Church Nurseries


#1

I come from a Methodist background (am now Catholic), and occasionally attend my husband’s non-denominational Evangelical church with him. My question is this…

Why is it that Catholic churches never have really good nurseries for the little ones? My husband’s church has no less than three…Cradle, Toddler, and Two year olds…All are very well equpped and well staffed…I especially love to see how the men volunteer to work in the nurseries…It’s wonderful.

**Catholic churches often have makeshift nurseries. The rooms are used for something else during the week, and so they are not well equipped or properly decorated. Very depressing for the babies to be in the rectory basement! **

This has always disturbed me. I do realize that many Catholic families attend Mass together, but surely there are Moms who would treasure an hour of prayer and worship without the little guys to distract them. All to often, there is not a good place to leave the babies…

**Many new churches do not even include a nursery in their plans…Or if they do, it is a very small room…Sort of an afterthought. **

**So…Do any of your churches have good nurseries? Or bad ones? **


#2

My parish has a wonderful nursery (where my sister works on the weekends ;)). My former parish had both a nursery and a cryroom (a small room in the back of the church with sound-proof glass and a speaker system so you can hear and see the Mass).

You are correct that many Catholics do bring their entire families to church. My parents certainly did.


#3

I have been in a variety of situations. My last parish had a very nice nursery (although it had those stacking cribs that are never used) staffed with volunteer moms for most of the Masses. My new parish has no nursery that I can tell, only a cry room. I think in general Catholics have a “tough it out” attitude, or else leave them at home and switch with your spouse to attend Mass alone or with only the older children.

I’m not sure why, but maybe nursery care is seen as a luxury? I haven’t been to any parish where there were paid nursery workers (as in some Protestant churches I once attended) let alone trained nursery volunteers or anything resembling an attempt at religious education for the under-3 children. When I volunteered at a large non-denominational church years ago, we at least sat the children down for a snack and said a blessing over the juice and goldfish crackers.

One of my daughters was enrolled in the 3 and 4-year-olds RE classes but they only run during the school year, which is another Catholic-ism that is weird to me. Why only from September to June? Why do the classes not meet in observance of secular holidays like Presidents’ Day? Strange, strange. And they wonder why attendance drops in the summer?


#4

My personal opinion… nurseries and cry rooms are not really Catholic. Children should be in mass with their parents. They are by virtue of their baptism member’s of the church and should be celebrating with their parents and the rest of the Body of Christ.

Non-Catholics have a very different view of Sunday services. The center of their service is the sermon, it is a time of instruction geared to adults and thus the children being absent is no big deal. But a Catholic mass is NOT instruction time.

-D


#5

[quote=darcee]My personal opinion… nurseries and cry rooms are not really Catholic. Children should be in mass with their parents. They are by virtue of their baptism member’s of the church and should be celebrating with their parents and the rest of the Body of Christ.

[/quote]

I agree about the nurseries, excepting that in some cases very young children really can disrupt a Mass, and force a parent to take the child out of the church, which doesn’t help their faith much either. I think that in that regard nurseries can serve a purpose, so long as they’re not used as a dumping ground for kids who don’t want to go to Mass.

As far as cry rooms, as a child the Masses I remember best were the ones spent there. My parents always used the opportunity to explain the Mass to me. Since they weren’t in the pews, they were able to talk me through the Mass more easily. They instilled my understanding of the Eucharist at a very early age. Just before the consecration, my dad would always pick me up so I could see and tell me, “Watch closely. This is the most important part of the Mass”.


#6

[quote=darcee]My personal opinion… nurseries and cry rooms are not really Catholic. Children should be in mass with their parents. They are by virtue of their baptism member’s of the church and should be celebrating with their parents and the rest of the Body of Christ.

Non-Catholics have a very different view of Sunday services. The center of their service is the sermon, it is a time of instruction geared to adults and thus the children being absent is no big deal. But a Catholic mass is NOT instruction time.

-D
[/quote]

**You do, of course, have a very good point. However, I still feel that there should be facilities for babies and very small children…good ones, that a parent can be confident in using. **

I once belonged to a very “progressive” parish that was composed of mostly young families. When the Archbishop came to dedicate the new church, he said that the average of the parish was, he thought, about eight months! He wasn’t far off, either. It was good to see all those young families, but the noise level was awful. Often, you could barely hear the priest. Once, I was trying to sing, but a little boy was actually rolling on the floor with his noisey truck right in front of the musicians…Very distracting. Everyone brought backpacks of treats and toys…

I am not an old fuddy-duddy, and actually enjoy seeing the kids…But, I just feel that good nursery facilities should be available for those who need them…Perhaps that hour is the only “quiet” time a Mom or Dad might have…Or, perhaps the child would be a whole lot more comfortable in a well equipped and staffed nursery.


