This week, I would like to give some encouraging words to certain important members of our twinned parish community. I would like to address this article to our Parents of Young Children: First of all, thank you for bringing your children to Mass! The presence of children is a gift to the Church, and a reminder that our parish is growing, so Relax! God put the wiggle in your children so don’t feel you have to suppress it in God’s house. If the wiggle is too much, feel free to walk your child in our Gathering Area or simply sit with your child in the Family Room for a bit. But, please come back! Consider sitting more toward the front where it is easier for your little ones to see and hear what is going on at the altar. They tire of seeing other people’s backs! From there, you might quietly explain the parts of the Mass and actions of the priest, altar servers, lectors, choir and others. Help them find the hymns on the screen, participate in the liturgy and pray! Children learn about worship and liturgical behavior by copying others. As Jesus said, “Let the children come to me…” Remember that the way we welcome children directly affects the way they respond to the Church, God and one another. Let them know that they are at home in this house of worship. To other Parishioners: Remember when you had little children and the struggles you went through. With this in mind, please welcome our children and give a smile of encouragement to their parents! Thank them for bringing their children to Mass! (Adapted from a worship in Our Lady of Grace: Edina, MN.)
From my point of view up at the altar, it’s inspiring to see families of young children (or grandparents bringing grandchildren) in our worship! It’s a sign of vitality for us…and a welcomed sight! No one should ever feel they are an inconvenience or bother to others at our Sunday Masses. This said, my hope is that we all do our part to truly be a Family of God!