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Kim wrote:

Hi, guys —

I was raised in the Methodist church. Eight years ago I married a Catholic man so I went through RCIA and I am now Catholic.

I love it with one exception. In the Methodist church, when a baby or child cries or acts out, their parents take them out of the sanctuary so as not to disturb others in the church.

Sunday after Sunday at Mass, I can barely concentrate due to the loud [children/babies] that stay in the sanctuary. This happens at most every church we have attended.

  • Can you tell me why priests don't kindly suggest (at the beginning of the Mass) that noisy [babies/children] should be taken out so the rest of us can hear and pay attention to what they are saying?

Thanks!

Kim

  { Can you tell me why priests don't kindly suggest that noisy children be taken out from the Mass? }

Mike replied:

Hi Kim,

I'm not a priest, but I will do my best to address your question. I can empathize with your situation as I am single and have been in a similar situations at Mass. One of the difficulties the homilist has is being able to address the pastoral, as well as spiritual needs, of his parish.

They have to some how address an array of faithful of different ages who have a multitude callings like:

  • those married with many children
  • those married with no children
  • those who are single parents with children
  • those that are just single
  • those discerning a religious vocation to the Church
  • and more.

Many parishes have a crying room for infants and small kids so if many complain, the celebrant should do as you suggest and mention something from the pulpit at the beginning of Mass.

In addition, some parishes handle this situation by having Family Masses. This Mass is intended for Catholic families with infants and children.

For that reason, my pastor welcomes and enjoys the cry of children and infants at these Masses — remember you were once one of those crying ones. : )

I go to a family Mass at 9:00am — so I know, going in, it is intended for families with infants and children. Although I value holy silence in Church before, during, and after the Mass, I have to put up with a singer that thinks he's Pavarotti and an organist that thinks he's Liberace. The singer uses the Church as a music hall for giving music lessons to the kids and the organist continues to play even after the Mass has ended. This obviously doesn't give me that silence I desire.

I don't say anything because, as I've matured, I've learned the importance of picking and choosing the best fights to get involved in plus, in my opinion, we have to many childish family fights in the Church — who needs another. Some times, you have to make a small sacrifice to get what you need.

I recently went to an earlier 7:30am Mass and found the setting much more conducive to my personal prayer life.

I hope this helps,

Mike

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi, Kim —

In my experience crying babies have never bothered me much as the priest. Very rarely do the parents not eventually take out the loudest babies.

When I am distracted in prayer or Mass, I stop that distraction by praying for the cause. Next time turn your annoyance into prayer for the parents and that may help you refocus and concentrate on the Mass.

Fr. Jonathan

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