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No More ‘Before Mass Drama’ ? – It Begins With The Preparation
My husband and I have had the opportunity, many trials, and the awesome blessing of raising 10 children in the Catholic Faith.
Experience? – yes. Perfection? – no. Before Mass drama? – plenty…
Our three oldest children were from our prior marriages and so that had its own issues due to those other parents, not in line with our beliefs. That would be a whole other post!
At the beginning of our family life together, our Sunday mornings would be filled with turmoil, fighting, screaming, many times tears, and lots of drama!
I would sometimes end up throwing my hands up and voicing my decision to just stay home. My heart was full of frustration and I certainly didn’t feel like a Christian or a woman worthy of going to Mass at that point.
Yes, we all know it isn’t about us being worthy, it is about who God is…
In spite of our usual Sunday before Mass drama, we decided to put into place some definitive habits that have made getting ready for Mass no longer a weekly struggle. No more drama, tears, or yelling about getting ready for Mass goes on in our home on Sunday mornings.
This is true even with the fact that we have 5 still home ranging in age from 10-years-old to an 18-year-old! Praise God!
Here I will list for you the 5 steps that have led us this freedom and Sunday Morning Peace!
- Pray & Prepare
- Get Ready First
- Get Your Clothing The Night Before
- Participate In Ministries
- Make Mass More Important Than That…
Step 1 – Pray & Prepare
It is no secret that I get up very early every day. But, it was not always like that. One thing I had committed to doing early on was getting up extra early on Sunday Mornings.
This is reserved as a sacred time for me to pray and focus my mind on the day and that we would be getting ready and attending Mass as a family.
I also take time to read the readings for that day one to two times during this time.
As you know, when you have children, you may not be able to focus on the readings as closely as you would like. But, having read them once or twice ahead of time makes the readings more familiar and easier to hear above distractions. It gets rid of the frustration you can sometimes get from tending to a child and can’t listen fully.
Step 2 – Get Ready First
The next things I do are get showered, do my hair, get dressed, and get the second pot of coffee on.
I get this done before anyone else gets out of bed. This helps me to be available and focused more so on the children and their needs.
I cannot express how putting this into habit has eliminated my being preoccupied with getting ready when my husband or children need my help.
Step 3 – Get Your Clothing Ready The Night Before & Have Husband Help
Saturday evening we pick out our clothes for the next morning. This helps eliminate the issue of someone’s shoes not fitting, not being able to find something, or clothes needing to be ironed right before Mass.
Honestly, the ironing is sometimes put off until Sunday morning but, I have been blessed with a husband who doesn’t mind doing it for me.
Step 4 – Participate In Ministries
This is a very important aspect!
As parents, we have always insisted that, when old enough, our children would sign up and volunteer to be involved in a ministry of some kind.
This allows our younger children to see their older siblings actively participate in Mass. This helps to develop in them some anticipation for when they will be old enough to do their part.
The opportunity to volunteer can vary among different diocese. In our diocese, both boys and girls can Altar serve, be a Eucharistic minister, and/or a lector.
When the children have decided they feel too old to Alter serve, they can move onto lecturing, or some other ministry to stay active and participatory.
Being involved in a ministry puts them on a schedule, gives them responsibility, and gives them a sense of belonging in a way that going to Mass alone sometimes doesn’t produce. They have more of a feeling of belonging and taking part in this wonderful celebration.
I am amazed at how many parents allow their children to decide to graduate from Alter serving and leave any type of ministry altogether. This, I believe, is many times the beginning of a lesser desire to any participation in church involvement.
Step 5 – Make Mass & Sacraments More Important Than That
Sometimes I see families put emphasis on sports, school, and lessons of some kind more than they do on their most important gift & possession – life devoted to God.
Our children are in many different sports. They have practice, games, and conditioning they have to regularly participate in order to continue to learn and fine-tune their knowledge and become more of an expert in that particular sport.
Why is it then that when it comes to the most important thing, our faith, we become lax and less insistent or even indifferent to their learning about, practicing, or participation in it?
Making Mass, confession, retreats, etc. at the appropriate age is essential to your family’s life is crucial if you want to bring the idea that Mass is important and just part of your everyday family life.
This will really help to get rid of the before Mass drama. It just becomes part of your Child’s routine like sports or school.
You can start with prayer before meals and commit to it. You will soon see that the children will often be the ones to initiate before long. It becomes one of those important Holy habits.
It Is Never Too Late
I am here to tell you that it is never too late to begin to transform your Sunday Mornings. We had a long way to go when we started – but our Sunday mornings have been transformed.
Start today and commit to it.
We still have 5 children home and never do we have to fight with the kids to get ready for Mass. It is just known by the whole family that Sunday Morning we get up and get ready for Mass. We have made it part of our family’s rhythm.
Even this morning, our 16-year-old son has to work and will not be able to attend Mass with us at 9:15.
So, he just got up got dressed, and just left to attend an earlier Mass in a neighboring town. He planned and did this all without my involvement or direction. It is a habit and obligation he has chosen to live by. It is in moments like this that I am truly thankful that we have put into place the steps above.
We and our children are far from perfect, and there are plenty of times that yelling, crying, and yes fist-fighting, go on. (boys 🙄) But, the struggle and before Mass drama are no more.
I no longer have to fight with them, yell or get frustrated Sunday mornings.
My prayer is that these steps help guide you and your family to fully prioritize, embrace and begin to truly enjoy getting ready for that weekly Holy blessing and Gift of receiving Jesus at Mass.