Sunday, June 30, 2013


So this last Father's Day Mass felt like what it must have been like in the 1950s.  No Latin or anything like that - I'm talking about babies.  Babies, babies, babies!  It was like the end of the world was coming and God was trying to use up His baby materials.  I swear every guy there had a baby in his arms.  It was amazing.  Under the usual sound of people and books was this murmur of "goos" and "gah gahs".  Perhaps someone announced a "bring your baby to Mass" day.  I had to check the bulletin to make sure that no one had accidental put a notice in saying, "Bring a baby, get a free car" or something.
And that constant sound of babies I KNOW set some people on edge.  To many good and holy people who are trying earnestly to follow Vatican II mandates of full, conscious, and active participation at Mass, the constant sound of babies seem a little like this:
I know because I've had mothers, fathers, and baby sitters come up to me and say that when they've been at Mass they have been seen people turn around and look at them like this:
And truly my heart goes out to both parties - parents who want to get to Mass and others who want undisturbed, community prayer.  And of course there are screamers who might bless the whole community by visiting the cry room or the lobby.  (Yes, I've spoken with pediatricians who wouldn't take their kid to the cry room if it meant martyrdom.  I'm just saying.)  But who can predict the sudden outburst in the middle of a homily?
Just this past weekend I was standing out in the lobby waiting for Mass to end and a lady with about the best behaved kids going was standing next to me with her child that was getting a bit "active" to be in the body of the Church and he let out this blood curdling scream completely out of the blue followed shortly thereafter by own startled scream.  After determining nobody was being murdered we had a good laugh about it.
But truly, here is what I hear most of the time when there are many babies in church:
That is because babies grow up.
It means that there is a future, that we are still alive, and that God being a good and loving God will give them screaming children of their own one day with whom they will be embarrassed at Mass making the need to give "dagger eyes" completely superfluous and not nearly as effective.


Anonymous said...

I used to be one of those giving dagger looks to parents with not so quiet kids at mass, blaming them for my distraction, but I grew to appreciate having those kids at Mass, God forbid we adopt the habit of our protestant cousins and drop off the kids in the day care room before we head to Mass, they have a right to be in His presence as much as anyone of us. I find it hopeful and reassuring to see kids at Mass, they are the future of our church and someday they will be our priests, religious and laity. I only wish we see the parents themselves more at Church, not just for Father's Day.

Anonymous said...

I think it's just their way of "baby praying"! Love it!
Although one little one did sound like he was practicing his projecting for the opera. What a set of lungs!!! If God didn't hear him, then we are ALL in big trouble with our quiet little prayers.

"Let the little children come to Me!"

MaryofSharon said...

Funny cartoon as always!

How very blessed you are, Fr. V., to have a church full of babies!!!

There's not much sadder than a church with few if any babies. More and more churches, especially in Europe, are almost empty, very sparsely populated with mostly women far past child-bearing age. That is a sad, even frightening situation.

What a hopeful thought that in another generation our churches will still be full of the babies of today's babies.

Anonymous said...

Before joining St. Sebastian we attended a church where there were literally almost NO babies. For all practical purposes, that Church no longer exists. Yet at St. Sebastian I have seen Mothers reduced to tears by the unkind looks and comments (!) of people toward their little ones. I will never understand why those who want to truly concentrate on the Mass simply do not SIT IN THE FRONT OF THE CHURCH.

Sarah said...

Thank you Father for the welcoming attitude towards children. I have often thought that "Suffer the little children unto me", might more accurately be said as, 'Suffer, while the children come unto me'. I've also decided that from about age 18 mos. to (I'm hoping) 4 1/2 years mass attendance doubles as penance.

Recently we were traveling and attended mass in a small church where my husband and I alone skewed the average age sharply downward. Our two boys were the only children, and they were their normal selves. After mass the priest and several parishioners came to talk to us and express their delight at seeing children at mass, and sorrow that children in their families rarely were taken to mass.

It can be far too easy when children are young to use their active natures and lack of volume control as excuses to skip mass. Once that becomes a habit, like many habits, it can be hard to break. So, to all parents: Keep the Faith! (And to any who are suffering the disruptions of others in mass: Offer it Up.)
May God bless you.