Gus reads a letter written by Fr. Michael White, pastor of Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland, entitled "Why We Don't Encourage (Little) Kids in Church." Fr. White goes in depth about the struggles about saying mass with little kids inside the chapel distracting himself and others. Fr. White doesn't want to discourage parents from bringing kids to mass but rather encourages them, and parishes across the country, to utilize cry rooms and other children's programs offered during mass. But, is his approach a good one? Gus asks listeners.
Gus, I agree that children should be welcomed at Mass if they are old enough to understand the basic concepts of the Mass and how to behave. But there should be alternatives like Fr. White has at his Parish and folks should be encouraged to use them. Not all young children can sit still for 45 or 60 minutes. I have on more than one occasion changed my seat because a child was “playing” during mass, either with toys, or or with his/her siblings, or by crawling/walking all over the pew and kneelers, demanding to be picked up then put down, staring at the people behind him/her, etc. these children would be better off in the nursery or children’s program, where they would also better understand the lesson of the readings for the day.
Gus, Thanks for highlighting this story .
I agree with you that children are our life blood and should be brought to Mass. I believe at 4 or 5 they can be expected to join their family in this Sunday ritual. They won’t be perfect, but they will view their parents and other families participating in the beautiful sacrifice of the Mass, and eventually they will want to participate too. Years ago when I was studying in France, I was blessed to be at a parish where children of all ages were welcomed and cared for by all the parishioners. I observed young 3 year olds walking up and down the aisles and no one ever gave a disdainful look, but smiled helping them find their parents or handing them a book. Fr’s letter has more than likely sent family’s with young children looking for another parish.