Happy Feast of the Epiphany – when the Three Wise Men found Baby Jesus in Bethlehem. Although, for U.S. Catholics, the celebration will be held this upcoming Sunday.
This past Sunday was the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It also coincided directly with my personal time off from blogging, to try to figure out how this year would look for my blog.
So, I decided to cheat, and use one of my days back to link up with the “My Sunday Best” crowd and discuss this past Sunday.
The Council of Ephesus was the meeting in which the Catholic Church clearly defined one of its core beliefs on Mary, as the Mother of God. Because Jesus was both fully human, and fully divine, the Council decided to honor her with the title, “Mother of God.” Simply, it is a belief which is central to the Catholic faith, and a way in which Catholics recognize both Jesus’ humanity, but also His Divinity. In turn, it reminds Catholics of the sacrifices Mary would face, as her Son would ultimately give His life for everyone’s salvation.
The first of January is always a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics – it is a reminder to us to put the love Mary displayed toward her Son at the forefront of our hearts, and to emulate her example, no matter how difficult.
This past Sunday, I headed to church the same way I have done for several “Mary, Mother of God” holy days – by myself. Unlike previous years, in which I gave my son a reprieve from a full week of church attendance, he and the rest of the family missed church because they were all sick. I snuck out of the house, got to church, and was able to pay attention to everything happening in Mass the entire time!
I’d like to say I feel a little guilty about being able to fully participate, but that’d be a lie.
As I sat in my preferred area to sit (the back), I realized just how many parents with small children were sitting in the back. And, I was saddened. When with my children, we kind of force our way to the front, so my son can see everything. I realized how much I wanted to see all the families with children sitting up at the front. I spent parts of Mass wondering how to bring those families up closer, so their children aren’t staring at the behinds of those in the front, and instead get an up close, personal view of all the action!
I almost didn’t take a picture, and almost chose to not link up with A Blog for My Mom‘s series of “My Sunday Best.”
But, the more I thought about it, the more curious I became – how does your church encourage families with small children to come forward? Where is your preferred area of Church to sit – individually, and with your family?
10 thoughts on “My Sunday Best Thoughts for A Solemnity Day”
I sit up in the balcony, which if you remember is right in front of the crying room. Although my children are older we sit there because a family we are very close to who have 6 young children sits there as well and we like to celebrate Mass with them. When I am alone, I love to sit as close as I possibly can because I like to watch the priest as he prepares the gifts.
Makes sense! I hope that family of 6 is doing well – it’s always nice to celebrate Mass with good friends!
Right smack up front so they can see all parts of the Mass and what is happening. It also keeps them from being distracted by everything going on in front of them. We sit in the 2nd pew now b/c when we moved and went to the new church, we sat right in front. We were informed by an elderly man that he and his wife had been sitting in that pew for 62 years! Next Sunday, we moved back a pew. Now that they have passed, the pew is empty. No one dares to sit there! It remains a tribute to Clem and his wife, or people are afraid that Clem will return and warn them!!!!
That is wonderful that you sit so close. And, we usually sit within the first three pews, but not usually in the first pew for a similar reason – an elderly woman needs the seat closest to the door.
When I’m alone I like to sit near the front because then there’s more time to sit and reflect after receiving the Eucharist. More time with Jesus! Yay!
When we have the kids, we sit near the back. Partly that’s because our parish only has one spot in the whole church that’s sort of okayish for wheelchairs, and it’s in the back, but it’s also because my kids turn into Uncontrollable Monsters at Mass. It doesn’t matter if we’re sitting in the front or the back. My 3 year old doesn’t really care what’s going on most the time (even though we try to explain it ahead of time and during Mass). Sitting in the front just guarantees that we’ll be some sort of circus sideshow.
The Great Pew Slither? Yep. We tried sitting in the front. (http://www.sweepingupjoy.com/msb-14-the-great-pew-slither/)
There’s not an rule– written or unwritten– about where families with kids sit in our parish. But since there aren’t that many families with more than 3 kids, I’m super self-conscious about how we’re perceived. I *know* I shouldn’t worry about it, but I’ve shared before how I don’t want to be the poster child for sterilization. I just want to minimize the audience for our pew-licking, nose-picking show.
That’s totally fair! Thank you for that insight. We have a couple families with 5 or more children, but the majority of the ones I saw this past Sunday had one (*maybe* two) kidlets.
But, I get wanting to be less conspicuous (for lack of a better word)! (And, I do remember The Great Pew Slither… the struggle is definitely real – *especially* with the toddler to early preschool ages!)
When we moved to the front seat we got the warning “that’s gonna be one lonnngg walk of shame.” But since we moved to the first pew (with 4 or 5 empty rows behind us before the next parishioners) we’ve had much better Mass behavior from the kids. They can see what’s going on, watch the altar boys, wave at the priest. And they’re not distracted by what everyone else is doing! I did feel a little self conscious at first and embarrassed when the kids got out of hand, but we’ve settled in pretty well!
I noticed the same thing about behavior once we made the switch! And, thankfully for us, we timed it for when my son potty trained – for us, the door to the hallway of the fellowship hall (& bathrooms) is right out the side near the front. So, the walk is super short if we need to take the baby out, or if our son needs to go out!
But, overall, I agree – behavior has improved. And, my daughter enjoys watching what’s happening, and then waving to “her crowd” also… 😳😂
We’ve tried the front, and it has NOT been good for us – constantly talking children tend to distract poor young altar boys who haven’t quite mastered their poker faces yet!! But there are always plenty of families up front, and throughout the church, and in the lobby – there are about a trillion children at our parish 🙂
That is awesome – that your parish has a lot of young children! And, I chuckled about the altar servers – we sit on the other side (away from them) in the front, so I didn’t even think of them!