Has this happened to you?
Sunday morning. Your mission: to get the family to Mass. Just as you reach the car, the baby "sicks up" and her brother has to go to the toilet, now! After a change of clothes, and a toilet stop, you arrive at the church. By now you are bit late and, still need to park. 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 worried about disturbing the parishioner next to you, maybe even imagining a disapproving look? Your spouse is not a catholic, and spends most of the Mass taking the toddler in and out, questioning the whole point of the 'church' exercise, Does any of this sound familiar? If so, please read on: this is for you...
We, of the Toukley/Lake Munmorah Parish, are trying to make it a little easier, and more joy-filled, for young families, to fulfil their Sunday Mass Commitment. So, this is what we are offering you.
A sincere welcome
When it comes to Sunday Mass we want you here! Whether or not the kids are grumpy or restless, we honour and regard your family's presence on Sundays as a gift, never a burden. You belong here!
Remember, many of our parishioners have children and grandchildren; and we do understand what you are taking on. Thank you for making the effort to be here.
Times to suit all
People like to worship at different times, for different reasons. At St Mary's Toukley, we have four weekend Masses. The 6pm Vigil Mass on Saturday evenings, 7:30am and 9am Mass on Sunday mornings and 6pm Mass on Sunday evenings. We are very lucky, and usually have musicians to assist us in our participation in the Mass.
At St Brendan’s Mass Centre, Lake Munmorah, we have two weekend Masses, 5pm on Saturday evenings and 8am on Sunday mornings. Again we are fortunate to have musicians to assist us in our worship.
Children's Liturgy of the Word
At the 9am Sunday Family Mass, at Toukley, on the first and third Sundays of the month, the children have their own Liturgy of the Word. It is for children of primary school age to listen to, reflect on, and have activities based on the Sunday readings at their level. The children re-join their parents in the assembly at the Offertory.
Facilities - Church Seating - and Family Friendly Room
Some families with young children find it helpful to sit towards the front of the church, so that the children have a “birds eye view” of what is happening in the Ritual of the Mass. Others prefer to sit towards the back, so that they have easy access to exit the church, to tend to the many needs that may arise during the Mass. We also have a family friendly room at the back of our church, especially for parents with very young children, and who may feel more comfortable away from the parishioners, but still able to fully participate in the Mass.
The choice is yours, please sit were you will be most comfortable with your family, whether it be towards the front, the back or in our family friendly room. Please make yourself at home here in our parish family.
Monthly Morning Tea
A lovely morning tea is provided in our Parish Centre, alongside the church. We especially welcome families here, in a very relaxed atmosphere. This takes place following the 9am Mass on the first Sunday of the month and is a nice way to mingle, meet others and chat over a cuppa.
Again, a lovely morning tea is served in our breezeway, at the entrance to the Mass Centre. Families are most welcome, in a very relaxed atmosphere. This takes place after the 8am Mass on the first Sunday of each month and is a nice way to meet new people over a cuppa.
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 in the Piety store located in the entrance of the church, open before and after all weekend Masses. If you have questions or needing some help with this we encourage you to talk with or contact Fr Tomy, Fr Baby or Deacon Paul, who can assist you on your faith journey with your child.
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. They don’t learn to sit quietly for approximately 45 minutes, unless they practice, and remember, even the 'trying' in a hectic and complex world is a precious gift.