St. Matthew’s is filled with young children, especially at the 9:00am and 11:00am Sunday Masses. We appreciate the effort parents make to bring children to Mass and encourage you to relax and feel at home–even on the days when your children are at their most challenging. Children often understand more than we give them credit for, and can respond to beauty and reverence. If we are welcoming and model joy in our worship, they will know that church is a place where good things happen!
Helpful Tips For Families with Small Children
- When possible, plan to get to church early so children can go to the bathroom, get a drink, etc. before Mass begins.
- While driving or walking to church, prepare your children by explaining what happens at Mass, that it is a quiet place, where we sit (reasonably) still, whisper, talk to God silently, etc. Some families have a short prayer or a song they use to help create the habit of entering into this “different than usual” weekly event.
- If your children like books, bring a special “Sunday Bag” with children’s Bible stories, children’s guides to the Mass, etc.
- Help them feel at home. Our parish is their special place where we all gather to celebrate Jesus Christ. Let them “tour” the space before Mass and visit the statues of Mary, Joseph, St. Matthew, and other artwork. Visit the baptismal font and show them the holy water near the doors.
- Allow your children to choose where to sit. Many children prefer the front pews because they can see the altar, ambo, and the “action.”
- If possible, seat children with an adult between them.
- When all else fails, know your escape routes. The narthex (Miami St entrance) and “cry room” have plenty of area for children to move about and pews/chairs for nursing, if desired.
For more ideas, read How to Take Young Children to Mass, by South Bend-area parents Stacey and Josh Noem.
Suggestions for the Assembly
- Accommodate parents with young children who might have to make a quick exit by allowing them to have the aisle seat.
- After Mass, if it is genuine, compliment children on respectful behavior and thank them for praying at Mass. Thank parents for bringing their children–they are our future.
Suggestions on this page used with permission of Flo Merkl-Deutsch, Liturgy Coordinator, St. Clement Parish, Chicago, IL.