Young families at Mass

One place where I meet many young families is after Mass outside the Church.

Wherever possible, I love to meet people leaving the Church. To greet them as their Bishop and to spend even a moment with them gives me great joy. I can also see that many people are more than happy to meet the Bishop as well!

One group that always impresses me are the young families that come to Mass. There are more young families at Mass in many parishes than one would think.

I remember one day after the Mass in the Cathedral I was greeting families as they exited the Church. A young family came to greet me. There was the father and the mother and three little children. They immediately apologised to me for the noise that their children made during the Mass. I was not aware of any such distraction. But I could see that they were trying as best they could under very difficult circumstances to come to Mass and to try and engage their children in the prayers of the Mass. They also had many items with them to make sure that their very young children would not be a cause of distraction to others. There were some soft toys; there were picture books and also a colouring book with some coloured pencils. I also noted that there were some emergency snacks as well!

It made me think of the huge preparation that these parents had made in even coming to Mass in the first place. I was very impressed with their faith and their determination to train their children into the importance of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

It made me realise that there’s more courage amongst young families in regard to Mass attendance than one would think. We can be very dismissive of this important demographic in regard to Mass attendance. But there are many examples of courageous families trying their best under difficult circumstances to bring a real Eucharistic spirituality into their family.

I pray that there will be many more! With every encouragement in family life.