Browsing Pastor's Notes

Second Sunday of Advent

Advent is a great season to discuss and pray and teach the Faith to your children with. They understand viscerally the idea of waiting and preparing as they look forward to Christmas (presents!) and the culmination is a wholly Christian event – the Birth of Christ. The season is all about waiting patiently, a lesson young and not as young can all use to learn anew.

I have no idea how many busy parents of especially younger children have time to read Father’s Pastor Notes, but I came across this in connection to the Eucharistic Revival and thought I would share it. As Dr. Zachary Keith says, they are suggestions! And seeing as the author has actually had to parent a child from start to finish of a Mass (as opposed to me who hasn’t), I thought perhaps his suggestions might be worth a listen. But please, bring your children to Mass. They do not bother me… I’m entirely more bothered by a church quiet of crying and children’s noises. That does more than bother me, it scares me for the future of Christ’s Church and the handing on of our Holy Faith. True Eucharistic Renewal includes the whole family. I/we need the children to be active parts of the Holy Family family.


  • Be willing to bring children to Mass, even at a young age. This is not always easy or even possible, but children must regularly attend Mass if we want them to know what it means to approach the Holy Table.
  • Make Mass a positive experience. I like to joke that I bribe my children after Mass. (They get a donut if they behave and lose bites of it to me when they don’t). It might be silly, but my youngest anticipates her reward and understands the expectations I have during Mass, offering positive reinforcement to the activity of praying at Mass.
  • Try not to distract children away from the liturgy; rather, help them understand what is happening. Perhaps whisper quietly into a child’s ear to help him or her know why the priest is incensing the altar or raising the chalice. Avoid toys, books, or other activities meant to quiet children. It might be embarrassing, but a child who belts out “Alleluia” after the Gospel Acclamation has concluded should not be quickly shushed, but should be commended for paying attention!
  • Speak to children about Mass before and after. Spend time in the car talking about the readings for the day or the different parts of the Mass. For the youngest children, discuss the colors of the day! This can go a long way to helping the child pay attention during the Mass, even if only briefly.
  • Pray daily. It is important that you pray with your children outside of Mass. If praying as a family is limited to Mass only, then praying the Mass will remain foreign to young kids.
  • Consider taking your children to adoration. If you know of a place that has Eucharistic adoration that works with your schedule, consider taking your children to a 15-minute block to introduce them to the practice. If you have multiple children, you might find that taking the children one at a time is easier.
  • Be patient with children. Their attention span is often much shorter than ours. They struggle to keep focused on the Mass, especially with all its different parts. Maybe your child can only focus for a minute or two at a time. That’s fine! Work with that.
  • Be patient with yourself. Offer your sufferings as a parent to Christ and let him know that you are trying. He will offer you the grace you need to be a good parent: you need only be willing to accept it.
  • Find time to pray by yourself. Some Sundays it will be nearly impossible to pray at Mass in the way we want or need. Find time to pray without the children. Daily Mass, during lunch breaks or other times, can be a wonderful opportunity for this prayer without the children interrupting.
  • If you don’t have children or if your children are older, offer to help other parents with several young children (or even just one baby) with whatever they need. Younger children often do well with a “mentor,” an older child who is more familiar with the Mass and can remind them how to behave during the liturgy.
  • Help those without children understand the needs of parents. Sure, a child should not be yelling out during Mass, but sometimes a cry lasts only a minute or two and it is easier to quiet the child than to take him or her out. If we always rush to get parents out of Mass any time their child makes a noise, we risk actively discouraging parents from bringing children to Mass.


By Dr Zachary Keith


+ Nothing Less than saints for the Holy Family of God. +


Holy Family, Saintly Father, Blessed Mother, Divine Son, Pray for us.

~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries


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