An Open Letter To People Who Attend Catholic Mass


Hi. It’s me. The mom with the three kids in the back of the church. You know, the one you keep looking for. The one that is distracting you from today’s message. I notice you turning your head. I notice your disapproving glare.

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I’m trying really hard to calm my one-year-old as I tend to my 7 and 9-year-old and make sure they stay on course with the mass. It’s important for my family to be here too – despite how difficult it is for you to concentrate.

My baby wants to run. He wants to play. He wants to babble because he’s learning to make new sounds. And sometimes he remembers that this beautiful and massive building echoes.

Of course, it’s always during the sermon… and I know you hate that about us. I know you wish I didn’t come every week. But I really think you should reconsider your position.

We are part of this community too. You should want us here DESPITE the fact that my son is having a bad morning. He’s not crying. If he decided to start up, I would absolutely walk him out of the church and let him move around the back. Crying is where I draw the line.

But I’m lucky enough to attend church with my husband who can tend to my other two and keep them in line while I leave.

What about the parents who bring their children alone? What should they do? Just leave? Do they not get to be part of prayer because of their young? That doesn’t seem fair.

Things need to change.

Instead of glaring back, we should understand. We should remember. Don’t you remember? You had one too! I know you did. Remember – remember what it was like to want everything to go perfectly and then, unfortunately, lose control.

A babble …with an echo? My soon-to-be two year old just struck gold! 

I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. I’m part of this church and I wish that you would just accept me and every other mother in my situation.

Hear the babbles. Hear the rustles. And instead of turning around with a scowl… remember. Or PRAY FOR ME. I need it! My anxiety is through the roof, believe it! But don’t wish me away. Because this community is stronger if we are all holding hands.

I’m not a Catholic that just shows up during special masses. I’m here every week. You know that! Please don’t make this environment one of strife and conflict for me. His house is opened to all. Even the little ones that babble.

And I know what you are saying… go to the children’s mass. Well, I don’t want to go to the basement of an auditorium to celebrate His word. I want to be in the church with the rest of the adults.

I shouldn’t be punished because I have children. The children’s mass should take place where every other mass takes place. And besides, I can’t go to the children’s mass. My daughter sings in the choir. I have to attend regular mass to support her.

Things need to change. We need to change. The community needs to change.

I understand that this is a special hour and we should do everything we can to quiet our children. I will continue to try to quietly entertain him. I promise! But if it happens that he slips up as a normal one year old occasionally does, please don’t glare at me. It doesn’t help.

Don’t turn around and smile at my little boy and then put your finger on your lips because that simply enrages me. Don’t watch me like I’m putting on a performance.

Just continue to enjoy the mass and realize that we are all just humans attempting to grow from the Word. Together.

Remember — we are supposed to be here together.

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