I am writing in response to Bob Thomas' May 18 editorial "For crying out loud, remove children during Mass." People of Carson City - Mr. Thomas does not speak for what I believe to be the majority of the Catholic community in this town. Especially, we parents with children and young adults!
Mr. Thomas, your editorial was not only offensive, but also way out of line. I tried to find some "tongue-in-cheek" tone, but could not and felt strongly enough about a number of your points to write this letter. For the record, I am a practicing Roman Catholic and active member of our parish community in Carson City.
First of all, our children are our future. Our church and parish community need to find ways to be more open to our children and young people to help them to build sound and solid values, especially to counteract the peer pressure and today's society. To say parents are oblivious or that they lack class or courtesy or consideration because they have their children at Mass cannot be further from the truth. You make horrid generalizations about our church and the valuable members of it.
Our parish community is blessed with two priests, Father Jerry and Father Paul, who support parents and encourage us to make sure our children are a part of this community and, most importantly, a part of the Mass. Mass means a group of people, not just a part of it discriminated by age. Furthermore, you rant that our church does not have established Sunday Schools or infant care. We do and have for years. Both 9 and 10:30 Masses have a child care program that is excellent. The 10:30 Mass, during the academic year, has a Sunday School program for prekindergarten to second grade. This is coordinated by a paid religious education staff headed by a very talented woman, Mary Anne Randall.
I am raising four children in the church and, yes, there are days when I wish I could be there on my own for meditation and contemplation. There are times when their fidgeting and bickering drives me nuts in or out of church, but I chose to have my children. I wouldn't want them any place other than beside me and their dad in Mass so we can share in the joy of Mass and fully experience the support of our community.
Mr. Thomas, remember too, that our Church (the one in Rome, that is) encourages propagation and prohibits any artificial means to prevent conception. You want to spew forth that these children, blessed gifts of God, shouldn't be in the church listening to God's message and sharing in Mass? Do you happen to have some insight that these children don't get something from being there? Furthermore, I can't tell you how many Masses where my prayer time and listening to the Word was disturbed by an older person snoring in the pews!
OK, one more point before I finish up! You say spend money rather than depend on volunteer child care or Sunday School And then you go on to state, "Witness our sorry music programs." What church do you go to? Our music groups are phenomenal! You do not realize how incredibly blessed we are with our groups under the coordination of Deacon Bob Evans. I was active in the music ministry here and in Illinois for over 10 years. (I actually quit so I could take my young children to Mass and share it with them!) It is a joyful and joy-filled ministry as both a participant and recipient. Much of what is done in our parish is accomplished through volunteers. Look around you - The vestments and linens are ironed. The church is clean. The candles are stocked. The altar is decorated. The fonts are full. The Eucharist is given. Every family in need has gifts at Christmas. What do you do for our community and parish? Write nasty exclusionary editorials?
In a time where so many of our youth are going places they shouldn't be going and doing things they shouldn't be doing, we as a united parish community should be opening our arms and doors to them actively. We should be welcoming all parents to come and join our parish community so they can be supported in this incredibly difficult task of parenting in the 21st century. I cannot believe your arrogant, self-centered view of our church, Mr. Thomas, and hope that some people will read this and know you are the minority. The majority of us are 20-, 30- and 40-something members who thrive in the cacophony of glorious children our God has given us. I'll light a candle for you to open your heart to the brilliant light of our future - Catholic children!