Has this happened to you?
Sunday morning. Your mission: to get the family to Mass. Just as you reach the car, the baby has a spill. Your eldest child grazes her knee and her younger brother has to go to the toilet. Now! After two changes of clothes, a toilet stop, bandaids and tears, you arrive at church. By now you are late and parking spots are hard to find. You walk into church, your eldest whining 'I don't wanna go to church!' Mass continues, but the kids are restless and you are dead tired after being up all night with the baby. You are anxious about disturbing the parishioner next to you (perhaps you were imagining that disapproving look?) Your spouse is not a Catholic and spends most of the Mass taking the toddler in and out and questioning the whole point of the 'church' exercise, an opinion verbalished on the journey home. Which starts a fight. At some point you are tempted to say, 'Mass is just too hard!'
Does any of this sound familar? If so, please read on for this is for you...
Here at Our Lady of Dolours Chatswood we are trying to make it a little easier and more joy-filled for young families to fulfil their Sunday Mass commitment. So here is our offering to you.
A sincere welcome
When it comes to Sunday Mass, we want you there! Whether or not the kids are grumpy or restless we regard your family's presence on Sundays as a gift, never a burden. You belong. Thank you for making the effort to be there.
A child-friendly liturgy
People like to worship in different ways. At Our Lady of Dolours we have five Sunday Masses, each with its own special character. The 5:30pm Vigil Mass on Saturday evenings and the 10:30am Mass on Sundays are traditional-style liturgies with singing. The 7:30am Sunday Mass is a quiet Mass, without music. Our 5:30pm Sunday evening is a youth Mass in a contemporary style. The 9:00am Sunday Family Mass is especially suitable for families with young children. The 9:00am Family Mass includes:
Children's Liturgy of the Word
Children have their own Liturgy of the Word. It is for children from preschool age to 8 years old and is held on the 1st, 2nd and 4th Sundays. They listen to, reflect on, and have activities based on Sunday readings at their level. The children re- join the congregation after the Creed.
The children's choir sings on the 3rd Sunday of each month. All children are welcome to join in. Just meet in the choir area (just right of the altar as you face it) at 8:30am, before Mass for practice.
Children are rostered to proclaim the Scripture readings and the Prayers of the Faithful on the 3rd Sunday of each month. If your child is able to do this or would like to learn, please contact Angela via e-mail: Angela.Hague@bbcatholic.org.au
Can't keep all that in your head? Don't worry. Just turn up for the Family Mass at 9:00am on Sundays and everything unfolds.
Children and Christmas
Every year we have a Children's Christmas Mass at 5:30pm Christmas Eve.
Need more information?
For further enquiries or information on Children's Liturgy of the Word, Children's Choir, Children Readers or the Children's Christmas Mass please contact Angela Hague via e-mail: Angela.Hague@bbcatholic.org.au or phone: 9410 9033
Some families with young children find it helpful to sit on the Kirk Street side of the church (to the right of the altar as you face it). There is extra space for baby strollers, etc. There is also a small grassy area just outside the Kirk Street exit.
Learning about the Mass
We encourage you to teach your children about the meaning of the Mass. Not only is this important for their faith journey, it will help them to enjoy and engage better with the ritual of the Mass. There are children's Mass books available for a few dollars from the Piety store (located in the church foyer, open after all Sunday Masses.) There are also Children's books available for loan (while you are at mass) in a basket outside the Parish Libary. Please return these books to the basket before leaving the church after mass.
See you at church!
As Catholics, the Mass is our greatest act of worship and most sacred celebration of community, of what it means to be the Body of Christ. Don't let your children miss out on this central aspect of their faith formation. Come to Mass, get involved, set an example by the practice of your own faith. Do your best as a Catholic parent. Parents' experience is that children behave better at Mass when they are used to attending Mass every week. And remember, even the 'trying' in a hectic and complex world is a precious gift. See you at church!