Jared Zimmerer and his wife have four little ones, which can make Mass a little more interesting than usual. Today, Jared offers some off the cuff tips on how to navigate the practicalities of attending Mass with a crowd of kids in tow.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the most captivating event in which human beings are allowed to take part. A portal opens up from the high heavens and the angels and saints join in to hear the most sacred words ever said, “This is my body.” If we truly understood and perceived what occurs at the altar, the Catholic churches would be more packed than any Super Bowl you could ever imagine. But besides immersion into a mystical and otherworldly moment, something else transpires for the parents of small children. I myself have four kids. My oldest is 5 years old and my youngest is 11 months. So, needless to say, the Mass for me often turns into a trial; my heartstrings are tugged between the goodness of the Sacrament to the emphatic physical practice of holding back my wrath on the little ones that I love.
Here in Texas we have a saying that we use when it’s nearly impossible to keep something still: “It’s like herding cats.” If you’ve ever tried to herd a big group of cats, you might as well scratch yourself and nose dive into the dirt because this is the most probable outcome. While my children are very well-behaved most of the time, the Mass creates a ‘cat’ mentality within them. After many years of herding my children, my wife and I have discovered a few strategies that have worked for us.
...But your neighbors do. Word on Fire blog contributor Father Damian Ference explores the always colorful (and low-cut) topic of Summer Fashions at Mass. And while God might not have a problem with those sweat pants, chances are someone else will.
Have you heard it yet? If not, chances are you will in the next few weeks. And if you don’t hear it from the pulpit, you might read it in the parish bulletin. And if you don’t find it in your pastor’s column, maybe yours is the community where the parish council or liturgy commission has decided to place signs in the vestibule. Yes, summer is almost here, which means so is summer dress, and with the change of seasons and the change of attire usually follows the annual reminder: please dress appropriately for Mass.
There was a time not so long ago when folks just knew what was appropriate attire for church and what wasn’t. They didn’t need a reminder. For instance, when I look back to pictures of the crowds at Cleveland Indians games from the 1950s, the men were wearing the same outfits to the ball game that they would wear to Mass on Sunday mornings—dress pants, a shirt, a tie and hat. In other words, the culture and the church were on the same page in regard to proper attire. The same, I am told, is true of air travel. There was a time when people actually dressed up in their Sunday best to fly from one city to another, whether they were flying in first class or coach...