HEN WE STARTED to have children, attending Mass became a nightmare. In Texas, many churches don’t have cry rooms, so I was forced to stand in the hot sun for more than an hour with a child who was misbehaving. I kept asking myself, “Why am I here? Am I truly attending Mass?” I would become pretty angry. 1
The Fraternity of Saint Peter is currently offering Mass at Saint Victor in Hollywood. This church has the greatest cry room of all time. It’s literally right next to the Sanctuary, so the parents and children can see and hear everything. They can truly be part of Mass. But, they’re behind glass, so nobody is bothered when the kids cry.
Here’s a CRY ROOM PHOTO taken last Sunday by my wife:
Fr. Valentine Young always used to say, “I’m never bothered when children cry at Mass. It means we’ve got a future.” A lady once carried a crying child from a church where Fulton J. Sheen was preaching. The archbishop declared, “Madame, there’s no reason to remove that child. He’s not bothering me.” The lady called back, “You’re bothering him!”
Once, when I was outside of a Texas church, my child was gently tapping on a cement wall. An usher approached me and said, “You need to stop that or you need to leave. Your son is bothering the Father.” When he made reference to “the Father” he meant the priest, a young man I’d known many years. I was certain the priest was NOT bothered, but I didn’t press the issue. I intended to send the priest an email relating this incident, but never did. (I decided that our young priests have enough on their plates these days!)
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 What a strange thing! When I was an Altar Boy, I was never bothered by crying children; yet when I’m trapped in a church filled with 400+ people and nobody’s children except mine are crying I look at things differently. By the way, in Texas, there was a priest who would brag to everyone—I’m not kidding—about how he was “the most conservative priest in the diocese.” He told everyone how much he loved children, encouraging them to sit in the front of church. However, if any children started to make noise, this priest would literally stop Mass, glaring and frowning until the parent took the child outside. I was astonished by his hypocrisy, but I suppose people without children just can’t understand the reality of the situation. For the record, I thought about calling today’s article “Views from the Cry Room.”