From The Hand of Fr. Aaron Ferris…November 5, 2017

Soon after I arrived at the parishes, I make the announcement that I love having children at Mass. Children, infants, babies, toddlers, all of them belong at Mass with us. I know this presents a challenge for some, but I want to reiterate my position. They belong with us at Mass.

Babies and toddlers are not always easy. They like to move about and make noise. Whether they are happy, sad, angry, or bored, they like to move and make noise. About the only time they don’t do this is when they are asleep and become limp weights in your arms. Apart from when they are asleep, babies take a fair amount of work, and believe me when I say I do get to see how much work it can be to try and keep a baby settled for any length of time.

Is it possible for some to do better? The truth is it is always possible to do better. We could say this about anything life: We could always do better. However, I appreciate the frustrating and, for the time being, unrewarding task of managing babies and other forms of small children, and we need to find ways to assist and support parents who are having some trouble. I have seen plenty of families struggle with the decision of not leaving the older children alone in church while needing to leave church in order to attend to a fussy baby. At the same time, it must be difficult to try and figure out whether this squeak is a one-off squeak or the beginning of meltdown.

Turning around and giving people nasty glances is not the way to address these conundrums. I appreciate the frustration at what at times can seem like a persistently crying child, but I would ask you to remember that the parents are probably more frustrated than you are. One positive way might be to offer your help in watching the older children so that the parents have greater freedom to attend to the babies. It is just a thought. There are other possibilities as well.

On the other side of the coin, I would ask parents to not bring in toys, etc. that make noise. Babies make noise, and that is simply part of life. We do not need to give them extra opportunities to make noise. I know you are trying to be diligent in keeping you babies and toddlers quiet, and, while I would always call you to greater diligence, I do want to commend you on your hard work. I understand it isn’t easy.

Folks, we are in this together, and it gets messy. What we need to be worried about is not so much the mess itself as helping each other get through the mess. 1 am sure there is some metaphor for life in there, but we will leave it at that.

Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron R. Ferris Ordination Date: June 6, 2009 Pastor, St. Anthony Parish (Saranac) and St. Mary’s Parish (Lowell) 402 Amity Street Lowell, MI 49331 Phone: 616-897-9820
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