I’ve often gotten in discussions about children being at Mass. Perhaps it’s because I’m a convert, but I feel very strongly about going to Mass as a family. I used to get distracted by children at Mass and wonder why the parents didn’t control them better, but now I understand. Now I love hearing children at Mass, because that means the parish isn’t dying. I love hearing children at Mass, because Jesus said to let the little children come to Him.
When K was quite young, I began taking him to daily Mass on occasion. Not regularly, but when I could. Obviously he also went with us on Sundays, and I decided not to take him to the children’s liturgy. Just before he turned 1, we moved to a different area, one within easy walking distance of a Benedictine parish with Mass twice a day during the week. Once Lent rolled around, I made it a point to go to Mass every day, which means he went, too. At first we sat in the back, but I found that he did better in the front. In fact, Fr Theo scolded me when I didn’t sit in the front, because he thought K should see the altar. I’m glad I listened, because the Mass captivates him. Oh sure, he’s not perfect, but during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, you’re likely to hear him exclaim “Body of Christ!” with the priest. His faith is amazing, and seeing the Mass through his eyes is precious to me.
Of course, there are also off days, like the one where C was standing, holding onto the pew, and fell, hitting her head and wailing during the Gospel and homily. That same Mass, K kept shushing loudly during the readings. When he was younger, he sometimes escaped from me and ran to the altar; this was more common if it was a priest he hadn’t seen in a while. And the other day C tried to crawl under the pew towards the altar and protested when I pulled her away. So it’s not perfect, and there are times when I long to have a Mass where I don’t have to watch them and can just gaze upon the Tabernacle, but at the same time, I love having the kids with me. While they may distract at times, they can also remind me why I’m there, as when K asks to pray for someone or exclaims about the Body and Blood of Christ during the Eucharist. I love that they’re with us the entire time at Mass.