For parents with young kids at Mass…

Following my last post in which me and my kids were made to feel very unwelcome in our church, lots and lots of people sent me this:

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It says:

TO THE PARENTS OF OUR YOUNG CHILDREN, MAY WE SUGGEST…

Relax! God put the wiggle in children; don’t feel you have to suppress it in God’s house. All are welcome!

Sit toward the front where it is easier for your little ones to see and hear what’s going on at the altar. They tire of seeing the backs of other’s heads.

Quietly explain the parts of the Mass and actions of the priest, altar servers, choir etc.

Sing the hymns, pray and voice the responses. Children learn liturgical behaviour by copying you.

If you have to leave Mass with your child, feel free to do so, but please come back. As Jesus said “Let the children come to me.”

Remember that the way we welcome children in church directly affects the way they respond to the church, to God, and to one another. Let them know that they are at home in this house of worship.

Please let your child use the reverse side of this card to draw and doodle.

 

TO OTHER MEMBERS OF OUR PARISH

The presence of children is a gift to the church and they are a reminder that our parish is growing.

Please welcome our children and give a smile of encouragement to their parents.

If you see a parent struggling, please offer to help them!

 

Isn’t that great?! I have taken the liberty of typing it up and adding a smiley face for you lovely people to download and use in your parishes:

 

To the parents of young children

 

Please download it and use it for free here: To the parents of young children.doc   To the parents of young children.pdf

Clare x

5 thoughts on “For parents with young kids at Mass…

  1. God bless you! I wish I had been mature enough to do as you are doing, when my children were young. There will unfortunately be those who never really mature in their faith, and we are called to be patient with them. And yes, it is often an advantage to not know who is being immature. They are helping to make us holy and therefore we should pray for them and bless them continually. It is also helpful to invoke the name of our blessed Lord to bind the spirits in them who are ultimately responsible for this kind of behaviour. Just stretch out your hand and command that they cease in their actions against you, and believe. You’ll be amazed at the results. Our Lord always leads us in battle. We do not fight against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in realms above, who are active in us, and in all of humanity. Even Peter when he was very close to Jesus, was used by Satan, to try to influence Jesus. It can, and does happen, to all of us from time to time.

    • This is an encouraging article I found on the internet about children in church; I am aware that in the Orthodox liturgy there are more ‘visual’ things going on, but it could also be applied to our Church:
      “The following article, ‘Children and the Church’ was written by Fr. Alexander Schmemann a Russian Orthodox married priest who lived and worked in America.
      “As a general rule, children like attending Church, and this instinctive attraction to and interest in Church services is the foundation on which we must build our religious education. When parents worry that children will get tired because services are long and are sorry for them, they usually subconsciously express their concern not for their children but for themselves. Children penetrate more easily than do adults into the world of ritual, of liturgical symbolism. They feel and appreciate the atmosphere of our Church services. The experience of Holiness, the sense of encounter with Someone Who is beyond daily life, that tremendous mystery that is at the root of all religion and is the core of our services is more accessible to our children than it is to us.
      ‘Except ye become as little children,’ these words apply to the receptivity, the open-mindedness, the naturalness, which we lose when we grow out of childhood. How many men have devoted their lives to the service of God and consecrated themselves to the Church because from childhood they have kept their love for the house of worship and the joy of liturgical experience! Therefore, the first duty of parents and educators is to ‘suffer little children and forbid them not’ (Matt. 19:14) to attend Church. It is in Church before every place else that children must hear the word of God. In a classroom the word is difficult to understand, it remains abstract, but in church it is in its own element. In childhood we have the capacity to understand, not intellectually, but with our whole being, that there is no greater joy on earth than to be in Church, to participate in Church services, to breathe the fragrance of the Kingdom of Heaven, which is ‘the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit.’
      Church attendance should be complemented from the earliest days of childhood by the home atmosphere, with time set aside everyday for family prayers together which precedes and prolongs the mood of the Church. Let us take Sunday morning. Church attendance should be preceded by a sense of being gathered in, a quiet, a certain solemnity and wonder. The home must reflect the Church, must be illuminated by the light that we bring back from worship.
      And now let us speak of ‘children’s liturgy’. It seems self-evident to me that to organise so-called ‘children’s liturgy’ during Divine Liturgy is in deep contradiction with the spirit of Orthodoxy. The Sunday Liturgy is a joyful gathering of the Church community, and the child must know and experience this long before he is able to understand the deep meaning of this gathering. It seems to me that the choice of having a ‘children’s liturgy’ while the Mass is being celebrated is not a very good one. Sunday is primarily a Liturgical Day; therefore, it should be Church-centred, the whole Church and Liturgy-centred.”

  2. Loved this post and the replies. Especially the thoughts on “children’s liturgy.” I wrote about this topic on my blog too.

    How Parents Approach Mass With Little Ones Can Begin To Plant The Seeds of Faith

  3. Great post. I’ve been relatively fortunate not to have experienced admonishment from other parishioners about bringing my child to church, but at one of the churches we attend, there is a cry room (or “kiddie ghetto”, as my husband calls it) that I can go to if the baby gets exceptionally fussy. But even those excursions are rare since we try and keep the baby engaged with Mass (a bit challenging for a five month old, but we keep trying).

    That card reminded me of an article I came across some months ago about a mother being scolded by some elderly parishioners (and isn’t it usually some elderly crab who starts shaming the parents with children at Mass?) because her toddler child was doing what toddlers do and wiggling around at Mass. The writer of that article, a priest, said that if we don’t bring our kids to Mass regularly, they’ll never learn to behave in church or have any reverence for Our Lord. I’d post the link to it in this comment, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere. The negative reactions to seeing children at Mass further reinforces the contraceptive mentality which views children as a commodity to be enjoyed by some but not by all

  4. Pingback: 12 Reasons to Welcome Kids in Church + Tips for Actually Doing It - Sacraparental

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