Q. I was reading through the New Church News and was hoping to ask a question regarding a cry room for the new church. I was able to attend one of the meetings about the unveiling of the new church and learned there was no immediate plans for a cry room in the new church. I was wondering/hoping that might change? As a mom of 3 young kids who moved to the parish 4 years ago, sometimes the only way I could attend church with my young kids was to go to my old parish who has a lovely room at the back of the church with 8 small pews and a speaker. My kids have never been the “quiet ones” in church and I felt good knowing I could go to Mass without bothering any of the other parishioners. I’m sure I’m not the only young family out there that would benefit from use of the cry room. In fact at my old parish that room is always full. I’m hoping the committee will prayerfully consider adding one to the building plan for our young growing community.
A. First, may we express our thanks to you and your husband for accepting the gift of children from God. Children truly are a gift not only to you and your family but also to our parish family. Children are part of the church not just in the future but here and now. They bring a sense of joy, a sense of awe and at times (like when they misbehave) they keep us humble.
The decision not to have a cry room was not made lightly but it was made with love. For the most part new Catholic churches are not including “cry rooms” in their design. To some people they evoke feelings of “an isolation ward” and that is diametrically opposed to the desired feeling of inclusion and welcome that we want to show to everyone, including our children.
Both of our pastors are used to hearing children at Mass and have you noticed they don’t miss a beat when a small disturbance happens? Jesus said “Suffer little children, and do not hinder them from coming to me; for the kingdom of the heavens is of such.”
We do recognize that sometimes children are not ready to take part in a sixty minute liturgy. That is why we will be offering two alternatives to our young parents. We will continue to offer on-site child care. You can drop off your children before mass and then pick them up when mass is over. The other option is to go to the new Narthex and participate in the Mass from there. Since the floor of the worship space will be slanted the view will be much better than afforded by our current Narthex windows. The audio, of course, will be piped into Narthex. So in a way we will have a built in cry room but without the isolation feeling.