Opinion & Features

Catholic Dilemmas

My grandchildren often stay with me at the weekend and I usually bring them to church, but I feel bad about forcing them to go if they don’t want to, in case it puts them off the faith.

In different times and circumstances, grandparents have been a powerful influence in keeping the faith alive, whether in countries where the faith is persecuted, or in cultures where the next generation is lukewarm about the practice of the faith. Your grandchildren have much to thank you for and will remember your dedication later in life.

Children protest about various things that they don’t want to do, such as going to school, cleaning their teeth or tidying their bedrooms. Parents and grandparents have skills to overcome these protests without being draconian. The problem with making Sunday Mass a matter of choice is that a message is given that it is not as important or essential as eating proper food or washing. Sunday Mass should be simply something that we always do because God has asked us to, rather than a compulsory or optional activity.

Bringing young children to Mass has its own challenges. Depending on the layout of your church, it might be good to sit near the front rather than the back, so that the children can see more. Children like to light a candle after Mass (do supervise carefully, of course!) and there are many good books that help children to participate prayerfully at Mass.