Children at Mass
Welcome! Children, especially small children are always welcome at Mass! “Let the children come to me,” says the Lord! Even before they are baptized, please bring your small children to church. As your pastor, being the eldest of seven children, I have heard the voices and the commotion of little children from my earliest memories. Do little children distract you at Mass? They do not distract me in the least! Nevertheless, here are some suggestions for making your family experience of attendance at Mass more comfortable for you.
First, prepare your small children for Mass by training them to experience quiet time at home. Hyperactivity and distractions can be balanced with times of quiet and comfort. The benefits of this quiet time are not only good for church, but also good for your home life. You child will learn to like it, and you will love it as well. Quality quiet time is a preparation for prayer. After all, what is prayer? For starters, prayer is quality quiet time with God. Please click here for more information about preparing small children for Mass.
Second, start teaching your children the responses for the Mass. It is not necessary for them to understand everything they are saying at first. The fact that they hear the priest say something to which they respond, is an important step towards full participation in the Mass. We have some preschool children in our parish who already know most of the responses for the Mass. Listen for these small children in church. Although they can’t quite keep up with everybody else, they are beyond just being cute! Please click here for more information about engaging small children at Mass.
Third, we have one of the world’s greatest time-out rooms for children in the diocese. It is called our narthex. You can still hear and see everything while your child cries or runs around. And we even have a gymnasium just a few steps away for further physical exertion. Then, when your child is ready, you can rejoin your family in church again. It happens often each weekend. It’s not a big deal. Please take us up on this offer! As a last resort, there is always Online Mass from our church. Come to think of it, you can also preview Mass at home before you go to church.
Fourth, there are several religious books for children that can help keep them focused at Mass. One example is Magnifikid, a children’s version of Magnificat for adults. We invite you to do an internet search for these books, or go to your favorite online bookseller for more examples. By the way, have you checked out ForYourMarriage.org ? This website, sponsored by the American Bishops, provides an online encylopedia of information about all aspects of marriage and family life. Focus on the Family is also a wonderful spiritual resource as well.
Fifth, we would like to eventually move towards restoring a Children’s Liturgy of the Word for some of our parish Masses. With proper vetting and training a sufficient quorum of qualified volunteers, the children would leave after the Opening Prayer, and return to their families in time for the Offertory. They would be taken to the parish center for simplified readings and a message given at their level. Are you interested learning more about a volunteer leadership role in this kind of ministry? Please send an email to Prayer@StDaniel.org. Thank you for your interest!
Conclusion. What does it mean to be a “practicing” Catholic? It means coming to Mass, and the earlier this starts, the more solid our foundation for living out the Catholic Christian lifestyle. Mass is our practice session for living our faith in daily life. If you do not show up for practice, how successful will you be in real life? Practice makes for perfection. To perfect our faith, we need to practice it regularly. So, please, bring your children to Mass with you each week! Remember the old saying, “The family that prays together, stays together.”