We went to Mass as a family the first Sunday in March. We sat in our usual first-row pew, sweated through toddler misbehavior, extremely loud requests for donuts, and whining about when church would be over. We laughed at the kids’ antics afterwards with the people who sit behind us—the same two families who always sit behind us—and spent time in the community room afterwards, eating donuts and catching up with friends.
In short, it was a very regular Sunday morning.
Since then, it feels like life has been turned upside-down for nearly everyone as we try to navigate the current COVID-19 crisis. With public Mass suspended for the foreseeable future, many are tuning in to live-streamed or recorded Mass online and watching from their living rooms.
While this is an amazing resource we’re able to utilize thanks to modern technology, nothing compares to experiencing Mass in person, and I know so many of us are yearning for the day when we can return to our pews—rowdy kids in tow and all.
Tips for Attending Mass at Home with Kids During this Time
If you’re trying to keep Sundays special and create a “new temporary normal” for Mass in these very extraordinary times, I’m right there with you.
Here are five tips to making Mass at home sacred and special, especially if you have young children in the mix!
Although the current situation has us sitting at home for extended periods of time, consider changing into your usual Sunday Mass clothes to watch, even if you’re just sitting on your couch.
Dressing up reminds us that this day is special, set apart, and that what we’re doing is different from the Netflix binge we’ve been partaking in. Even if we aren’t experiencing the Mass in-person or receiving the Holy Eucharist sacramentally, we can still make the effort to present our best selves to Christ and ditch the weekday sweatpants for an hour or so.
Create a Reverent Atmosphere
You may not be able to whip up some gorgeous stained glass windows in a pinch, but I’d be willing to bet you have some items around your house that can help create a reverent atmosphere in which to watch Mass.
Figure out where you’ll be setting up your laptop to live-stream and consider covering the table with a tablecloth (white or purple for Lent) or any piece of fabric! Even draping a scarf around the computer would add an element of beauty.
If you have candles (these are on sale right now), set a couple out and light them. Grab a crucifix and lay it nearby, and add any statues or icons you might have (or even print an image off Google!).
If you have children, put away all the toys and allow them to have the usual things you bring to Mass or some faith-based books and Rosaries.
Involve the Family, Especially Kids
Think of ways your family can be involved in preparing the space throughout the Mass viewing.
Can someone lay out the tablecloth and set up the laptop?
Can someone else light the candles?
Maybe a child would love to “process” in from another room carrying a crucifix or Bible to mimic an entrance procession.
Have someone pass a “collection” basket, and go ahead and toss in your offering for the week, which you can either mail to your parish office or donate online.
Let’s face it—watching Mass from home is far less interactive than we’re used to, but a little creativity can go a long way in making it engaging, even for the littlest ones.
Keep Your Post-Mass Tradition
Do you usually get brunch at a specific restaurant after Mass? Order it to-go, if it’s available.
Normally head to the community room for coffee and donuts? Pick some up at the grocery store and FaceTime the people you usually sit with to catch up while you eat.
If you usually make a certain meal at home, stick to it.
Whatever your tradition is, keep to it as much as possible! It will help things feel a bit more normal in this time of staggering uncertainty.
Stay Flexible and Pray for Patience
Nothing about this is normal or easy, and that’s okay. Pausing the live-stream to redirect rambunctious kids, adjusting your usual Sunday traditions, and longing for in-person community and fellowship is all going to take a lot of patience and flexibility on everyone’s parts.
Pray for the patience to continue to adapt as this current crisis evolves, and trust that God provides everything you need.
“Come to Me…”
At the end of the day, God is so pleased with our sincerest effort, no matter what that looks like for you.
Whether your “Mass table” is adorned with a lace tablecloth and candles or it’s a beat-up card table shoved in a corner of the living room as you attend Mass virtually this Sunday, be assured that your desire to experience Him is enough.
He will meet you wherever you are, now and always.
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