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Children at Mass

Dear St. Catherine Parish Family,

Last week I received a letter from a woman who was visiting St. Catherine's with her children for Mass. She related to me a very unfortunate incident that happened regarding her children. She told me that she had her small children with her who were making some noise during Mass, and that she was treated very poorly by several of our parishioners who made her feel very guilty for simply having her children with her. She mentioned that the children were not unruly but were simply active in the pews, and although she was trying to keep them as quiet as she could, nonetheless, the children were still a little noisy. At one point, she tried to move to the cry room, but it was already full, so she returned to her pew at the back of the church. This woman expressed to me that she had certainly never been treated in this way at her own parish, and that she had felt much more welcome at other parishes she had visited.

Although I suspect that this incident was a result of just a few of our parishioners who were displeased with the behavior of these children, and I certainly do not know all the circumstances involved, I want to be sure to state that I want our parish to be one that welcomes children and encourages the whole family to come to Mass together. Certainly the cry room is available for families who would like to use it, and if a child truly becomes loud and is crying for an extended period of time, it would be appropriate for the parent to take the child to the narthex, but under normal circumstances, we ought to welcome families with children in the church.

I am so grateful to our parents who bring their children to Mass and help them to begin to appreciate the significance of the Mass from a very young age. I know it can be difficult sometimes to keep your children totally still and quiet during Mass, but their presence is important. I pray that we all might be more considerate and patient with one another as we strive to grow in faith together and to build up the Lord's Church.

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