Jesus Was Not A Bully; The Ambo Is Not A Bully Pulpit

Today at the eleven o’clock mass at St. Mary’s church in Marion, Ohio, the pastor left the altar before giving his homily and approached a family with several small children under the age of four who were sitting near the front of the church.  In view of the entire congregation, he chastised the parents, telling them that it was inappropriate for their children to be eating, drinking, and playing with toys during mass.  Even though they were well-behaved (a parishioner sitting within earshot of this exchange had not even noticed the children’s activity until the pastor descended to condemn them), he said the children were “distracting” him.

So much for welcoming the little children.

A man who makes small children feel ashamed for playing with toys while in the house of God clearly does not understand what it means to be loved by a Fatherly God and certainly ought not to be called “Father.”

The Gospel of Luke teaches that “anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will not enter it.” If we believe this, then the unplanned play of small children proves not a “distraction” from the “manly” activity of sacred altars but the perfect model of how all Christians ought to receive Christ and His Kingdom.

There is no better place for small children to play than before the altar of the Lord.  There is no better time than in the middle of Mass.

Let the little children play.

65 thoughts on “Jesus Was Not A Bully; The Ambo Is Not A Bully Pulpit

  1. Katie! No, no – this can’t be. But of course it is, or you would not have posted this. How very wrong!

    I always think of my own pastor, who often says to people rushing out with their kids who are fussing a bit – “Wait, come back! That’s what we sound like to God!”

    But it does not sound as if these kids were fussing or making noise, they were just doing what kids do – and quietly at that. A family at mass? Let’s make them go away.

    Even if he had a problem with them, speak to them privately please!

    • Yes, exactly. Or at the very least, if you are going to ban the very common custom of small children eating and drinking and playing during mass, you should make some sort of general announcement.

      I think most people would very much disagree with that (rightfully so) but at least you would not humiliate and single out one family so cruelly.

  2. Thanks Katie – this is just simply embarrassing. The amount of time and energy for a family to take kids to Mass is clearly not understood. If this priest were to go to Mass in Africa or Asia, I am sure he’d be distracted.

    Is there a way that he can see this post? Or maybe even his bishop? Maybe this can be a learning experience for everyone.

  3. This makes me so upset. I love going to Mass and seeing families there. I don’t always feel that connected to the church anymore, but seeing families at mass reminds me of my childhood and the community I felt in the church growing up. This priest obviously doesn’t understand that sense of community!

    To make a family feel like they aren’t worshiping properly or behaving properly is completely outrageous. It sounds like this family was not even drawing attention to themselves. If he had been my priest when I was a child, I’m sure he would have chastised my family. Would we have kept coming to mass? Maybe my mother would have, but I probably would have been left home. Then what connection would I really have with the church? This is just so sad.

  4. At mass today in NJ, I sat behind a family with 3 young boys who did pretty well considering they were about 6, 4 and 2. At the end of mass, the youngest one insisted on putting on his coat and he did it every which way, backwards and upside down. But his parents were very patient with him and he eventually got the right result. He made me think “that’s probably what we look like to God” with all of our attempts and independence and that gave me comfort. What happened at your church did not. I believe that a few moms who are trying to be Catholic should confront the priest regarding his shortsightedness.

    • Thinking about my own question, I think that a loving response would be one that construes the priest’s actions as charitably as possible. This is also most likely to elicit a positive response: attacking someone just makes them defensively double down, while expressing sincere concern creates a better possibility for productive dialogue.

      So, perhaps, asking if he was feeling well, or was particularly stressed about something that day, or having particular trouble concentrating, because his actions seemed surprisingly harsh?

      Maybe asking what it was, in particular, about the children’s behavior that so distressed him, given that it’s broadly accepted in your experience that as long as the children are quiet, they may amuse themselves during Mass?

      I might also share that it seemed a very unwelcoming approach, and I didn’t think that’s what we as a church community wanted to project. Citing Pope Francis’ comments would also be good here, as Chris suggested.

      I wouldn’t start out by pointing him at this post, because most of the comments are critical, disapproving, even shocked. But if the conversation moved productively, then I might mention it & ask if he was interested in hearing how his behavior had been interpreted.

  5. Pope Francis has said some great things about being open and welcoming and family friendly which might help this priest. Show him some photos or video of the incident where Pope Francis welcomes a small child who runs around the podium.

