My wife had our first child a few days ago and we want to go together with the baby to Mass. But we want to avoid exposure to lots of germy parishioners. Our church does not have a cry room, but it does have a back that is closed off by doors and windows. The speakers go to the back so you can kneel, pray, etc. with everyone else. Would sitting back there fulfill the participation at Sunday Mass requirement? Or is it necessary to be present within the sanctuary itself?
You are new parents. You are not obligated, at least not the both of you. One of you stay home with the baby and keep that child away from our nasty germs. Just being in the vicinity is enough. The other parent can go on behalf of the entire family. (Hint: Daddy may be in a better position to go than Mommy)
It is sufficient to be in the narthex of the church, especially since it is your intention to be present at Mass.
However I question whether your newborn would really be less exposed back there.
I would recommend you go to two different Masses (vigil Mass…for example and Sunday day…)
That is what my wife and I did (when my wife was able after the c-section). And what we will do when she gives birth next year again.
We are not allowed to give “medical advice” here --but not sure this would fit here for it is not about some treatment so I think I can say that our doctor was in agreement with such. For the very first months are key to protect the little one (hence not taking him/her to Church beyond Baptism - and then keeping them away from crowds etc–and cry room would not be better --lots of germy kids!)). You can ask your doctor…
It is irrelevant where you sit.
We have 10 Masses every Sunday to accommodate the high Mass attendance in our parish. Even then each Mass is overflowing and plastic seats are provided for people to sit outside the Church, including on the street itself. The Church has speakers which means all those outside can follow and participate in the Mass.
Also note -that your *Pastor * can even dispense from the Sunday Mass and there are times when there is a serious reason one may be excused without such a dispensation Your Pastor may also guide you regarding what is a serious reason if need be or just give the dispensation.
2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.119 Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.
Again as I noted above* I would not take the child in these early months to Church* and the like -except for Baptism. I would just go to two different Masses – and as you know - you need more grace with a newborn
I know it will be difficult especially at Christmas not to be there together -but that is part of being new parents And the quiet Mass will do you each good!
Traditionally, mother and child at minimum do not go to Mass for the first forty days at the end of which is the churching of mother and child. This is still practiced in Byzantine Catholic parishes.
It is not sinful to protect your newborn from sickness. Ask your priest if you need reassuring. You stood a lot closer to the altar than most could have at World Youth Day. Don’t worry.
Many nursing mothers would not be willing to leave newborns for the time it takes to get to Mass. I certainly would not have left any of my 5 children at home while I went to Mass. I carried the babies wrapped up in a sling and did not take them out, which minimized exposure to germs. I chose to go to Mass with the baby, but caring for young children is alone a perfectly legitimate reason to miss Mass. If you are concerned about germs or noise or a fussy baby, it is ok to stay home.
On another note, I have spent many years attending Mass from the back of the church, outside, or occasionally, when I have given up entirely, in the church basement, waiting for everybody to finish. This is a phase of life. Depending upon how many children one has, and how closely they are spaced, it could last a very, very long time. I spent 10 years in that phase of life. My youngest is now 3 and is generally well behaved in church. I think it has now been 4 months since I’ve had to leave the church due to noisy or misbehaving children. (I do still have the occasional trip to the bathroom). I don’t want to start yet another “do young children belong in Mass?” debate, but all those years have totally been worth it and I’m so glad that we always taken our children with us to the Divine Liturgy.
As I noted in forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=11523473&postcount=6 there is a real concern for illness for a newborn - especially during flu season-the season we are in now in much of the English speaking world–I* very much urge any with newborns to talk with ones doctor*. And there are ways of both getting to Mass (one at vigil, or at two Masses on Sunday) or there can possibly be serious reasons where say one is excused from attending or even not serious reasons where one can dispensed by ones Pastor.
There are on occasion outdoor Masses held, and which can be seen from long distances. The question then would be how close to you have to be in order to make it “count” for Sunday.