Father has this wonderful little column, Pastor's Corner, in every bulletin where he instructs the faithful on all kinds of things, from his interpretation of the latest Vatican promulgation to recent happenings in the pro-life movement. Today's column was a true gem, addressing all sorts of Church etiquette pointers for the many parishioners who are regularly challenged in this area (I too need the regular reminder to turn off my cell phone at the start of Mass!) As I glanced over Father's various "tips" I saw this:
We are blessed to have so many children in our Parish. They and their parents are most welcome to participate fully in the celebration of Mass. The community needs to be patient with parents trying to teach their children how to behave in Church. Parents need to be mindful of how and when to teach such lessons. During the celebration of Mass, the Crying Room is intended to serve as a place of refuge for parents whose children need to be removed from the assembly. It is NOT an alternative seating area where adults can talk or children simply play or munch on cereal. Therefore, parents with children who are able to be seated in the Church are kindly asked not to take up the space in the Crying Room from those parents who may find their children need a "timeout."
Well said, Father. I am overjoyed to have a Pastor who communicates so clearly how I should approach the Mass with my children. He wants them in the church, experiencing the beauty of the liturgy. He wants the other parishioners to respect the learning curve of my children. As a parent, he wants me to discipline my children with grace and in a manner that respects other parishioners. If in-church discipline fails, he wants me to remove my children to the cry-room for a timeout. This is the battle plan.