If you’re a parent and you’ve ever taken a child to Mass, you’ve been there.
Just as the priest elevates the host, your toddler slips and bonks his head on the pew. You frantically try to comfort and silently smother the loud screams of your child at the same time.
The song comes to a close, but your daughter knows a few more verses and she’s not afraid to share them as loud as she can.
Timed perfectly just before the Sign of Peace, your first grader sneezes all over his hands wipes it on his pants, and offers peace to the people behind you before you can react fast enough to grab a tissue.
And, the ultimate, as the entire Church is in deep silent prayer and post- Communion reflection, your newborn has a very noisy diaper explosion. This inevitably leads to fits of laughter from children and teens in all pews around you. Bonus embarrassment – it doesn’t smell very good either.
I could go on and on and on with these real-life stories from my only family experience. I’m sure you have your own (horror?) stories.
It is no easy task to bring children to Mass. What do priests think about all this chaos? We searched the internet to find out.
What To Think When Children Cry During Mass – Fr. Ryan Erlenbush
“‘But Father,’ you say, “the kids cry so loud, I can’t stand it!’ I reply: There are several things one can consider when we hear children crying. They are the future of our parish. Their noisy cries call to mind the inaudible lament of the souls in purgatory, for whom we ought to pray. Such noises teach us patience. And so forth. But I will show you a yet greater way.
Mary wept at the foot of the Cross
When you hear a child crying during Mass, let the sound of those tears call to mind the mystery of the Cross. The Holy Mass is, of course, one with the true sacrifice offered by Christ once for all upon the Cross at Golgotha. The Mass is a sacrifice, it is the Cross.” – Read More Of Fr. Ryan Erlenbush’s Article Here.
Bring All The Babies To Mass – Fr. Brad Doyle
Sunday Mass With Little Kids? – Fr. Michael Sliney
Children Belong At Mass – Fr. Michael Rennier
“If I had space, I’d talk about how important family is, how turning Mass into a professional worship experience or a lecture from a priest is a mistake and how developing patience with children is good for us.
That doesn’t quite get to the point, though. It isn’t as if adults are so generous that we allow youngsters to participate in their imperfect way. What I’m saying is that children are the best at attending Mass. They notice everything. They engage in the awe and wonder of worship. During Mass, they murmur approvingly at the consecration of the Host and point out the priest while exclaiming to their younger siblings, “Jesus is here!” Wonder is the beginning of wisdom, and children have it in spades. Perhaps this is why the first prayer a priest traditionally says quietly at the foot of the altar is, “I shall go up to the altar of my youth.” He’s reminding himself to stay young.
Mass is the family of God kneeling together at the foot of the cross. We look at Jesus together and make space in our hearts for Him. We make ourselves a gift of love to Him.” – Read More Of Fr. Rennier’s Article Here
How I Feel About Noisy Children At Mass – Fr. Jacob Rouse
And, what does the Holy Father have to say?
So, moms and dads, be respectful but don’t be too self-conscious. In spite of the occasional eye-roll, children are welcome in our churches. They are just as much a part of the body of Christ as the rest of us- funny noises, snotty noses, bad smells, and all.