    God bless

  6. This is just terrible. I couldn’t even comment when I first read it, because I was so angry. Your response is far more charitable and reasonable than I would be.

    I heard church members talk like the priest once. I was so mad I couldn’t see straight for a few hours afterward.

  7. What would be a loving response to this priest?

    Perhaps a heads-up to this post and its thread? Which poses another question: What do you suppose the priest’s response to a loving response would be?

  8. I had a priest tell me that my 1 year old’s babbling was “distracting the hell out of” him. What struck me the most as I left (because save from arguing back, what was I to do? I suppose I could have just stood my ground, but I was a bit shocked) was watching a young woman leave, too. I knew her only a bit, but I knew enough to know that going to church was difficult for her and this was part of an attempt to commit more to regular church attendance. She walked out in anger. I don’t know if she’s been back.

    On the other hand, I recently took my 7 month old out of church for her particularly enthusiastic cooing. After Mass, our parish priest told me (with a smile) that “Pope Francis would have been disappointed in me” for not keeping her in Mass and that he himself welcomes such babbling praise of God as Mass.

  9. I’d like to add, too, that one of the most grace-filled comments we get is when people around us tell us that our children are beautiful and well-behaved. Even when they’re not, people tell us that they are well-behaved. I know that these folks are just being kind… but after a Mass when I suspect that everyone is staring at us and judging us for our out of control munchkins, such words are a powerful affirmation by the community of the good of having kids in Mass (no matter how they behave).

  10. I guess I’m the only one that doesn’t have a hard time with what this priest did. Why do parents have to make every place like a daycare for their child? What’s the cutoff and when do you teach your children that there are solemn moments that require you keep still? I realize that it’s difficult for children to be still; whether you’re successful or not is not the point. The point is to try. Drinks and Cheerios are a last resort. This actually looks like a message to the parents who were probably being disrespectful while catering to their children.

    • I think if the priest is genuinely worried about children eating and playing with toys during mass (which IS a common occurrence, though not universal as I and my siblings were patently not allowed any type of toy or food during Church), then the answer is to write a pastoral letter and put it in the Church bulletin about how you think church attendance is a great opportunity to teach your children about solemnity and that we encourage solemnity by telling kids “toys are not for here.” I can definitely remember priests in my youth making comments to that effect during homilies, that there comes a time when you have to graduate kids away from what is being used to keep them quiet in Church. Humiliating the family in front of the congregation was wicked and an abuse of privilege.

      The actual wisdom of making those comments in any context, I’m not so sure. On the one hand, I do have a bias in that I was not allowed toys or food during Church and acting out or not paying attention was punished by my parents and I found that it made going to Church when I was in Catholic grammar school a lot easier as I wasn’t being constantly chided by teachers for acting out in Church. On the other hand, keeping kids calm in Church is INCREDIBLY hard. I recently took my 5 year old nephew to mass and was in a state of near panic the entire time as I realized I was basically totally incapable of reigning him in should he choose to act up. Every time he kicked the seat in front of him or knocked his head into the pew behind him and I gently asked “please don’t do that, you’re distracting people” I was legitimately afraid he’d go into a total tantrum, as he often does in Church. (fwiw, he didn’t go into a tantrum at this mass). And to get some perspective on how incredibly long and drawn the entire mass seems to children, he turned to me at the sign of peace and asked, “Is churthch over yet?” Like he was positively dying after 25 minutes. Which is all to say that if bringing not one but three young children to mass were my weekly reality, I wouldn’t be surprised if I full-on sedated them, let alone gave them something to keep them quiet. And for a Church (the American Catholic one to be specific, although I’m not sure if this particular Church is Catholic), that repeatedly laments the lack of Church attendance and the apathy of young parents who don’t bring children to Church, it was a terrible pastoral technique.

      • When my brother and I were very young, my parents routinely went to different Masses on the weekends so that they didn’t have to bring very young children to church. There was also a crying room, from which mothers with fussy children were expected to “hear Mass.”

        But one can’t have “full active participation” if one is relegated to a glassed-in room with the sound piped in. And if the church is going to emphasize how important the family is, and how important it is to a marriage to bear and raise children, then it seems more than a bit hypocritical to not accept that children are…. children.

    • What’s the cutoff? I don’t think it’s “under the age of four,” which these children were.

