Toddler at Daily Mass


#1

Hey all,

Many blessings during this Lenten season. I am a regular daily mass goer with my 22 month old. Most of the time she is pretty good with the occasional bouts of noise. As you Moms and Dads know, all I do is strive for holiness and receiving our Lord in daily mass is that extra grace and push I need for patience and love for my little one.

Well today was not a great day- She slept bad last night and the noon mass was cutting it close to nap time. She made some noises- pretty loud and after mass the Pastor said that she is a distration and that when she gets loud I need to leave.
I was stunned and taken aback. “Let the little children come…” I kept thinking as I wept later on.

Anyother parents out there with a similar experience? How did you react? My emotional side says never again should we go back there (and it’s our Parish!). My husband and I put a lot of our time and energy into the parish- we teach bible study, etc… and so I am definately considering a move to a more child friendly and mom supportive parish.

What’s your thoughts?


#2

Hey all,

Many blessings during this Lenten season. I am a regular daily mass goer with my 22 month old. Most of the time she is pretty good with the occasional bouts of noise. As you Moms and Dads know, all I do is strive for holiness and receiving our Lord in daily mass is that extra grace and push I need for patience and love for my little one.

Well today was not a great day- She slept bad last night and the noon mass was cutting it close to nap time. She made some noises- pretty loud and after mass the Pastor said that she is a distration and that when she gets loud I need to leave.
I was stunned and taken aback. “Let the little children come…” I kept thinking as I wept later on.

Anyother parents out there with a similar experience? How did you react? My emotional side says never again should we go back there (and it’s our Parish!). My husband and I put a lot of our time and energy into the parish- we teach bible study, etc… and so I am definately considering a move to a more child friendly and mom supportive parish.

What’s your thoughts?


#3

Hey all,

Many blessings during this Lenten season. I am a regular daily mass goer with my 22 month old. Most of the time she is pretty good with the occasional bouts of noise. As you Moms and Dads know, all I do is strive for holiness and receiving our Lord in daily mass is that extra grace and push I need for patience and love for my little one.

Well today was not a great day- She slept bad last night and the noon mass was cutting it close to nap time. She made some noises- pretty loud and after mass the Pastor said that she is a distration and that when she gets loud I need to leave.
I was stunned and taken aback. “Let the little children come…” I kept thinking as I wept later on.

Anyother parents out there with a similar experience? How did you react? My emotional side says never again should we go back there (and it’s our Parish!). My husband and I put a lot of our time and energy into the parish- we teach bible study, etc… and so I am definately considering a move to a more child friendly and mom supportive parish.

What’s your thoughts?


#4

Hey all,

Many blessings during this Lenten season. I am a regular daily mass goer with my 22 month old. Most of the time she is pretty good with the occasional bouts of noise. As you Moms and Dads know, all I do is strive for holiness and receiving our Lord in daily mass is that extra grace and push I need for patience and love for my little one.

Well today was not a great day- She slept bad last night and the noon mass was cutting it close to nap time. She made some noises- pretty loud and after mass the Pastor told me that she is a distraction and that when she gets loud I need to leave.
I was stunned and taken aback. “Let the little children come…” I kept thinking as I wept later on.

Anyother parents out there with a similar experience? How did you react? My emotional side says never again should we go back there (and it’s our Parish!). My husband and I put a lot of our time and energy into the parish- we teach bible study, etc… and so I am definately considering a move to a more child friendly and mom supportive parish.

What’s your thoughts?


#5

Oh my gosh, that is horrible, our parish Priest is the total opposite, he says “don’t take them out” of course unless we feel we just have to as parents but he has told us mom’s many times at our mom’s bible study at church that he is not bothered one bit and anyone who is can take it up with him and he will explain how important it is that the children stay as much as possible during Mass, he says that the child receives grace just from being at Mass and that they must learn how to behave in Mass and taking them out all the time only teaches them that if they act up mom or dad will take them out… I feel so awful for you, I would be so hurt too and I would cry too… shame on your priest, that is not acceptable behavior… doesn’t he realize in saying this to a person you can easily turn them off to the Catholic faith? Not that I mean you but I know if that happened to my sister in law who is new to the Catholic faith… she would stop going to Mass at all… shame on him, I feel awful for you and you are in my prayers…(((hugs))):slight_smile:


#6

I am a Mom too, and I feel for you! When we feel like our children are being rejected we feel rejected. I mean after all we’re a package deal!! It also seems against the culture of life and the pro-life mentality to encourage people to listen to God when deciding family size, and then turn around and ask someone with a family to leave.

