Yesterday was Good Friday, the day that we believe Jesus was crucified and died on the cross for us, and as a Catholic family we observe that day and go to mass. Since my husband had to work, I thought we would go to mass with my mom to her church…a church I attended as a child. Let me preface this story by saying we don’t take the rules of the church lightly and we do our best to observe the teachings of the church in our daily lives.
On our way to church I again reminded my kids, ages 6 and 4, what Good Friday was about, how sad of a day it was, and that I would need them to be on their best behavior. To their credit, I really didn’t think they were bold. I mean they weren’t statues, but they weren’t doing things that were very distracting either. And I have no problem taking them out of mass if I believe they are being unreasonable…I have done it before, but this just was not one of those days and I didn’t see that it was necessary.
The parish that we went to seemed to be very different than ours. My kids were the only ones their age in the entire church…something I couldn’t believe. My mom assured me that there were kids and that the children’s mass was a lot of fun, but to me that didn’t excuse others for being as cold as they were yesterday. There is no “children’s mass” on Good Friday, nor should there need to be.
At our church there are kids in just about every pew at all masses and they are welcomed with little smiles or waves by others throughout the mass. Yesterday was NOT like that. I felt so uncomfortable and unwelcome. It was very sad to me. I don’t believe the priests felt this way at all and were happy to see the kids there, but it was pretty clear that the majority of the people attending the mass did not feel the same way.
My purpose being there was not to anger or distract others. I was there for the same reason as everyone else, except I had my children with me…my lively, happy kids who don’t fully understand the meaning of Good Friday or even the troubles of our everyday life.
With church attendance falling to its lowest in four decades among Catholics, I would think that seeing young families and children in church would be a good and promising sign, not something that is frowned upon by others. Could feeling unwelcome be part of the attendance problem?
Have you ever had this happen to your family? How did you react?
But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” ~MATTHEW 19:14
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