I was at Mass with B last week, and it was a rare quiet occasion where I could stay for a bit of Adoration afterwards. Benedict joined in happily singing “O sacrament most holy” and then carried on walking up and down the pew (I’ve started to take his shoes off in Mass because he enjoys the loud noise his shoes make on the wooden floor far too much!).
After a while, B was increasingly getting louder and more adventurous, so I thought it was probably time to go. I went to pick him up and as we were leaving the pew, he said so clearly and out of the blue: “bye bye Jesus”! My heart just melted. I realised at that point that Benedict already has his own relationship with Jesus, and that the Mass isn’t just something for me that I bring Benedict to, but the Mass is something just as much for him too! I also realised just how precious Benedict is in God’s eyes and how much He longs for Benedict too.
It really doesn’t seem to matter where I celebrate the Easter Triduum, it always manages to blow me away. When the Gloria is sung at the Vigil and the bells start ringing, I can’t help but be so happy and thankful! So much waiting and anticipation, and it’s always so much better than what I remember from the year before.
For Good Friday, Eoin spent Maundy Thursday in the kitchen making some home-made hot cross buns – they were delicious! And what better way to teach children about the Triduum than through baking. I know Benedict really isn’t old enough to understand yet, but we’ve been singing lots of nursery rhymes with him, including ‘one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns’, and thought it would be fun to make them this year. Here’s the recipe.
Anyone who knows Benedict will know his love for food; he could easily challenge his dad with eating as many easter eggs as you can in one go. So passing on the faith with food is probably the way forward!
Eoin, Benedict and I went to St Patrick’s Church in Soho yesterday for Palm Sunday, and in true St Patrick’s fashion we processed around Soho Square holding our palms and singing hymns. And as with any religious procession around Soho there was no shortage of hostility, which I guess means all the more reason to process.
I absolutely love going back to St Patrick’s. I think it is the most alive and active parish I have ever known, and one that is really living Pope Francis’ call to evangelise. It evangelises like one massive steam roller; making its presence felt and really not afraid to go ahead! After Mass and lunch yesterday, the SPES students and seminarians, along with Fr Alexander went out on to the streets giving out palms and talking to people about Christ and the coming of Easter.
Its because of this passion for evangelisation that I am so glad Benedict was baptised in St Patrick’s. I don’t think Benedict could begin his life within the Church in a better place.
After Benedict’s baptism, with Fr Alexander:
With his Godparents – my sister, Hannah and Eoin’s brother, Stefan:
With Eoin’s parents, my Granny and Nanna, and my parents:
I came across this book “Faith Beginnings” on another Catholic Mum’s blog… It is brilliant! It talks about ways of developing a child’s faith right from birth. Until reading this book, I never thought about my 8 month old having faith at his age. Of course, I knew that when he was baptised God made His home in him, but I guess I thought he would be older and talking before he could have faith in Christ.
The book suggests really simple things, like whispering the Hail Marys of the rosary to soothe your baby to sleep. And so by praying with them on a regular basis it becomes a normal part of their daily life.
I remember being surprised a couple of months ago when, seemingly out of the blue, my husband said grace with Benedict before he fed him his dinner. He took Benedict’s hand to make the sign of the cross and then prayed the grace we normally say. It was so lovely to watch, and I couldn’t understand why we hadn’t done it before! It seemed so obvious!
The book also talks about the sensory nature of the Catholic Church; the smells of incense, the stain glass windows, statues of saints, holy water at the entrance of the church, the ringing of bells during the Consecration. In an age where there are countless sensory classes being offered to mothers and babies, the Mass seems a great way of introducing your child to the different senses, AND it nourishes their soul too!!
This book is definitely a must for any Catholic parent!
Going to Mass is a completely different experience since becoming a mum. I try and take Benedict most days, and if I can manage to stay with him in the pew until the end of the Gospel then its a good day!
The old ladies absolutely love him. They listen out for his unique owl sounding noise of: “cooo-cooo!” to know that Benedict and mum have arrived. At the end of Mass, they crowd around him waiting for his smile, and dutifully he never seems to fail!
I’m really lucky in my parish that everyone is so friendly and they don’t seem to mind the loud baby noises. But at the same time I can’t help but focus on those noises that Benedict makes and wonder how much longer I can distract him before I need to take him to the back of the church. I remind myself over and over again of the quote by an evangelical pastor:
If you don’t hear crying the church is dying!
And that carries me through all Benedict’s funny noises, the noises of a growing Church.