This is my first post so I apologize in advance if this topic has already been discussed. If so, let me know where it is and I’ll read those responses.
My wife and I have a one-year-old baby and another one on the way in the next few weeks. We joined the Roman Catholic Church on Holy Saturday of this year; she was baptized Catholic as an infant and I was not baptized at all. We enjoy going to the mass–and we like having our baby there–but I was wondering whether we should go separately while the other one watches the baby or just tough it out as a family.
On one hand, we get to appreciate and participate the mass when we’re not juggling the baby. I also don’t have to figure out how to carry him while receiving the Eucharist. Our son has a habit of full-out grabbing things. I don’t want him to yank the cup or grab the body of Christ while I’m doing the juggling act. My wife and I can come together after we both go to mass and actively discuss what happened.
The other perspective, though, is that Jesus wants all the children to come to him. I do not want to deprive my son (and my daughter as well) of being at mass with the Eucharist. I also appreciate celebrating mass as a family. We do not want to do this forever, only when they’re really young. Fumbling with bottles, diapers, and a crying baby can make things hard. Going to church with my grandfather when I was in grade school was part of what brought me back there.
So, which is more righteous: to switch hit babysitting until they get a little older or bring the babies into the church and just make it work so that they can be immersed in the experience? Most people seem to enjoy him being there, however, I realize that he can distract people. He is a very social boy.
On a side note, our son does watch Holy Baby 2 a couple of times a week. We try to not be excessive because television at that age isn’t the best thing for a child, but the DVD does a good job of giving a toddler Catholic primer. I also give him a child rosary and we read him children Bible books. So it’s not like we’re actively pulling him away from the teachings of the Catholic Church. It just seems like mass is such a struggle when he probably won’t remember it anyway.