Wow, didn’t expect such a lively discussion from my original post.
A few things to clarify my original post - we have a two-year old and we often sit in the “cry room” at the back of the church. Needless to say, a missalette is indispensable at times, not just because of our own child, but because of the other children in the room as well as the volume of the speaker.
Also, our church is very big and often times, even with great hearing, at the back of the church, and with elderly readers, its almost impossible to hear clearly. There are a number of factors during a “realistic” church setting that inhibit hearing the readers clearly.
The Deacon of our church called me back and explained the church’s reasoning - that parishoner’s reliance on reading was detracting from the intended experience, that other church’s don’t even use them and that he assured me that the hearing devices are great.
I told him that I understood the intended experience but I believe it should be balanced with the consideration of a realistic church setting. Its a great ideal, but not the reality of mass today - try experiencing the spoken word with a toddler throwing a fit or the person in front of you hawking up a lung.
One of my main points to him was, “Do the parishoners get a say?”, he said that they do and that he would take my concerns back to the panel that made the decision.
I recommended that a good compromise would be to keep a number of missalettes at the back of the church so that people that needed, or wanted them, could still have access.
I’m 34 and have used missalettes all of my life, so people that state, “that’s the way it was in the '70’s” isn’t really cutting it for me. Our missalettes, this is in most congregations of Abq, NM, have the daily readings, alternate versions of readings, all the mass prayers and the church also has a separate hymn book.
My belief is that the church should inform the parishoners of how the mass should be experienced and encourage that but have available the missalettes, not simply make a decision without input and take them out.