      In general, I think it’s disrespectful to audit other people’s parenting.

      As for “solemn moments,” I think it’s reasonable to give very young children more leeway during the liturgy of the word, exactly so that they have the capacity to be still and pay attention at the solemn moments of the consecration and the Lamb of God, and participate in saying the Lord’s Prayer.

  11. If you were a physical witness to this, I would send your blog post with contact information to the bishop. If you were NOT there, I would proceed with caution or not at all. I have heard some unbelievable things in my time, that in the end were untrue. Good luck!

  12. It is hard to keep young children quiet in church. It gets better with age. But that is not an excuse to make Mass into a play date. And the snacks are completely unnecessary – a child can go without for an hour. If you’re using food to discipline or pacify a child, that is imprudent parenting.

    “There is no better place for small children to play than before the altar of the Lord. There is no better time than in the middle of Mass.” Really? Would you agree if I said, “There is no better place for small children to play than before the the screen of a movie theatre. There is no better time than in the middle of a movie.” You might say, “Well, then you’re disturbing other people!” But wouldn’t that be true at Mass, along with disrespecting the Holy Eucharist?

    But what I find disturbing about this blog post is that this seems to be repeated hearsay and written with some hyperbole. Did the priest “chastise” the parents loudly? Certainly the phrase that the pastor “descend[ed] to condemn them” suggests a bias against the priest from the onset. Maybe that is why his name is not mentioned in the post – but is in its tags – while making sure we all know it was the pastor of St. Mary’s in Marion, OH; that strikes me as rather passive-aggressive writing, in my opinion.

    So let’s vilify Fr. Buffer even though there may be more to the story. Who knows? Maybe Fr. Buffer was just having a bad day. He is human, you know. But to suggest that he “clearly does not understand what it means to be loved by a Fatherly God and certainly ought not to be called ‘Father'” perhaps indicates that you certainly ought not to be called a “Christian.”

  13. I am a retried priest. I was vulnerable to distractions when I was quite tired from stress and demands of ministries . I felt at these times unprepared to preach adequately and rather than admit it, I would sometimes blame people, fussy children , but only once with a public reprimand of teenagers which I was regretting even as I was doing it. What is a loving response? Maybe ask him what he needs for himself at this time.

  14. Katie –

    I just happened to stumble across this blog post, and it is written about MY family. I am SO very grateful that you were kind enough to come to our defense as we were humiliated in front of the entire church. I am deeply saddened and hurt by what happened, and have had a hard time even beginning to overcome it. I can see the point of snacks and toys being distracting in church…I get it….point taken (won’t EVER make that mistake again)….but to publicly humiliate us?? It could have been handled much differently with a much better outcome. Thank you SO much for defending us. We left early because we just couldn’t bear the humiliation, so we didn’t realize we had supporters out there. I have felt so alone and horrible, and I have felt like a horrible mother for the past 2 days. It hurt and it’s going to take a while to get over. I’m trying to handle it as “Christian-like” as I can, but it has been difficult. So THANK YOU again for coming to our defense!

    Rachel

  15. It is also important for kids to be paying attention to the Mass. This is the most important event in their lives. If they do pay attention they can’t not grow. Two more things. One, having extra noise can distract the priest from the Mass. He does need to focus, not just go though the motions of the Mass. Also, pray for your priest. We seem to forget the importance they truly have in our lives as leaders. There is much spiritual warfare going on in their lives. We are also asked by our Mother, Mary, not to speak badly about our priests to others. If you truly have a problem with what he did during Mass, call up your local parish office and schedule to sit down and talk to him about it. God bless to you all and continue to fight the good fight.

  16. I was at the mass. As father approached the ambo to give his homily he went to the pew that was directly in front of the ambo and leaned over and spoke. I was wondering what he was saying. I could see but not hear. From my perspective he appeared friendly. I thought maybe he was talking to the children about their good behavior or something. The appearance from my perspective was father was not chastizing anyone. After mass I did not hear anyone talking about it. In fact I forget it even happened until this blog appeared. I was only about four pews away and could not hear what father was saying. It did not seem like anything negative was happening. Father is typically kind to kids – he is usualy friendly and welcoming and tolerant. Never seen him act otherwise.

    • Hi Mark,
      I don’t think I’ve talked to you since I was in high school. I hope you are well.

      I am glad to hear those good words about out priest.

