I spent a few years chairing a parish’s annual fair and had to make determinations about what booths would work and what would not. One evening, being rather tired from working on a current one, my husband and I came up with a (totally fictional) list of prospective booths.
1. The Body Piercing Booth. Someone offered to donate an old hole punch which would have made this booth a real money maker – very low overhead. When we inquired whether they planned to use alcohol for disinfection purposes, they exclaimed, “Of course! 150-proof!”
2. The Tattoo Booth. The person interested in sponsoring this booth was very sincere but, sadly, untalented. We didn’t feel there would be much call for stick figure tattoos. He assured us that they were of the saints but his samples all looked alike to us.
3. The Healing Booth. This booth became obsolete as soon as we turned down the body piercing and tattoo booth.
4. Foods from the Earth Booth. We understand some people feel earthworms are edible but we decided to go with beef hamburgers this time around.
5. Madam Zablonghini’s Booth. Madame offered us a discount on her crystal ball service. Unfortunately, the huge radio tower on the church premises interfered with her reception.
6. Mud Wrestling Booth. This booth was canceled due to lack of interest. Go figure.
7. Tofu on a Stick Booth. The sponsors for this booth canceled out when we suggested for sales appeal they either dip them in chocolate or deep fry them.
8. Martin Luther Discount Indulgence Booth. The booth was banned in this diocese. The sponsors were a bit dismayed as they planned to give a free 60-day indulgence with every purchase.
9. Health Update Booth. This would have been the place to catch up on your children’s vaccines while they enjoyed the Fair. Seems a large group of children have threatened to block the entrance when the Shots on Wheels tried to get in the parking lot.
10. Night Cap Booth. This booth planned to serve free servings of Surge Soda, the pop with twice the sugar and 90 percent caffeine with all the refills you want for children ten and under. Seems parental disapproval was one hundred percent.
A friend and I were gently teasing each other about our future, eternal rewards. My friend cinched the matter by saying, “Oh, I think we all should spend a little time in Purgatory . . .to say hello to friends before we head on up into Heaven!”.
A friend at daily Mass said her mother felt that afternoon soap operas depicted more than should be aired on television. In consideration of the characters feelings, she always turns the television off for the afternoon to give them privacy!
I knew further investigation was in order when I came upon three-year-old Marc muttering to himself, “I will never tell the truth again! It gets me in nothing but trouble!”
When my daughter was around six years old, she was telling us about a saint she was reading about. She said the saint would levitate during Mass. Always the pragmatist, her little brother asked, “How high?”
My husband once asked, “What’s 16 x 16?” My then eight year old replied, “If it’s not on the times table chart (which goes to the twelves), I don’t think I need to know.”
A mom joined a non-denominational park day group. She was chatting with another mother and teasingly replied to a question, that she was a Druid. The other mom kind of pulled away and the joking mother said, “I’m just teasing! I’m really a Catholic!” The woman pulled back further and said, “Same difference!”
My eight year old was preparing for his First Confession. He said, “Let’s write down a list of my sins.” I asked if this was so he could remember them and he said, “No, I thought I would just give the list to Father
Church and Children
By Barbara Barthelette
I am of the opinion that, if at all possible, families should be together at Mass, even with toddlers! This is not without some pitfalls so parents should be forewarned of the possibility of storms they may have to weather in the pursuit of a shared family Faith.
Remember, the longer you can keep your toddler from realizing that his legs can work on church property, the more attention you can pay to Mass. A sore back is little enough to bear in comparison to the exercise you may get chasing down an inquisitive child. At two and a half, my son discovered his church legs. His first escape took place in the Children’s Chapel a.k.a. the cry room at church. Initially unnoticed by the occupants, he dived under a row of folding chairs. We watched in anguish as each person popped up in surprise as he crawled under them.
Nursing mothers should start moving gradually back in the church as the baby grows older. I was sitting in the front row one Sunday when my hungry one year old obviously wanted to hear the sermon better. He threw back our privacy blanket much to my embarrassment and the priest’s surprise.
If all efforts at calming a child fails, do stand to the side of the church or in the back. I learned from experience, however, that you should take heed of your surroundings. Always make sure there is not a Holy Water font in the vicinity. They hold a lot of water in spite of their small appearance and they are easy to dump. You may know your skirt is soaked with blessed water. Other people may not be as charitable.
Four and five year olds should be prepared for Mass. Sometimes though it is better not to tell them too much in special circumstances. Julianna knew we were going to a funeral and her sole interest throughout the Mass was the ‘box’ up front. She was audibly verbal about, “I want to see inside now! Maybe he’s not inside! Let’s open it up now!
Sitting in the front row of the Children’s Chapel isn’t always a good idea. In some churches you will find that the congregation in the main body has a fish bowl view. . . and you are the fish! One Sunday I reached down to pick up one child who inadvertently pulled opened the front of my blouse as he climbed up. I immediately turned around only to have the second child flip up the back of my skirt.
You have to learn to ignore small disturbances. A crying baby is often helpful in covering up the name your child is calling the other one. You can be hopeful that the people in your immediate area are staring at you because they are in total awe of your parental management capabilities.
The discovery of manual dexterity almost always occurs during Mass when your two year old wears sneakers with velcro fastenings. The bells at Mass never quite cover this sound as your toddler gleefully opens and closes his shoes.
Always frisk your children before Mass. In the event a contraband fistful of marbles hit the floor during a particularly quiet moment during Mass, just keep staring prayerfully ahead and pretend you didn’t hear it.
The most import fact of life is this. . . There are only two parents to a family. When you exceed the one-to-one ratio with the arrival of your third child, you are on your own. Figure out your own rules!
The priest stopped Mass when the cell phone went off, waiting for the person to turn it off. It kept beeping, buzzing, and ringing. The priest asked again. The noise continued. Finally, the priest narrowed it down to one woman in the congregation and said, “Would you please turn off your cell phone now?”! The woman calmly said, “My cell phone isn’t ringing . . . It’s my son’s Nintendo game.”!
We had a rat in our garage. We named him Willard and then went shopping for whatever it would take to close down Willard. A few days later, I was coming in the garage and there was Willard, passed on to his final reward. I called the children to view the body. My older daughter wanted to know why I wanted them to see a dead rat. Before I could say anything, she answered herself and said, “I guess it was to give us closure.”!
My ten-year old daughter was working on a novel for English class. I asked if she would be done by the deadline I had set. She said, “Don’t worry. Tell me the day before and I will just kill all the characters off and end the story.”
Morning Mass must be a bit early for many. At the end of one Mass, the priest said, “Our Lady, Queen of Vocations . . .” and the congregation replied, “Pray for us.” Father then said, “Immaculate Mary, page 109.” And the obviously sleepy congregation replied, “Pray for us.”!
And once when attending Mass, the celebrant looked at the congregation across and said, “The Lord be with you.” One dear old lady looked at the other and explained helpfully, “That means ‘Dominus vobiscum’.”