Magazine article U.S. Catholic

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Magazine article U.S. Catholic

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Article excerpt

Q. The best solution I have seen a parish use to deal effectively with small children is:

Letting them be present for the entire Mass. The banter and antsiness of small children is no more disturbing than the throat-clearing, coughing, talking, and bulletin-reading of adults.

David Niles Wauwatosa, Wis.

We have tried bulletin notes regarding disruptive kids and the areas they can go during Mass. Some people just don't get the hint.

Lisa Bulters Oregon, Wash.

To recognize that pietism and classism and ageism are present in all churches. Children and families are a blessing ... a joy, a prayer, our hope and future. They should be welcomed and encouraged.

Bruce Hall Fort Collins, Colo.

Our pastor involves children in the liturgy as much as possible. One example is by having us adults pray the Lord's Prayer slowly enough for young children to join in. It seems a small gesture, but it works.

Wally Roberts Brattleboro, Vt.

A family Mass.

John R. Windorf Miller Place, N. Y.

Our priest will actually go and get children and bring them up on the altar while giving the homily. It works like a charm.

Pat Gregory Reno, Nev.

Bribes regarding doughnuts after Mass work great.

Paul Stauffer North Potomac, Md.

Parishes that invite children to participate in the liturgy in another room. When the children return, they are so excited that it is a gift to see the smiles on their faces.

Colleen Callahan Pleasant Hill, Calif.

Parishes that set up a baby-sitting schedule where teen parishioners take turns minding the youngsters. Also, I've seen ushers who pass out little religious games, puzzles, and pictures to entertain antsy kids.

Name withheld Brooklyn, N. Y.

Reserving the last three rows of pews for children and parents.

Lucille Goebel Charlotte, N.C.

I'm still waiting.

Lillian Kovacs Seven Hills, Ohio

I have never attended a parish Mass where I've felt that children truly are included. At my parish, the first thing people do is turn off new parishioners by welcoming them and then telling them to remove their disruptive children from Mass.

Name withheld Virginia Beach, Va.

Q. The most frustrating experience I ever had concerning a noisy child in Mass--whether it was my child or someone else's--was the time when:

Two girls, around 7 and 9, unaccompanied by any adults, sat next to me in the front pew and proceeded to talk, eat candy, play with the hymnals, and slide side to side in the pew. It was a relief when about 10 minutes into Mass, they got up and left.

Rita L. Haugh Winona, Minn.

A woman in the congregation yelled at a mother whose child was fussing. I talked to her after Mass and told her that her behavior was uncalled for.

Father Mark Canavan Cicero, Ill.

The priest stopped Mass and told a mother that she could leave now, since her child was acting up in the front of church.

Name withheld Cincinnati, Ohio

Some parents at our church felt that if their child was bothering you, it was your responsibility to discipline her. She would run back and forth and crinkle and slurp the food they brought to Mass.

Theresa Geck Houston, Tex.

A 3-year-old child was wandering all around the altar with no parental attempt to retrieve the child. There wasn't even intervention when the child tried to ring the consecration bells. The altar server wrestled them from the child's grasp just in time.

Michael Shashaty Pine Ridge, S.D.

While I was preaching, a baby was yelling the whole time. I made a joke about it--that the child would be a preacher some day. Tolerance and patience are the Catholic way.

Name withheld Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

I was at Mass with my sister, brother-in-law, and their four small children. …

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