From the Pastor's Desk: Archives

November 16, 2014

Children At Mass

Some people are bothered by the presence of children at mass. There's a short article on this subject in the current issue of America magazine. The writer attended a mass at the University of Portland. There were some noisy children present and afterwards he asked the priest about this. Here's what he got for an answer:

"I love having little kids at Mass. I love it when they are bored and pay no attention and squirm. I love it when they get distracted by a moth and spend five minutes following the moth's precarious voyage among the lights. It's all good. They are being soaked in the Mass. They hear the words and feel the reverence and, maybe, they even sense the food of the experience, you know? Sometimes, people complain and make veiled remarks about behavior and discipline and decorum and the rapid dissolution of morals today and stuff like that, but I have no patience for it. For one thing, they were little kids at Mass once, and for another, if there are no little kids at Mass, pretty soon there won't be any Masses. You have to let kids be kids.

I love having little kids at Mass. If you are distracted by a little kid being a little kid, you are not focused on what's holy. Little kids are holy. Let it be. My only rule is no extended fistfights. Other than that, I don't care about grapes and yawning. I think the cadence and the rhythm and the custom and the peace of the Mass soak into kids without them knowing it. That's why a lot of the students here come back to Mass. I think it sparks some emotional memory in them and, once they are back at Mass, then they pay attention in new ways and find new food in it. It's all good. The more the merrier. I don't mind dogs when I celebrate Mass, either. For one thing, they are generally better behaved than little kids, but for another, I figure the Mass soaks into them too, and how could that be bad? You know what I mean?"

I couldn't have said it better. And I hope that you agree.

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