We aim to be CHILD FRIENDLY and I (Fr Tom) encourage you to bring young children and babes in arms to Mass; but it is also important that everyone (including the parents of those young children) gain as much as they can spiritually from the Mass.
Parents’ experience has shown that the following are some good ideas –
Sit in the centre aisles, so that your children can see what is going on. Once they reach a certain age you can point out what is happening and encourage them with words such as ‘I would like to hear what Fr Tom is saying’.
Some may be able to join in the singing as well.
Try the 9.30am Mass if you do not already come to it. You may feel more relaxed in the company of other young parents. All the children are invited to the altar steps to say the Our Father, and from the age of 3 are encouraged to join the children’s liturgy group.
Bring to church hard toys made of plastic, metal or wood. These are noisy when bumped on benches or dropped on the floor. There is a selection of soft toys and books in the porch.
Allow your children to run up and down the aisles (although I realise that sometimes a ‘break away’ could happen).
Feel embarrassed if your child cries or has a tantrum. However, if they will not stop, make a temporary retreat to the porch. I say ‘temporary’ because they should come back into church as soon as they have settled.
FOR THOSE WITHOUT CHILDREN TRY NOT TO LOOK UPSET OR STERN if a child makes a noise. Be sympathetic and smile if you can.
I am sure that parents will make an even greater effort if you are on their side. We would like the children at Mass to be welcomed by the whole Parish family.