Dear People Sitting Near Us at Mass,

Remember me? The mother with the children who couldn’t sit still even for a minute? I had one child who was wiggling under the pew while the other was trying to dive out of it?

You probably wondered what I was thinking bringing two incredibly active children to Mass on my own. Why not leave one in the nursery? Or send them both to the Children’s Liturgy of the Word?

The truth is that I was feeling pretty good about how Mass was going to go. My husband offered to go with us, but he had to attend a later Mass, and I couldn’t see why he should have to go twice.

Besides, our children are certainly old enough to know how to sit through Mass without disrupting everyone around them. They just forgot on Sunday—accidentally or on purpose.

What can I say? It was one of those Sundays when I found myself wishing for a soundproof pew—or at least an invisibility cloak. But, as I’m sure you noticed, neither of those appeared. And so I ended up on my knees in the back of the church, whispering into little ears about how there would be no screen time ever ever again if we couldn’t be quiet and still.

Now, you may not find this comforting, but although that wasn’t our best Mass behavior, it wasn’t our worst either.

They are, after all, children.

And you might not believe this, but—even at their wiggliest and giggliest—they probably got more out of Mass than some of the people there.

You wouldn’t know it to watch them during Mass, but they love God. They love talking about Jesus.

They enjoy looking around the church and seeing pictures of Joseph and the Blessed Mother.

They think our priest is one of the coolest people around. They were so excited to see a Little Sister of the Poor on Sunday.

And they already believe that the bread and wine becomes Jesus’ body and blood.

I’m sure you weren’t impressed with their behavior. To be honest, neither was I. You may even have talked on your way home about children these days and parents who can’t control their children.

But I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret: These children may be our next priests or deacons. They may become teachers or doctors. Or they may—as I pointed out to them on the way home—become fathers of the next generation of squirming, wriggling children.

These children are the future of our Church.

So we’ll see you again next week.

Their Mother

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10 ways to help young children enjoy Mass

Joining Theology Is a Verb and Reconciled to You for Worth Revisiting Wednesday on April 6, 2016.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.