success stories

Book: Catholic Etiquette for Children at Mass
Author: Kay Lynn Isca
Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, IN. pp.30

Excerpt from foreword:

I wouldn't be a priest today if it weren't for Mon and Dad taking me to Mass every Sunday. Nor would we have as many devout Catholics today if it weren't for their parents who valued going to church as a family.

Most of us would agree that our first experience inside a church with its statues, sacred symbols, and the profound way parishioners focused on the altar during Mass was spellbinding. As beautiful as these memories are, Kay Lynn Isca counsels us that there is more to this idyllic picture than meets the eye. As angelic as children may sometimes look, they can be anything but angels, especially when they are at Mass. Even when they are angelic, getting them to fit in with the congregation often take the patience of Job, and the wisdom of Solomon. How might parents tastefully achieve this?

The answer is found in the word "etiquette" in Isca's booklet Catholic Etiquette for Children at Mass. "Etiquette" means to have good form. Applying this definition to parents who take their children to Mass, Isca demonstrates how this translates into having a sound mental outlook and know how to employ the right moves when various occasions call for it.

Excerpt from book:

Whether you choose to bring a toddler into the pew with you each week or just on occasion, some pre-planning will help minimize (but probably not eliminate) problems. Always bring along a bag that includes dry diapers or underpants and a change of cloths, just in case. As you choose a seat at Mass, plot your escape route, again just in case you need it. Though at least one expert advises parents of toddlers to pick a seat near the front so the children can see better, this is a gutsy move, and frankly not one that worked well for us. When my children were toddler age, I felt much more comfortable sitting where we were less on display and where I could make a less noticeable exit if necessary. What else should parents bring? First, let me address what not to bring food. One of my pet peeves is parents wh feed their kids breakfast and/or snacks during Mass. Infants who must eat every few hours are one thing; toddlers swinging bottles or sippy cups and dripping sticky liquid all over the floors, seats and adjacent coats, purses, etc. are a different story. Parishioners who attend a later Mass should not have to feel like moviegoers who follow a kiddie matinee at the local theater. It upsets me, too, when I have to take my kids out of Mass only because they are whining about wanting someone else's snacks.