Wednesday, March 21, 2012

An open letter to you, those who glare at me and my wife when my kids are a bit noisy during Mass...

Dear parishioner,

I understand and am fully aware that the Mass is a very important aspect of Catholic life and it is during the Mass we are the most intimiate with our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am the father of two young children and yes: they can be a bit noisy at times. My son likes to play games during Mass and figure out different ways to get me to look at him and make me laugh. My son has inherited his father's sense of humour. My daughter, being a bit younger, is finding it a bit hard to sit still for an extended period of time and this is largely due to her age. She gets a bit cranky towards the middle and the end of Mass and sometimes this can be dealt with by taking her outside for a few minutes to calm her.

What I would ask you for, my fellow parishioner, is not your evil looks or glares or a "tsk, tsk", but your prayers and understanding, because I do notice that you often have children with you at Mass yourself. Your children too were young and probably as noisy and cranky during Mass. Did I give you evil looks or glares or a "tsk, tsk"? No, I empathised. I did not have children of my own back then but I imagined how difficult it must have been to keep your children quiet and attentive during Mass. I ask for the same understanding from you.

My inability to keep my children calm and quiet 100 per cent of the time is not indicative of my parenting ability. I am a good parent and my wife and I do try very hard to keep our children calm and quiet during the Mass while at the same time modelling good behaviour for them so they can see how to behave during the Mass. My hope is that my example is witnessed by them so that they, when they are older, can participate in the Mass fully and appreciate the wonderful gift we have been given in the sacrifice of the Mass.

I am trying to harness a love for the Church, for the Mass, and for Jesus Christ in my children, but your glares and judgements do not help. Please keep in mind the words of our Lord in Luke's gospel:

"But Jesus called them to him, saying, 'Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God.'" - Luke 18:16

If in the future my children bother you then please do me the service of approaching me after Mass and I will take measures to ensure that that behaviour is not repeated or - at the very least - can be reined in.

Yours lovingly in Christ,

Stephen C. Spiteri

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