I HAVE A TODDLER whom my husband and I have been bringing to church faithfully every week for Mass. Our objective is very simple. We love our religion and we want our son to grow up close to Jesus and know his church.

We make it a point to sit at the back of the church so that if he makes noise, he would not distract the congregation. If he is too noisy, we would quickly bring him out of the church. As he is older now, we thought it is time to shift him out of the Mother's Chapel and to set the routine for our weekly Mass. However, I get rude stares from some fellow parishioners.

If my toddler can sit still for one hour throughout Mass, then he would not be called a toddler. But this is what they expect. I feel that I have done my part by sitting at the back of the church and bringing him out of the church if he is too noisy.

Then, we tried to bring him for Children's Liturgy so that at least he would not be in the church for half the Mass. We got chased out from the Children's Liturgy as well. The reason was not because he was noisy but because he was not as quiet as a mouse! They expect the children to be absolutely quiet. It is funny that they scold the children for talking and then the next moment expect the children to respond to their questions.

I very much want to tell them that although I praise them for their time and effort, I think they are doing more harm than good when they scold and frighten the children.

It just sets me thinking: Are we supposed to keep our toddlers at home? Shouldn't we be encouraged to introduce Jesus and the Mass to our children when they are young?

Why talk about evangelization and how to prevent young people from leaving the church when our church is not welcoming them when they first come? I wonder if it is my fault for bringing my toddler to church?

    Marie Lim Puay See

    Singapore 579820

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