I found this via a more spiritual and serious Catholic Blog, where it was removed since at first it seemed interesting and possibly OK, but upon further thought had decided not. Well my site is neither and to me this is too ridiculous to pass up.
Father Douglas Sweet brought Charlie to mass at St. Joseph�s School, Shreveport this past month. Charlie isn�t what you would expect, he is a wooden puppet and is the instrument that Fr. Doug uses to teach the simple, yet complicated, lessons of life, love and faith. He and Charlie, who is named after our very own Father Charles Glorioso, always has a message for the young children. The idea to use ventriloquism in his children�s liturgies came to Father Sweet during his time as a seminarian when he had first met Father Charles. They attended seminary together and are good friends. For part of his degree work, he had to give a series of liturgies to children. It was a challenge for him to come up with a way to present these liturgies in a fresh and new way in which the children would understand and listen to what he had to say. He started out with hand puppets as a way to boost the children�s interests and it has evolved into a wonderful talent.
…�We all love Fr. Doug, he is so full of joy. His puppet Masses are a true delight for everyone. The children get so excited they can hardly stay seated in the pews. The first time Fr. Doug did a Mass with his grandfather puppet was at our grandparent liturgy. You could feel the joy in our church that day. He makes God’s love come alive for our children. They remember the message from Fr. Doug�s Homily and they get very excited to tell you about the message. The day he did the Grandparent liturgy one boy turned to me and asked �Why is Fr. Doug putting Grandpa in that box�. Fr. Doug was so good with grandpa puppet that he seemed alive to many of our children. Fr. Doug loves these kids and they can feel it too.�
Even for a Children’s Mass I don’t think this is appropriate. Outside of the liturgy this might be a good teaching tool. Children’s Masses should be training children to the full liturgy, not giving the Sesame Street version. Liturgically speaking the puppet could do the homily since the hand and voice is ordained along with the whole priest. I guess the puppet would be speaking In Persona Christi, In Persona Doug. But I think it would go too far if they concelebrated the Mass. I don’t even want to think about a puppet passing out Communion.
Now I am not puppet prejudiced. My father was an actor and puppeteer professionally and I grew up with rubber latex puppets slowly curing in the oven. Growing up during the summer I worked with kids who were being taught theater through improvisation and also the making of crafts. I invented a picnic plate puppet that was fairly easy to make and was popular among the children. I’ve been told that my picnic plate puppets have spread to other places due to these kids and a book my father did on crafts.
That is really cool, Jeff. Your dad’s craft and your childhood experiences, I mean.
I like Fr, Doug, too, from this excerpt. I agree with you about Mass, but I know Charlie would be a hoot and a hit at CCD or picnics.
There’s a priest in the Arlington Diocese who performs a juggling act at speaking engagements (outside of Mass only–I REALLY wouldn’t want to see juggling of Communion!). Fr. Fran Peffley juggles balls, bowling pins, machetes, and fire torches! He’s terrific–plus he’s a tireless pitchman for Jesus via the Legion of Mary.
His website is here.
Outside of Mass, ok. But definitely NOT APPROPRIATE in Mass.
BTW, a priest who takes a great deal of interest in kids’ stuff like this needs watching, unless his activities are very very balanced with other groups, activities…etc.
If it’s only on paper, support burns easily
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