However, before you opt to leave please make sure your pastor wasn’t just mentioning this at the request of another parishoner. I can’t imagine he was asking you not to bring your child to Mass, or to skip Mass. I would hope he was just asking you to take your child into the back if they were disturbing others. Sometimes what we think isn’t a loud noise actually sounds louder to others, especially in a large building such as many Catholic Churchs. I know I have experienced this at our Church.


#7

What a shame. I would clarify what he meant, whether that you leave for a minute and gain control, or leave and go home. I believe stepping out is a healthy thing, especially when accompained by a swat. It doesn’t take long until the trheat of leaving will silence a child.

I am fortunate to have a priest that lets ever parent deal with things as they see fit. Some discipline in the pew, some outside, some in the cry room and some not at all. The other day I heard some active kids I had not seen before and I thought what a wonderful thing that someone has returned to the Church, even if it did take a few months to get the kids used to Mass.

Cheer up. Train a child and you will enjoy the benefits for years. I am only a couple months ahead of you with my youngest.


#8

Attending daily mass is great. If only we all had the ability!

Would you be able to avail yourself of the cry room (if any) if your little one acts up again?

I also like pnewton’s tip above about teaching and all but guaranteeing proper behavior of children in mass.

Without having specific knowledge of the event in question, I can’t know if it was justified or not, but speaking from experience, crying/fiddling/jumping around by kids is detrimental to many daily mass assistants who are more likely to be affected by noise or what they consider improper behavior than at a typical Sunday mass. I wouldn’t be surprised if the priest received a complaint, if this happened more than once.

Whatever you do, don’t stop going. The mass is the greatest prayer you can offer.


#9

At our parish, because the goal is to create a space of quiet peace and meditation, we do ask parents to take their kids out to the Narthex when they are acting out, since so many people come to our parish out of the fuss, noise and rush of the city - it’s nice for them to be able to find some peace and quiet, so our goal is to maintain this.

I am quite sure that your priest didn’t mean that you should go home - I would understand “take the child out” to mean out to the Narthex to quiet the child, and then right back in again when the child is calmed down.


#10

We have a bunch of moms with their little ones at our daily Mass. Sometimes the little ones fuss, but usually are pretty good. We don’t have a cry room, if we did have a set up with a speaker and some comfy chairs, it might make it more inviting for the moms to go there. I can’t really blame them for not wanting to leave Mass after making the effort, especially with all that goes into bringing children out.
Please don’t stop attending daily Mass, it is a blessing for you and your child. I am sure your pastor meant no offense to you, and was anticipating complaints from others and maybe even feels you are more approachable or understanding about the situation. Take your baby out when the baby fusses, and remember soon enough she will be used to Mass and sit through it following your good example.


#11

I like your response jmcrae - then again I usually do like what you have to say! :slight_smile:

I visit a particular Church once in awhile (it is quite a drive for us) and one of the reasons I love going there is because there is complete Holy silence before, during, and after mass. It’s beautiful, and everyone present is able to pray or meditate, and hear the mass (not always the case at my own parish). And there are always a ton of children present - in the cry room.

I would never suggest that someone not go to mass because they have a child, that is so counter productive and just plain wrong in so many ways. But only that they remember that they are indeed now a “package deal”, and it’s not always possible to sit with the rest of the congregation when the child is acting up.

I’m sorry if your priest wasn’t exactly warm in his approach to you, but don’t just leave because of it. Find another way to manage the situation and I’m sure everything will be fine for everyone.

~Liza


#12

Knowing what you did about your toddler’s lack of sleep the day before mass, I’m wondering why you opted to risk “cutting it close” to nap time and inflict the inevitable consequences of your toddler’s sleep deprivation on several dozen adults attending mass. I’m also not sure why you took such offense to what your pastor said. He was conveying a simple truth–a noisy 22 m.o. is a distraction during mass, and consideration of other parishoners should have led you to the same conclusion to remove her until she was calm again.

[quote=]…My emotional side says never again should we go back there (and it’s our Parish!). My husband and I put a lot of our time and energy into the parish- we teach bible study, etc… and so I am definately considering a move to a more child friendly and mom supportive parish…
[/quote]

This is one of those times when responsibility and thoughtfulness requires you to resist indulging your raw emotions and defensiveness. To let such a minor event get you so bent out of joint that you would even consider switching parishes sounds not only irrational, but somewhat immature. Had your pastor singled you out and publicly reprimanded you in front of the congregation, you might have had a beef. But it sounds as if he was discrete in conveying the message. Accept it with some humility and grace and consider that he has to consider the needs and preferences of the ENTIRE parish, not just the mommies w/ toddlers.


