I know a lot of families who have been made to feel uncomfortable coming to mass and bringing their children, especially their youngest ones.
This one is for them!
From a priest:
“I love having little kids at Mass. I love it when they are bored and pay no attention and squirm. I love it when they get distracted by a moth and spend five minutes following the moth’s precarious voyage among the lights. It’s all good. They are being soaked in the Mass. They hear the words and feel the reverence and maybe they even sense the food of the experience, you know? Sometimes people complain and make veiled remarks about behavior and discipline and decorum and the rapid dissolution of morals today and stuff like that but I have no patience for it. For one thing they were little kids at Mass once, and for another if there are no little kids at Mass, pretty soon there won’t be any Masses. You have to let kids be kids.
“I love having little kids at Mass. If you are distracted by a little kid being a little kid you are not focused on what’s holy. Little kids are holy. Let it be. My only rule is no extended fistfights. Other than that I don’t care about grapes and yawning. I think the cadence and the rhythm and the custom and the peace of the Mass soak into kids without them knowing it. That’s why a lot of the students here come back to Mass, I think—it sparks some emotional memory in them, and once they are back at Mass then they pay attention in new ways and find new food in it. It’s all good. The more the merrier. I don’t mind dogs when I celebrate Mass, either. For one thing they are generally better behaved than little kids, but for another I figure the Mass soaks into them too, and how could that be bad? You know what I mean?”
You can read more here.