……from your Pastor’s Desk
Three weeks ago after the 10:15 Mass, a couple who was visiting from Oregon stopped to talk with me. They asked me if it was a special ‘Children’s’ or ‘Family’ Mass. I said no, just the regular 10:15 Mass. They said they have been coming here twice a year [when visiting family] for quite a while and had never seen this many young people and families here before. I took that as a complement to YOU – our parish community :)
It is a great joy to see families with young children at Mass. I realize that for some of you—especially new parents—this is a totally new experience. And, truth be told, it is also a great joy to see families who have returned to regular Mass attendance.
It also has been mentioned that there are never any chastisements or disparaging looks from the altar when families do not exactly make it in by 10:15 – or if there is a sudden outburst from a little one. I remember, before I was a priest, when I went to Mass how offended I was when priests scolded fami-lies for that – and I didn’t even have children! In my estimation you are doing the best you can!
FACT: Kids squirm, and it’s hard to sit still and be quiet even if the Mass is less than an hour. Also, some days are just tougher than others and children can get as cranky as some of us adults do! So – what do to? Well, here’s what. Please do not stay home even if you know you will be little late. And when you do come to mass – stay – even if there is some ‘fussing’. If they [or you] need a little ‘time-out’ take it, but come back in. It is important for all of us. (Of course, it is possible to sign your 3,4 or 5 year-olds in our Pre-school program during the 10:15 Mass too).
I know it is difficult to get a family to Mass. I know that some days it is almost impossible. But it is something I encourage all households with children to do.
– It helps to develop a love and fascination for Sacred things, especially when we show proper devotion as adults. Children learn from our example. This is also why we as adults always dress appropriately for Mass.
– When brought to Mass frequently, children more quickly learn the language of faith. I always enjoy seeing the little ones mimic me by doing the same arm and hand gestures that I do at the Altar.
– Behavior at Mass improves when children are taken from an early age and get used to going. They learn from the earliest of ages to see the Church as the ‘Special and ‘Holy’ place it is and show proper respect.
– Practicing their Catholic faith becomes interwoven into the basic fabric of their lives, and not just an occasional ‘add-on’ to an occasional Sunday.
– A true love for the REAL presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist helps them yearn for the Sacraments, and attending Faith Formation classes becomes something to look forward to and not just another thing to do.
Again, great to see children of all ages. Whether 9 days or 90 years – we are ALL God’s children.