when my father would tell us the Sunday readings. … Thus we entered into the liturgy in an atmosphere of joy. The next day we would go to Mass. I lived near Salzburg so there was always music – Mozart, Schubert, Haydn – and when the ‘Kyrie’ began it was as if the sky itself had opened. … We were of one heart and soul, with many shared experiences even through difficult times because there was the war and before that the dictatorship, then poverty. But the reciprocal love that existed between us, the joy in simple things was so strong that we could bear and overcome these things. …Thus we grew up in the certainty that it is good to be human, because we could see the goodness of God reflected in parents and siblings. … In this context of trust, joy, and love we were happy and I think that heaven must be similar to my youth. In this sense I hope ‘to go home’ when I go ‘to the other part of the world’”. (Read more here.)

Parents, doesn’t that inspire you to recreate that sense of sacred for your children? It may sound unapproachable but you’ll never know if you don’t even try, right?

Question: How do you prepare yourself and/or your family for Mass? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  1. Sue Smith says

    We use the MagnifiKids with our crew. For the past several years, we have found it fruitful to read the readings for Sunday Mass at our Saturday evening family dinner. As the kids are capable, they are assigned a reading, psalm or Alleluia verse to read (or sing!). It helps all of us focus and concentrate when we hear it again the next morning at Mass. We also try (!) to get the older kids to Confession every other Saturday afternoon. (monthly at the least). The littles take great pleasure in setting out their Mass clothes the night before right after their baths. Little things, but they add up to a much more thoughtful, meaningful Mass.

  2. says

    Sue, these are beautiful suggestions. Thank you for sharing them here. I love seeing your family at Mass. You all bring me joy, especially you and your smile!

    Question: I purchased the MagnifiKid for my niece and she loves it. In your opinion, how young is too young for that subscription (in other words, is Lucy too young, still?)?

  3. says

    By the time we got everyone together to get to Mass, we were going to be late. We ended up going to the museum instead. (We were going to go afterwards, anyways).
    We are so bad!

  4. Laverne Trudeau says

    Sunday Masses is very important to our family–going to church every Sunday is one of our family bonding.

  5. Marilyn Klein says

    Mass prep starts on Saturdays at our place. Mass clothes and shoes are set out to avoid any surprises on Sunday morning. Dad helps the kiddos figure out how much each should tithe. We button up the house/yard chores and do as much laundry as possible so we can take it easy on Sunday. Sunday mornings are free from tv, computers, phones, etc. If kiddos are fed, clean and dressed and it’s not time for Mass yet then we pull out the holy coloring books, saint bingo, etc. We bring Magnificat on the car ride and somebody reads the readings aloud. Seeing it all written down looks like so much! We were a chronically-late-for-Mass family and found our solution in the Sabbath prep traditions of a Jewish friend. We tweaked things to fit out needs and added one new habit every Advent and Lent. Works for us.

  6. Karey M. says

    It is great to hear about on preparing for the Sabbath, but my attention went to the music. I could feel a lot holier if we ever had a Mozart or Haydn mass.


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