Monday, May 9, 2011

Really Long Masses with Really Little Bunnies...

In one way I think I was rather spoiled to start out with my little one's at a little church. Saturday and Sunday Masses were usually exactly sixty minutes (with the only exception being Easter Vigil) and the girls know that they're expected to be relatively still and very quiet during those sixty minutes.

There are many things that I like about our new parish... my sole complaint would be the length of Mass...

I would love all the singing and extras (okay, maybe not the "extras..." But that's really another post and I'm trying not to get sidetracked...) if I weren't wrangling two wild bunnies who seem to think they're free to get up and move about the building after sixty minutes of quietness. They sat for 105 minutes on Easter Sunday (although part of that was because we got there early to get a seat, Mass itself was only 75 minutes long.). We stood for an hour and a half on Good Friday and left long before the service was ended. And yesterday we left after 90 minutes, when there was a huge line for the bathroom and Mae Babe had had enough and Sadie was on the edge of having had enough.

Do any of the rest of you have parishes that regularly have Masses that are over an hour and a half? How do your little ones do? And do you feel super guilty (I do!) when you finally give up and leaver after communion, knowing that it will be another twenty minutes (after ten minutes of announcements done by multiple people) before Mass is over, making the entire sitting time around two hours?

I think that's what bothers me the most! I feel like we should be able to make it to the end... but when the girls have already been sitting still for an hour and a half, another twenty minutes just seems to be too much!


  1. Our parish's Masses vary from about 50 minutes (the 5pm or 7:30am) to about 75 minutes (the 9am and 11am). We usually go to the 11am which sings the Gloria in Latin and has a full choir, collections, etc. I'm wondering just why your masses take so long?

    That said, my 3 year old is usually asking if we are near the end about 30 minutes in, so I don't have any great advice on keeping little ones still or quiet that long but I'm not sure anyone would. How many little ones will sit quiet and still for 2 hours at a time? Maybe they you could take them out for a few minute stretch after the homily just to give them a break and then take them back in? It would either help them get to the end or make them upset to have to go back in, but I can't think of much else. Ours bring a few quiet books, rosary or prayer cards but I doubt that would hold mine for 2 hours.

  2. Our Mass is short, but I still dread it. I'm all about options. I like that we have a children's Mass but there is no cry room for kids to go and move about in. We have to go outside which I'm opposed to doing because it's hot and the kids get dirty (which doesn't bother me except their in nice clothes). We have nursery, which I'll probably end up using because my kid can't sit through Mass longer than 20 minutes.

    It's really all about the child's personality. Some kids have to move; others it doesn't matter. Hence the reason for options. The more options the better parents and children can find a happy medium.

  3. What in heaven's name takes another 20 minutes AFTER 10 minutes of announcements???

    The longest Mass we have experienced locally is at a neighboring parish where the pastor (a brilliant, orthodox priest and phenomenal homilist) often sings the Mass, which is followed by about 5 minutes of "good news" sharing and a few announcements (it is a very active parish.) Even at that, the maximum length for any typical weekend Mass has been about 80 minutes.


  4. As a mom of a 3 year old, 21 month old, and one month old I cannot imagine making it through and hour and a half Mass with the kiddos! We have a lot of young families at our parish and our priest is very cognizant that is tough for the little ones to sit quietly for much more than an hour. He keeps the announcements very brief, encouraging everyone to pick up a bulletin on the way out. I would not feel guilty at all about having to leave a little early, and I think it is great that your girls are able to behave so well for the first hour. I always consider it a success when all three of ours make it through the hour long Mass :-)

  5. Hi Marie-

    It's actually probably closer to twenty minutes... It usually involves one person giving the announcements from the bulletin and then someone else remembering something and getting up to talk and then another priest wandering in from the back and remembering something else important that everyone needs to know. And then a second collection (and we have to talk about how it's important)! And then more talking. And then the blessing. At least that's how it is when we make it to the end!

    Deltaflute- I can't imagine going outside with your little guy feeling the way your feeling and with the weather you have there! I'm glad you have a nursery option. So far we've never been anyplace that has one.

    Hi Katherine- It's mostly music it seems. Between the cantor and the "extra" special music our pastor likes to add (he has a great voice... but I am sometimes reminded of "High School Musical" during Mass) it adds up. And there are the "extra" blessings for special occasions (like mother's day).

    Anonymous- You do have your hands full! I can't imagine a three year old and a twenty one month old at this point! Mae isn't walking yet and she keeps me so busy!

  6. We are blessed that mass is almost always 60 minutes in length, although most times we have to wait 5-10 minutes for mass to start because the pastor is late. Our biggest wait comes in trying to leave the parking lot which takes 15-20 minutes and a baby crying in the car seat.

    As a former Protestant I'm shocked at my impatience. I remember services lasting at least 2 hours and fellowship after the service was over was at least an hour in length. Of course they had Sunday school for all the little ones to be in while the adults listened to the sermon. I find it funny to be able to point out a Catholic church just by the way people park (they all face out for a quick getta-way).

    I don't know what can be done to make it easier to stay during the mass. I think it's very important for children to see the mass and desire the Eucharist. The church changes a little every day, I hope they will find a solution to this dilemma.

  7. Our Mass here in St. Louis takes about an hour, hour and a half or two hours, depending on if it is Low, High or Solemn High Mass.

    I have to say, there are no 'extras' at this Mass. All the announcements are in the bulletin and if there is anything that needs to be mentioned it's done by the priest just before the sermon. Short and sweet.

    We sit right up front so the kids can watch. It keeps them attentive and they do sit for the whole time, with the exception of my 10 month old who gets taken to the back for 'chatting' and my 3 year old who occasionally needs to be taken out for discipline. My 9, 7, and 5 year old stay in the pew; follow along with the Mass and they are used to it. We go there every Sunday and during the week at least once. I think it just takes time.

    We are blessed with a beautiful church to look at, beautiful music to hear, and devout priests who say the Mass the same way every time, positively no changes or differences between the 2 priests we have. And even when there are changes like during Holy Week or other big feasts or when a Bishop or Cardinal comes, my kids know it and want to know why things aren't the same. I think this is the key for my kids anyway, consistency, a vestibule with windows and good speakers and a church full of lots of little ones with families drawn to this Mass for various reasons. :)

  8. I've been at Peklet Mom's parish and I have to say that it has loads of families, the priest who was celebrating gave one of the best sermons I've heard since we became Catholic. One interesting thing was that while the Mass was beautifully celebrated and reverent there seemed to be a lot of freedom of movement with people in and out of their pews a fair amount. However, it really wasn't distracting. My son said that he thought people might actually be going to confession during Mass and that it wasn't unusual for people to not necessarily be following along for the whole Mass (he reads a lot about Trad practices).

    My nearly two year old granddaughter made it through the Easter Vigil, although she did get taken out during the homily. Part of that seemed to be giving her a few things to play with (at the very end when she was about to lose it I pulled out a very delicate Rosary and she was fascinated with that for long enough to get through communion and the final blessing).

    My daughter says that one of the advantages over Protestant services is that in a Catholic Mass just about the time the kids are getting restless we do something different (kneel, stand, pass the peace) and it gives everyone a bit of a break from just sitting. I only know that my granddaughter lasts far longer than her mommy did in a Protestant service at the same age.

    Oh, and btw, I wish I lived in St. Louis, if I did we'd be at Peklet Mom's parish all the time.


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!