Child cradling

‘Kindje wiegen’ (child cradling) is a common Christmas ritual in Dutch catholic churches where families with young children attend a mass in which the Christmas story is depicted for toddlers and preschoolers.

This ritual, which brings together church life and family life, is the starting point for an investigation into the space between the two worlds and into the possibilities of making the mutual expectations that play a role fruitful.

Child cradling investigates the religiosity within domestic life and the involvement of young families in church life. It explores the space between these two worlds by means of a ritual that connects them, namely the child cradling. The stories and experiences surrounding this ritual that play a role in domestic and ecclesiastical life form the basis for the development of a new vision of the relationship between family life and ecclesiastical life. This research is being set up in close collaboration with ecclesiastical life in the Netherlands and collaborates with the KU Leuven in certain areas. The research and results will be reported on during a conference and in a book publication.

Child cradling clarifies

  • The significance of this ritual for both ecclesiastical and non-practicing young parents
  • What themes appeal to them within this ritual and in what way do those relate to their domestic life and upbringing?
  • How can the ritual contribute to the religiosity of the family and to the religious communication within the family?
  • The meaning of this ritual for ecclesiastical life
  • What motives and considerations play a role in offering this ritual and how does this relate to the vision of the church-family relationship?
  • How can the ritual contribute to ecclesiastical attention to questions from young parents?
  • Building blocks for a missionary church
  • What points of departure do the experiences and expectations from domestic and ecclesiastical life offer for a renewed vision of the relationship between families and communities of faith?
  • In what sense can the theological visions of marriage and family as they emerge within Gaudium et Spes (1965), Familiaris Consortio (1981) and Amoris Laetitia (2016) contribute to this?