… Jesus said, “Let the children come to me,
and do not prevent them;
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
– Matthew 19:14, NAB
We know that parents of young children struggle at Mass. We are either there, been there, watched it unfold in the pew ahead of us, or will be there someday. Once a child is “on the move” and vocal, there is no reasoning with a baby or toddler. “Please, for the love of everything good and holy, sit still and play quietly!” They just can’t do it.
Sometimes parents keep coming anyway, trying their best to get the most out of mass (Yay!). Sometimes they give up the fight and wait until their kids have the ability to amuse themselves for an hour. Sometimes those worshipping around them welcome them and give them encouragement to keep coming, and sometimes parents walk away feeling unwelcome and their children unwanted at mass.
These are but a few things we hear when we talk to young parents. Every time we baptize a child, we, as a community of faith, promise to help their parents to raise them in the Catholic Faith and we, in fact, “bear some responsibility for the development and safeguarding of the grace given at Baptism” (Code of Canon Law, § 1255).
As your parish, it is our intention to offer a time and a space for a Child Watch during the 10:30 AM Sunday Mass every week. Children ages 6 months to 5 years of age can be dropped off by their parents so that they can have a peace-filled hour at Mass. Parents have told us that this would be welcomed and that it would bring them to our church more often.
In order to make the Child Watch happen, we need volunteers: 4 teams of volunteers, to be precise. Each team, whose size will depend on the number of children attending, would be responsible for only one weekend a month. On your designated weekend, you would (i) attend 4:30 PM or 8:30 AM Mass, (ii) prepare age appropriate activities according to the theme of the readings for that Sunday, (iii) set up your room, (iv) attend to the children during the 10:30 AM Mass and (v) do after-care clean-up. Grandparents, empty nesters, teens, and young adults are all welcome to volunteer. As always, safety training classes will be provided and background checks will be made.
If interested, please see the participation form. This form is for children and volunteers alike and can be submitted to the Parish Office.
Therefore, encourage one another
and build one another up, as indeed you do.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:11, NAB
Saint Patrick, pray for us!