This past week Bishop Lennon gathered all the priests of the diocese for a presbyteral convocation. Its purpose is twofold: to bring the shepherds together in one pasture for some fellowship, and to discuss the responsibility of preaching. Lately, Pope Francis has issued many thoughts regarding the priests' responsibility of preaching meaningful and effective homilies with their lives. He said, "We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love. Be poor among the poor. We need to include the excluded and preach peace." It was a beautiful and blessed time to have nearly every priest of our diocese pray and confess, praise and celebrate together. Please pray that all priests may be holy and faithful in how they live their lives so they may restore hope to those most in need. Hope...it can sometimes be such a hard thing for people to realize, especially when tensions and troubles are high. It might be noticed within the elderly or the sick, the busy or the bored.
Often it can be seen in the faces of parents who try their best to rear their children in faith, when the world offers so many competing choices. Someone on our pastoral staff noticed it even during Mass, when parents may have difficult moments with a young child. She said, even though the Adoremus Room is a great place to have a young child celebrate Mass in their own expressive style (behind glass), they may still need a little something more. Here is an excerpt from an article she found:
To the parents of our young children, may we suggest…
- Relax! God put the wiggle in children; let them know they are welcome here!
- Every now and then dare to sit toward the front where it is easier for your little ones to see and hear what’s going on at the Altar. They tire of seeing the backside of other’s. If they can't handle it and become distracting to others, there's always the Adoremus Room.
- Quietly explain the parts of the Mass and actions of the priest, altar servers, choir, etc. Use the missalette.
- Sing hymns, pray and voice the responses. Children learn liturgical behavior by copying you.
- If you have to leave Mass with your child, do not be embarrassed to do so, but please remind them that Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.”
- Remember that the way we welcome children in church directly affects the way they respond to the Church, to God, and to one another. Let them know that this is their home too.
During this month we remind people to Respect Life, especially the unborn. May we practice what we preach! The presence of children is a gift of life to the Church, and they are a reminder that our parish is fully alive and growing. Please welcome our children and give a smile of encouragement to their parents.
Pax, Fr. Bline