We had been meaning to go for a very long time and often one of us would remind the other on Wednesday, "Tomorrow is adoration and we should go!" Thursday Travis would come home from work and one of us would say, "Don't let me forget about adoration!" And then we'd both forget, remembering just in time for it to be too late to attend.
But last night we had an early dinner and the kids' homework was finished and we remembered and so we went.
There were ten or fifteen other people there, all adults, and they all sat with God in the silence. And we came bumbling in, with boots and coats and children's bibles, and one-two-three-four-five kids and a newborn. We sat in the back, hoping to be as inconspicuous as possible. The baby fussed until he latched on to nurse. The two year old took out hymnals and dropped a few with a thud on the floor. Both girls had to use the bathroom.
We made it almost thirty minutes. They weren't awesome, but I was able to squeeze in a some prayers and so was my husband and maybe so were my kids. Travis didn't feel quite as positively about it as I did but no one glared so I thought we could try it again.
And then Travis got a phone call. One of the women who had been at adoration with us went home, looked up our phone number in the church directory, and called him just so she could let us know that she was glad we were there. She was glad we brought our children. She thought he was a good father and doing a great job and she hoped we would be back because what a wonderful thing - for a family to attend adoration together.
And I realized that there have been so many stories of times we weren't welcome at church but not enough stories of all the times we were. Those who grumble have no place here, not in this post, because there are Catholic churches that are filled with people who are so glad families are there, who are so grateful for the presence of children.
That woman who called us last night was a great gift for us in our parenting and so are all the people - most of them empty nesters and grandparents - who have taken the time to greet us before or after Mass, to shake our hands, to meet our children, to compliment our kids, to reminisce about when they were raising their four-five-six kids.
Our fellow parishioners have told us about their grandchildren who live far away. They have thanked us for our generosity in being open to life. One woman crocheted us a baby blanket and hat. When I was missing from Mass after giving birth many approached Travis and asked about the baby. Each Sunday Judy slaps Travis' back and tells him what a good man he is and shakes our kids' hands. Each Sunday our priests chat with our children and converse with us.
We are welcomed at Mass. We were welcomed at adoration. We are welcome at church.
|Image by Stefan Kunze|
If you have a positive story to tell of a time when you and your family were welcomed at church please feel free to share in my combox, on your own blog, or on social media. Use the hashtags #wewerewelcomed #letthechildrencometoHim so we can encourage one another and thank the Body of Christ.