#7

As has been stated, Nurseries are not really a Catholic thing.

In the Latin Church, after baptism, the child should still be at the Mass. In the Byzantine Church, a child is not only baptized but they are also chrismated (confirmed) and recieve first Eucharist. So after this the child approaches the Eucharist with their family just as the rest of the congregation does.

Now I could see Cry Rooms, that is a room in the back of the Church with a window to the sanctuary and speakers to carry the Mass over to, but this I think could be used for pastoral reasons.

The true fix for this is for parents to be parents to teach their children and keep them in line. If a child has trouble keeping still for an hour then there are other issues.

As for the comment about mom and dad needing a “quiet hour” then I am sorry but I must question their fitness in being parents.

The child, at baptism, becomes part of the parish community and should participate with the community at the Mass/Divine Liturgy.


#8

My church has something called ‘Children’s Church’ where during the readings and homily they go out with 4 or 5 adults and have the readings done and explained to them on a childs level, then come back in for the creed and the rest of mass.


#9

I’ve seen that done in a couple churches. If i’m not mistaken, that is allowed for in the new GIRM


#10

[quote=ppcpilot]My church has something called ‘Children’s Church’ where during the readings and homily they go out with 4 or 5 adults and have the readings done and explained to them on a childs level, then come back in for the creed and the rest of mass.
[/quote]

This is actually called the “Children’s Liturgy of the Word”…Our parish does this, too.


#11

I am a cradle Catholic and we have a crying room in the back of church with a window, fairly sound proof and with speakers to hear the Mass and worship with the congregation. There is a little box with a few books to keep the children occupied.

I do not believe that this idea of a nursery is a Catholic one. I have five children and they all learned at a very early age how they were expected to behave in Church. Of course, very small babies can be disruptive. At those times I would go to the crying room. It is very difficult to pay attention and focus on the Mass in there because the children do not all behave and are not always instructed how to do so, but that is what the room is for.

My sisters used to complain about this, but yet I think it is an opportunity to teach our children, to do the best at worshipping even though it is difficult and give a good example to your children and the others around you. After 2 years old I would not be in there anymore. When a child that age misbehaved I simply walked out of the church, verbally repremanded them and offered a suitable punishment if they continued to behave that way and followed up on it at home. Then we would go right back in. I would sit in the back in case this needed to be repeated just as any other parenting lesson.

There is another time that this is a problem and not just in church. If we do not include our children at Mass because they are inconvenient or noisy and we don’t persevere, do we pray the rosary with them at home or not for the same reasons. It is not easy praying with 5 small children the rosary at home. I always told my sisters that God loves us and likes to hear from us no matter how difficult the situation is. I told them to imagine he has a refrigerator and perhaps our time at Mass or the time we say the rosary with little squirming children was chaotic and our prayers didn’t seem to great. He still hung our scribbles on his refrigerator just like we do with the drawings of our children. The important part is our effort. When we allow ourselves to not try anymore then the devil wins. Besides we need to train these children up in the way that they should go from infancy on.

God bless you all in your struggles it is really worth the extra effort and I do not believe we need nurseries. When I hear a child cry at Mass I thank God for that beautiful sound, there should be alot more like that.


#12

Hi Elgom,

**You have made some excellent points, and although I do think that good nurseries can and should be provided for those who want to use them, I am beginning to understand the Catholic ideal of families attending Mass together. **

**When I became a Catholic my two children were in their teens…So…I never got to see the issue from the viewpoint of a young Catholic mother. **

One of the things I miss when I attend church services with my husband (a cradle Catholic who is now Evangelical Protestant…Please pray for his return to the Church), is the presence of children…All but a few are in Sunday School while their parents are in church. I think the teens have their own service. Anyway, while I at first believed this to be a good thing, I am beginning to rethink my position…

**Thank you for your guidance on this matter. I found, when I converted that it was not the official Church that taught me how to be Catholic, it was my women friends…Two or three of them, maybe four, saw to it that I learned what I needed to know…Especially since I got my Catholic education (Master of Arts in Religion) at a very liberal Catholic institution. **

**When I am at the aforementioned Evangelical church with my famliy (I am the only practicing Catholic), the baby goes to a very welcoming nursery, and the older boys (9, 5, and 3) all go to their respective Sunday School classes. Their parents then go to church. This is pretty much how it is done in most such churches. **

One of my greatest pleasures is to see whole families approaching the Eucharist together, babies in arms, and little ones walking by their parents. A couple of largish families always take their children to the Tabernacle before leaving the church…It is in an alcove in the back of the church…Teaching them about Christ’s presence there…

**I guess Protestants and Catholics approach the religious training of children in different ways. **


#13

Church Nurseries? no. Church cry rooms? Yes.

