Today we were up early enough to go to the 8 a.m. Mass at St. Louis Parish in Clarksville, Maryland. Since we have a two-year old and a nearly one-year old, we quite often go to the Children's Chapel.
The Children's Chapel is a room down a staircase and down a hall from the main church. The sound from the Sanctuary is piped in and a TV mounted on the wall provides live video of the Mass. Under the TV is an altar with a crucifix and two unlit candles. Four rows of folding chairs provide seating. On the left side of the room is a roomy bathroom which allows for private diaper changes during the service. On the right side low shelves are full of sturdy, spiritual children's books, large bead rosaries, some square pieces of rug for kneeling. The set up is very nice and very helpful for us to pray while trying to corral the little ones.
Today was a pretty good worship experience. The worst thing that the children did is when Lucy stopped me from making the sign of the cross over her at the end of Mass. A lesser offense (though possibly more dangerous to her) was when she tried to pull the trash can over on top of her. The first time she did it, we caught her in time. The second time she headed over there, I got up and beat her to the trash can. The third time she stopped half way and looked back with a wicked little smile on her face. Angie and I rolled our eyes and picked her up. What kind of trouble will she cause when she's walking?
Jacob did much better than usual. He did his usual and quite altered versions of the hymns. To his credit, he sings the gospel Alleluia almost correctly. And he is very helpful in getting us hymnals and missals when we ask. He didn't shake our hands for the sign of peace, which he usually loves to do. Without other parents and children in the room, it may have been less interesting for him. He only tried to leave once or twice and sat through most of the homily.
Which was nice, since that meant we could pay more attention to the homily than to the kids. The homily discussed the Trinity (since it is Trinity Sunday) and ended with some homework! Father asked us to think of who we pray to when praying to God--God the Father or the Son or the Holy Spirit. Or do we just pray to God in general, without specifying. He said that the answer would show something about our priorities or focus in spiritual life. For me, the answer is God in general. I wonder if I should be more specific in the future?