I really never intended for the children to do that. Occasionally, the children surprise us in delightful ways. When we began way back in the 90s, being a relatively new parish, funerals were relatively infrequent. On the rare event of a funeral, the children didn’t go out for recess because the parking lot was busy. On wet or snowy days that was the only place to play. A bit later when we began to have more children and eventually the second parking lot, allowing the children to be outside on funeral days.
Wanting to be conscious of the funeral just up the sidewalk, we asked the children to pause momentarily when a funeral procession is leaving and pray for those involved. Typically it would involve a minute or two of playtime. The first time we had a funeral the children were excited to comply and watch and pray as the procession departed. We had asked them to stop and pray. What we had not anticipated was that when they stopped the games, they knelt down to pray.
They are little kids, but they are Catholic little kids. And I’m so proud of them. This week we had a large funeral, with a mighty long procession. The children prayed and watched the cars in procession. They prayed and watched the cars go by. And they prayed….and prayerd….and prayed. Preschooler’s recess ended and in they went midway through. Some of the other children had just come out. One of the teachers and I had spoken about the procession earlier in the day and she asked, “How long should they kneel?”
I said, “You will know when to stop; if any one of them gets restless, let them go back to play.” You already have the end of that story; they prayed and watched the whole time! There even seemed to be a calmness among the children as they prayed. (A few of the teachers took them out for a recess later as they knew they needed a little chance for some activity.) Our teachers are also proud of our children. It’s educational “commonsense” to help them get some activity, especially when they so readily spent their recess time practicing the corporal works of mercy which we know and love in our church. The children help to bury the dead and comfort the sorrowful in their own childlike way.
Not only are they practicing the works of mercy, they give witness to the Lord and His goodness in our school and in them. I don’t personally know Paul Wood. He sent us this note through the parish website. With his permission here’s what he sent: (His picture is of the preschoolers just before they went in to lunch.
“By the time I could get my phone out the boys were starting to lose focus a little! But they did such a great job. What a great lesson in respect to teach them. They and their teachers should know that they were appreciated.” – Paul Wood
… these dear “little kids” were praying the Rosary out loud. Very touching ending to a memorable funeral. Thank you Teachers and students! -Maryann Spahni (Maryann sent us the top two pictures with this message.)
Thanks Paul and Maryann, God bless you too!