featured image

AnneMarie Miller discusses practical, simple ways to attend daily Mass with young children in tow.

One of my sons quickly crawled under the pew, all the way to the other end. Another son threw himself at my feet. I glanced at the baby in my arms just in time to see her spit up all over the cushioned seat of the pew. I pulled my children close, trying to redirect them (and myself) to prayer. After Mass, an old woman walked up. Her eyes shone from beneath her fur hat and mask, and she swept me into a huge hug. “I just want to welcome you to this church,” she told me. “I raised ten children, so I know how it is.”

I was deeply grateful for this woman’s compassion, and I was happy that I could participate in the liturgy with my children. Still, that daily Mass was challenging.

Last month, I talked about how the Mass is the most important thing we do. This is a nice sentiment, but practically speaking, bringing our children to the liturgy can be hard and stressful. Yet, instead of seeing obstacles and deciding that “daily Mass just isn’t for us,” I’ve found it helpful to problem-solve. Over time, I’ve found simple ways that have made daily Mass with my young children more doable—and even prayerfully enriching.


little boy playing with a rosary


Make an achievable goal.

Especially if we haven’t attended daily Mass before, we need to make our goal realistic. So, it’s good to prayerfully consider what is a reasonable challenge. Perhaps it’s adding in a daily Mass each week when your spouse or a good friend can help wrangle the kids (like a Saturday morning liturgy). If once a week seems too overwhelming, then perhaps you can pick a few feast days each month to celebrate by attending Mass.


Get creative about seating arrangements.

Trying out different seating arrangements can be beneficial as we help our children participate in the Mass. On weekends at our parish church, we are a “front row family," because it helps all of us (myself included) focus on what is happening in the sanctuary. However, at one small chapel, we’ve discovered that everyone is happier if the two older kids sit in the second row and the baby and I sit somewhere in a row behind them.


Try different times of the day.

Even if it requires getting up a little early or pushing naptime a little later than usual, I’ve found value in trying out daily Masses at different times of the day. Furthermore, when fitting Mass in the schedule has seemed like a hassle, I remind myself that the Mass is worth the inconvenience. I’ve also discovered that, due to my children's growth and development, what works right now may not work well in six months. So, we’ve had to change our routine and try out different daily Mass times to discover what works at different points.  


kids at Mass looking at a program


Prepare at home.

A small discussion about how daily Mass will look different from the Sunday liturgy (no music, not as many Scripture readings, etc.) can be helpful for our children. Prayerful preparation is also very important, and there are many ways to do this. Currently, we take a very simple approach: each morning, my children and I curl up on the couch and read a couple verses of Scripture from either that day’s Mass or the upcoming Sunday Liturgy. We then briefly reflect and pray together. It’s a small way to help my children encounter God’s Word and prepare for Mass.


Pair it with something fun.

One week, I realized that an early morning Mass would work best with our schedule. So, when I woke my children for the day, I mentioned that we’d get donuts after Mass. This made my kids very enthusiastic to get dressed and reverently attend Mass. More commonly, though, we’ll pair our daily Mass outings with picnics on the church grounds or at different parks. Sometimes, friends even join us!


Keep the hard parts in perspective.

It’s easy to get absorbed in the challenges of parenting young children, but seeing these things in light of eternity helps lift me out of my mental drudgery. Prioritizing a daily Mass or two each week can be tough, and guiding my children to prayerfully participate in the liturgy is exhausting. However, this is one small sacrifice we can make right now as we strive for greater holiness and prepare for Heaven.

Click to tweet:
What obstacles are keeping us from bringing our children to daily Mass? #catholicmom


Even if this whole idea seems terrifying, let’s push through our fears and hesitance. It may take a lot of trial and error, but the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is well worth it. In the upcoming months, I’ll be discussing some beautiful fruits from bringing my children to daily Mass. I’ll also examine ways that people without young children can help those of us who are “in the trenches” with little ones at Mass. In the meantime, let’s ask ourselves: what obstacles are keeping us from bringing our children to daily Mass?


little girl standing in the aisle at Mass

Copyright 2022 AnneMarie Miller
Images copyright 2019 Holy Cross Family Ninistries, all rights reserved.