On occasion over the past year, we have had to leave Mass early so that my 5-year-old daughter could start Sunday school on time. Sunday school is over for the summer, but my daughter is still in the routine.
During the eucharistic prayer one recent Sunday, she thought it was time to leave. “Daddy, I want to go,” she said. I told her (in a very quiet voice, of course): “No, it’s not time yet. This is the second half of the Mass. The first half is called the Liturgy of the Word” — and I pointed out those words in the missal aid in the pew. “That’s when the people were reading from the book, and the priest was talking to the people.”
“Now this is the second half of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist,” I said, again pointing out the words in the missal aid. “And see?” I told her, pointing toward the sanctuary. “The priest is holding up the Eucharist right now.”
“Daddy,” she queried, “when’s the third half?”