As busy mothers, some of us may be feeling guilty because we’re not doing more in our parish. (raising my hand) It’s HARD for me to juggle motherhood, working outside the home, teaching the children and running a house. There’s not a lot of time left over to give to anything else.
While considering ways to get involved with your parish, don’t overlook the benefits of signing up for Adoration. Think you can’t go to Eucharistic Adoration with your children?
Yes, you can.
Explain the Purpose
Talk to your children about WHY we go to Eucharistic Adoration. Depending on the age of your children, your explanation will vary. For us, I tell the big kids (ages 7 and 9) that we are going to worship Jesus and pay respect. For the littles (18 months and 3), I simply explain we are going to say ‘Hello’ to Jesus.
My attitude toward Adoration speaks volumes to my children. If I treat it as a special event and a privilege, they are more likely to as well.
Start Small and Have Reasonable Expectations
I find it hard to sit still, so an hour for me in Adoration is difficult. Add many small ones into the mix, and it’s impossible.
Don’t think of Adoration in the time frame of an hour. Go for as long as you can. Can your children sit still for a half hour show? Then aim to spend 15 minutes with them in Adoration. It’s best to go when the children are fed and well rested. Naptime visits might be a disaster.
I’ve taken my kids in to simply say Hello, just staying long enough to kneel, say a few brief prayers, then say goodbye. I’m planting the seeds in them to value this holy practice in our Church.
Have a Plan
Before you head into Adoration, have a plan. I bring some of our favorite books, printable Rosary cards, or even coloring books. I tell them our plan – that we’re going to go in and read a book together, say a decade of the Rosary together, or even let them color a picture while Mom prays. This way, they know what to expect.
There is Strength in Numbers
I’ll be honest. It can be a little nerve wracking to tackle Eucharistic Adoration for the first time, especially with lots of little people in tow.
Call a friend and invite him or her to go along. If I’m with a friend with children, I don’t feel like I’m sticking out like a sore thumb. If I have a friend without small children along, she can help to hold a baby or two while I pray.
Check Out the Scenery
Point things out to your children. Show them the monstrance, the altar, the candles, or any statues and explain who or what they represent. Show them the stained glass windows, or the books that people can read while they sit in the Real Presence.
In one of the parishes that we visit, Eucharistic Adoration is held in the main church. This offers me a chance to spread out with my brood, and stretch our legs a bit. We can walk around and look at the panels for Stations of the Cross or check out the Baptismal font if my little people get fidgety.
Talk to Your Priest or Deacon
Approach your priest or deacon to see if they would be open to offering a Holy Hour for families.
Ideas include a time during the parish’s normal Adoration hours, or a special time just for families. You can find resources for beginning a Children’s Holy Hour in your parish here.
In our area, there are a few parishes that have monthly Adoration times dedicated to families with children. I packed the children up last month and made the trek downtown. It was hard for me to focus, since I was trying to keep Maeve from escaping out the cathedral’s side door. But, after Adoration was over, the deacon came over, introduced himself to me and invited me to come again.
My last experience with Adoration and my children wasn’t the best. While I was listening to the hymns being sung in Latin, and watching a row of children sitting quietly beside their mother, my little kids were banging their heads on the pews and fighting. Not my greatest parenting moment.
Instead of beating myself up, I’m looking at the calendar to see when we can visit again. (maybe with my husband along to help)
No matter how brief your visit, rejoice in the fact that you spent time with Our Lord. As we approach Advent, it’s time to encourage a deeper relationship with Christ and a deeper understanding of our beautiful Faith. There’s never a better time to bring our children to Jesus, to know and love him more.
Have you taken your children to Eucharistic Adoration? I’d love to hear your thoughts!