On Catechetical Sunday, I was sitting with my 5 ½ year old grandson at mass. He was looking at a Children’s Bible and then at the hymnal. I wondered about his experience of liturgy. What does this mean to him?
He asked me to hold him during the prayers of the faithful. He seemed sleepy as he put his head on my shoulder. The prayer leader shared a petition for the catechists, families and children that are starting faith formation this week. His head popped up and he whispered in my ear, “that’s me!”
He was listening all along. This experience reminded me how important it is to have children with us as we live out our life of faith and participate in Church. Parents struggle to get children to mass, to keep their attention, and to avoid embarrassing outbursts. This struggle is a holy and essential part of parenting children for faith. As a faith community, we need to encourage and affirm parents as they keep children close. We can experience the giggles, squirming, crying, and occasional outbursts as signs of life in our parishes, and pray for families and for the budding friendship with God that is being nurtured as children are close to the holy. We need to always remember – they are listening and they are watching more than we know.