The children come in, dressed in saintsâ€™ costumes, to the hymn, â€œI Sing a Song of the Saints of God.â€
The six saints featured in the hymn come in firstâ€”for those of you who donâ€™t know, this is who they are:
â€œOne was a doctorâ€ refers to Luke theÂ physician who wrote the Gospel by that name as well as The Book of Acts.
â€œOne was a queenâ€ is for Margaret of Scotland .
â€œOne was a shepherdess on the greenâ€ was Joan of Arc, who was a shepherdess before she became a soldier-saint.
â€œOne was a soldierâ€ refers to Martin of Tours (born a pagan, his name refers to Mars, the Roman god of war, and he was a Roman soldier before his conversion.)
â€œOne was a priestâ€ refers to John Donne. This is one saint you wonâ€™t find in a Roman Catholic calendar of saints, as he was an Anglican priest. He was also a very fine poet. Â It was he who wrote, â€œSend not to ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.â€
â€œAnd one was slain by a fierce wild beastâ€ refers to Ignatius of Antioch who died very serenely inÂ the Colliseum, despite being ripped apart by lions at the time. He wrote a series of letters as he was being taken to Rome, and in one he wrote â€œI am dying willingly for Godâ€™s sake, if only you do not prevent itâ€¦I am Godâ€™s wheat, and I am to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts so that I may become the pure bread of Christ.â€
We have costumes in all sizes. We even have animal costumes for Ignatiusâ€™s â€œfierce wild beastsâ€ and Joanâ€™s sheep.
Any child, ages 3 and up, is welcome to be part of the procession. However, please encourage your older child to participate, as the saints go up the aisleÂ separately, and it’s usually best if the child is at least 5 or 6.Â Children who are shy, or very young, or new to the procession, are welcome to come in all together at the last verse, the one that celebrates the â€œThousands and Thousandsâ€ of Â saints who are still among usâ€”people you can meet on a bus or a train or at sea, etc. We have lots of costumes for them as well.
Children who are taking part should come at 9:00 on Sunday morning, Nov. 6 to dress and to practice the procession. It is not complicated and we have adults on hand at both ends of the procession.
Please remember that Sunday, November 6 is the start of Eastern Standard Time. If you forget you will be an hour early!