#13

I agree that the priest probably meant for you to step out until the little one quiets down, and then come back.

I’ll tell you a funny story about my DD (now 23 years old). I started cantoring funerals when she was almost 3 years old. Most of the time I had no babysitter, so I took her with me and sat her down in the front pew and asked her to “make Mommy happy and proud.” Most of the time she did, and soon she learned the hymns and responses and warmed the hearts of lots of mourners. We had one priest who was the poster child for liturgical abuse and cult of personality. Without fail, when he had the funeral Mass, she would cry. I was secretly proud of her taste!

Betsy


#14

I attend a college parish where newlyweds and young couples often bring their infants to mass.

Its inspiring to some of us to think, “Hey, in a few years I can be there bringing a daughter and beautiful wife to mass.”

Every once in a while an infant gets hungry or a toddler gets fussy so the mom or dad just takes him to the back of the church until he calms down. There they can participate in mass and everything else, but the volume reaching most people is decreased. They do that not because they’re not welcome or anything of the sort, they just want to facilitate a calm atmosphere. They return to their seat when their son is calm (or sometimes play hand off the child if its time for communion.)

You don’t know who you’re giving hope to by bringing your child to mass. You don’t know who’s day your child made by smiling at someone in the pew behind you.


#15

First of all it is God’s house…what He, not the priest, says goes…People should be understanding but are not. I know when I have taking my litlle girl to morning Mass the elderly people enjoyed her presence. I supposed if your daughter gets way too noisey then take her out of the enviornment for a little while. That usually works for us!


#16

I think it is lamentable that at my parish you rarely if ever hear a baby cry anymore. This is NOT because the babies are well behaved and quiet. Where are they? :frowning:

In Christ - J.M.J.
Mapleoak


#17

Thank you for your responses.

I posted at Catholic Answers so as to weigh my disordered emotions. I am also pregnant and know how my emotions can cloud judgement.

I have many times taken my daughter to the back of the chuch when she was screaming to no avail or cying, yesterday was a bit different. And I “risked taking her to mass” because of the graces we all need to continue being the hand and feet of Christ to all around.

The priest admonished me in front of several people, and my good friend, another mom heard and was also upset… But that really is besides the point.

The Lord has blessed me with another opportunity to unite my sufferings with Him on the Holy cross and how so appropriate during Lent. I will respect those at mass who seek to come to our Lord in “peace and silence” but will not let the enemy tempt to be so much as to withdraw completly from daily mass. I will continue to go but to another chuch and pray hard for everyone involved.

I pray that I may grow in humility and use this experience to sanctify my family.

“Children are the supereme gift of marriage.”- Pope Paul VI


#18

Maybe you can find another parish were they might find joy with you bringing your child. If they want their silence give it to them. As for me, I’d be more than delighted to have a young one crying at Mass. If I want silence, I know where I can get it and at what times.


#19

IslandOak, I am really saddened by the lack of charity in your post. I don’t know if you have any children of your own or not, but to say that a young mother “inflicts” her child’s noise on others at Mass if really inappropriate. We moms do the best we can. But young children are noisy, active, and totally unaware of their noise and activity. No amount of telling by any adult is going to change this, only time and the dawn of reason can effect it.

I must also respectfully take issue with your comments in the second paragraph. Mommies with toddlers ARE part of the ENTIRE parish. If the priest could hear your uncharitable thoughts towards the children of the parish, perhaps he would find your thoughts too distracting and would ask you to leave as well. Sitting in our pew assessing the inappropriateness of everyone else’s behavior is not what the Mass is about.

We are all called to be participants in the sacrifice of the Mass. Whether the noise is coming out of our mouths, or is just spinning around in our mind’s judgments of our neighbor, God welcomes us. And we should charitably do the same with each other.

Gertie the Grumpy


#20

Well, one of those places that we should be able to find quiet is at Mass.

Jesus wants us to “let the little children come,” but I don’t think that He means for us to drag them, kicking and screaming.

Children are capable of the same kind of awe, reverence, and worship that adults are, and it would be a sin to prevent them from doing this - but at the times when they are not inclined to do so, it’s good to take them out somewhere that they can calm down, and enter into a prayerful, reverent frame of mind so that they too can be fully present to the Mass as it is unfolding before them.

I think that a lot of modern children are in the mindset of being bored to death while waiting for Mommy and Daddy to finish being at Mass; a lot of them don’t realize that they, too, are invited to pray and be reverent at Mass - that it’s not about “how can I entertain myself while Mommy is praying,” but rather, “how can I pray, too?”


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