You (someone) said why not keep classes all year instead of just the school year? As one of those who teaches, I would quickly get tired of teaching classes all year. It is a huge committment and I for one am thankful to be able to plan summer vacations and activities without having to find a substitute that will end up teaching to one or two kids because everyone else is on vacation.

God Bless


#14

The Catholic Church is not a nursery. Catholic Churches are not built to function as nurseries–they are built for worship.

Protestants doesn’t want their little ones to be in their church services because of the noise, but sends them instead to the nurseries. In the case of the Catholic Church, all are welcome. Infants and toddlers are encouraged to be with their parents when going to Mass. It’s a family thing! Jesus wants them there, too! Only men doesn’t.
Remember when the apostles tried to stop the children from coming to Jesus? Probably the apostles were so annoyed because the chilrdren were making noise, playing, etc. Jesus rebuked them, saying;“Suffer the children to come to me, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” In the Mass, Jesus is truly present, and He wants them to come.

Pio


#15

Church Nurseries??? isn’t that Greek/Hebrew for Purgatory? :smiley:


#16

Maria,
I have also been a teacher, and I would be the absolute last person in this world to advocate year 'round schools! I hate the idea…and always have. I also hate the idea of all day kindergarten, which is gaining in popularity…I think it is just a way to get free daycare…


#17

CD4 the real reason there are no paid staff nurseries is two fold: money and history.

There is no money to have a paid nursery staff because almost all of the money goes for the parochial school. Crunch the numbers folks, it’s true. Jesus did not just found the Church he also founded a school system apparently. Ask yourselves is it any surprise that we lose so many young adults when there is literally nothing geared for them until Johnny turns 5 and starts school? That leaves them in a 7 year vaccuum to find other communities that have family friendly programs.

Secondly, my aunt(1929-2003) said that when she was raised her children did not go to Mass until they started school at age 6. Then they were expected to behave just like at school. Back in the 30s there were very few homeschools you see. Her parents took turns worshipping and watching the kids. Look at your older churches. There are no cry rooms. Why? Because there were no children under six at Mass so they did not need them.

Nowadays you will hear a lot of stuff about worshipping as a family but my 10 month-old is not worshipping is she? Clearly there is no sin if she misses. I am not bound to bring her until she is 7 according to the canons. Since her brother is 7 she often comes along with my 3 year-old too. It is not easy being there with the three kids alone. Since my wife is not Catholic she moonlights some Sunday mornings to leave time for her weekend.

Her church does have a nursery and a paid nursery director. The director is Catholic by the way!! As are many of her staff!! The nursery is open for all church activities from choir practice to Bible studies to midweek programs. It is much harder to volunteer at the Catholic parish where you have to hire a sitter.

Unfortunately, you are fighting a losing battle against lack of funds and resistance to change.


#18

My parish’s nursery has a full paid staff (of which my brother and sister are two paid employees!


#19

**Kevin, yours is the type of situation I was thinking of when I started this thread. **

**Most churches with good nurseries do not have a paid director or staff…They use volunteers. The church I am most familiar with has a paid Children’s Director, who is responsible for the entier children’s program…from the nursery to pre-teens. The nurseries are staffed by volunteers. The best thing is to see the men who help care for the little ones…It’s great! **

My daughter leaves her nine month old in the nursery, and attends church, knowing he is being well cared for, and that she can worship in peace. The other two (five and three) are in Sunday School Classes, and are learning about God at their own levels…

Someone posted that parents who wanted an hour to themselves to worship are not fit to be parents at all. I disagree with this…Parents need their batteries recharged, too…without having to battle two or three little guys…Very young children are not being short changed by spending that hour in a well-supervised environment that will bring Chirst’s love to them.

OTOH, there are parents who do want to have the kids at Mass with them, and I have no problem with that at all. I am happy to see whole families in the pews. However, they should have a choice…

We were attending a Presbyterian church when our two kids were small, and brought them into church with us when they were about five or six. Old enough to sit through the service. It worked well.


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