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By Peggy Weber

There are many opinions about bringing small children to Mass. The views are understandable. Many people come for peace and quiet and time to reflect. If you go to Mass with an infant or toddler, none of those can be guaranteed.

Some churches have “Cry Rooms.” I am actually a fan of them. You might get to meet other young families. Most parents also try to see this room asĀ  place of worship and not a play area. Also, you do not have the pressure of pleasing everyone in the surrounding pews. Others prefer to be in the pews. I like that, too.

I have been blessed to attend Mass with my grandchildren in a variety of circumstances — back pews, front pews, cry rooms, back of churches, etc. For a while some of my grandchildren just wanted to hang in the back and dip their hands in the holy water fonts.

There are some people who say it is too hard to bring children to Mass. They stay home. But the one thing I have noticed is that children notice everything!

Our almost 10-month-old granddaughter, Rose, looked around St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield with awe! Really! She stared at the ceiling the walls, the people, the flowers and just soaked in the beauty and excitement of the Christmas Eve Mass. All four grandchildren were thrilled with the beautiful music and we “danced” to the Gloria.

The “Sign of Peace” is another favorite of the grandchildren. They love shaking hands and waving and smiling at others. They get excited and bring so much joy to others.

And then there is the “stuff” you cannot see at the time but understand later. You do not think that the “kids” are getting much out of Mass and then your grandson, Jerome, picks up a yellow wiffle bat and begins a procession. He calls the bat a cross. He also has been know to use a broom. His sister, Cordelia, and cousin, Cillian, follow with bright, flameless candles. They lead us in a line around the house as we sing “Lift High the Cross.” We usually make three or four laps around the family room, kitchen and hallway before putting the candles on the altar/coffee table.

And I smile and think they are getting something out of this weekly activity to praise and thank God. And I then thank and praise God myself for the continuous lessons taught to me by children.

So grab some books, Cheerios, and head off to Mass. It is worth the effort for all.