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.
Our experience has shown that the following are good ideas:
DO 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.
DO 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 Junior Church.
DO NOT bring to church any hard toys made of plastic, metal or wood. These are noisy when bumped on benches or dropped on the floor. If you would like to bring colouring pencils or crayons please just bring a small selection. There are books available on the shelf in the Narthex which you are welcome to borrow should you need them.
DO NOT allow your children to run up and down the aisles or play in the side chapels and side altars. Of course the occasional ‘break away’ could happen but they do have to gradually learn that they should be quiet in church.
DO NOT feel embarrassed if your child cries or has a tantrum. However, if they will not stop then please make a temporary retreat to the Narthex. I say ‘temporary’ because you should come back into church as soon as your child has settled.
FOR THOSE WITHOUT CHILDREN
TRY NOT TO LOOK UPSET OR STERN IF A CHILD MAKES A NOISE. Be sympathetic and smile. 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.