Taking my host-kids to Mass with me

[size=][size=][FONT=“Georgia”]I am living with a non-Catholic host family for a year, and the kids have begun to ask if they can come to Sunday Mass with me sometimes. (There’s a five year old and twin seven year olds). Their parents aren’t religious, but they don’t mind the kids coming along with me. Each time they’ve asked I’ve let them come. The boy even said that from now on he wants to come with me every single week! (and that he’s going to be Catholic too.)

The problem is that while I am really glad to see the kids expressing interest in religion, and going to church on Sunday (really, really glad!)… I honestly don’t like it when they come along. They haven’t ever been to Mass before, so they don’t know what’s going on, or what to do, don’t know what the “bread” is. When I bow they bend over to see what I’m looking at. And there’s the fact that they’re kids. So when they come to Mass with me, I can’t focus at all on the Mass. I end up being so distracted by the fact that he just sat down, and she’s turned around looking at the choir… that I find it really hard to actually pray. Mass means the world[/size] to me- I await it all week long, and it really makes me sad not being able to really enter into it while I’m there.

So should I let the kids continue to come with me? I can explain to them that it’s really Jesus on the altar, and that they have to try to sit still, but the fact is they’ll always be kids. I hate the thought of telling them no though… am I really going to deny children the opportunity to attend Mass?? They’re asking me to take them! You never know how this could impact their whole lives.

What should I do??[/FONT][/size]

You aren’t going to tell them “No you can’t come” nor do you have to lose all your personal time in mass. You need to teach them proper behavior. The children have expressed an interest in mass. You need to basically tell them how to behave, and that they must behave. If they do not, they can’t keep coming with you. Then, you can proceed over the next couple of weeks correcting them when they are inappropriate and reminding them that they will not be able to come with you again if they act like that. Through the whole process, keep reminding and encouraging the children to talk to God in their minds, and adore Jesus in the tabernacle and especially during the Consecration.

If they never try to keep behaving well, then you simply tell that particular child that he/she can’t join you next time (in a kind way) but might get another chance someday.

If the five year old has had no teaching, then in my opinion he or she is too young.

The 7 year olds? If they don’t behave when together, then consider taking each one alternate weeks.

Maybe you should try teaching them about the Mass at home…BEFORE you actually get to Mass?? That is IF the parents don’t mind!
There are lots of great age-appropriate resources available, especially online…to help explain to children what is taking place at Mass and why.
Can you bring up EWTN.com on your computer or on You Tube and let them watch the Mass…then you could explain in a regular voice what is happening and why. If they really are curious and have questions, this would be a great way to answer without the distraction while you are actually at Mass.

Maybe you could act out the postures, etc…make it a teachable moment. And the child that remembers the actions and the “whys” best, is the one that gets to attend with you first??

Just some thoughts :slight_smile:

Good luck and God Bless!!

~~PR

A few days before you take the kids to Mass, sit them down and explain the proper way to act while they are there. No talking, sit/stand when everyone else does (they are so young, I would allow them to sit when everyone else kneels) and if the seven year olds are good readers, have them follow along with the prayers. Ask them if they have any questions now, so you can explain it to them. As long as they are not disturbing anyone, then it should be all right if they look around (they are children and it is to be expected that they might get a little restless). Maybe, you can arrive early next week and give them a little tour of the chuch and a chance to ask more questions, before Mass starts. Reinforce your conversation with them before you leave for church and make sure they understand the rules. It won’t be perfect, they will forget, but keep on reminding them before you go and they will get it. Look at this as good training for when you are a parent and bring your own children to Mass!

Now you know what it’s like to be a parent!

Explain to them- perhaps a little at a time- what is expected before going to mass, and that you will answer questions after.

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