      You might want to look through these comments for the comment left by Rachel. She is the woman this happened to. And if you don’t believe her, you might want to ask your niece about it because she was there too.

      I hope we as a parish can find a way to make her feel welcome in her home parish once again.

      All the best,
      Katie

    • Katie,
      I think we have a witness in Mark. I understand that Rachel was mortified that Father deviated from the usual flow of the mass to come and speak with her, but I think your original post was over the top for something that you did not witness first hand. Do you see the irony? The cinder? The plank?

      We are all sinners. You. Me. Father, too. I commiserate with Father, as I am usually involved in the mass as a cantor or chorister. I need to concentrate on my duties and guard a live microphone. It is amazing to me how many people with small (noisy) children like to sit in the music section. I am very gentle with any reminders, but they are rare as I don’t want to traumatize anyone like Rachel. (I’m not being sarcastic, I brought toddlers once, too. Good for her!)

      A wise priest once advised me that I should try to let the random noises at mass help transport me to the foot of the cross. “Imagine the tears and wailing at Calgary. If a little noise from the children take you out of where you want to be, let them take you where you need to be.” I wish I had heard this suggestion twenty years earlier.

      I think the thing to do here is pray. May I suggest that all of us, however intimately or remotely involved in this situation spend a few minutes in love and charity for the others?

      Blessings to all,

      Paul

      • Hi Paul,
        Yes I was involved with Life Teen when I was in high school and so I know Mark.

        No I don’t see the irony but I do know that I am a sinner.

        Calling out abuses of power is not the same as using your power to make a subordinate feel ashamed and unwelcome.

        And if you read Rachels comments, from her perspective my post was not “over the top” but healing.

        I wrote this post in the hopes that it would find its way to Rachel, whom I did not know and could figure out no way to track down. I also wrote it so that it would inspire our parish to rally around Rachel and heal the wound inflicted upon her.

        Pope Francis spoke of his wish that the church be a field hospital. I am trying to take that desire seriously.

        Rather than telling me not to air the church’s dirty laundry, I think we should be focusing our energies on Rachel. Have you tried to reach out to her?

  17. Not trying to get into a kerfuffle here, but if I were not a personal witness to the situation, I would be very careful with the 9th commandment. I would ask a little temperance for all involved. Best Wishes.

    • I have proof, Paul, trust me. I can’t say more due to confidentiality issues but I have the testimony of two witnesses plus another piece of direct evidence.

      I am not misrepresenting what happened but reporting what happened verbatim.

      The theological interpretation is my own but the account is taken from my source and corrobated with further evidence.

      I would be breaking the ninth commandment only if what I said were untrue. It’s not.

  18. OK then. Your account varies from Mark’s. ( not the Gospel writer, but the parishioner in attendance). That would be enough to deter me from your level of conviction, but then again, I’m not on par with Mathew, Mark, Luke or John. ;)

    • No Paul because Mark said he could see but not hear. Both of my sources saw and heard. So yes Mark was a witness in the literal sense that he saw but he was not close enough to the action to actually perceive what was going on, as Mark himself admits.

  19. If Mark were four pews away and could not hear what was being said, I suggest that Father was exercising more discretion than you are. Your condemnations are being acknowledged several states away here in Wisconsin.

    • The wrongness of what father did does not depend on it being audible to the entire congregation but for how it humiliated and shamed and made a parishioner feel unwelcome for things she should not feel ashamed of.

      Just because “everyone” did not hear it does not mean that it was not public.

      Try seeing things from Rachel’s perspective.

      I thought that we Catholics would be beyond the whole “defend the priest at all costs and don’t speak ill of him publicly” mentality by now but apparently not.

      I just do not agree with your approach to church life.

      And yes, a man from Wisconsin disagrees with my approach. That is his right. I don’t think there is even one thing every human being agrees on. But since writing this post, the vast majority of people I have encountered have agreed that the priest’s actions were egregious. The majority is not always right of course but I think the fact that so many Catholics feel this way should give us pause.

      I think alot could be done if Fr. would offer a sincere apology to Rachel and make sure that she feels safe to attend our church again. I think this would also be a good opportunity for us as a parish to ask ourselves what we can do to make everyone who walks through our doors feel welcome.

      In fact, if Fr. reaches out to Rachel to her satisfaction and heals the wounds he has inflicted on her, I will take this post down. If Rachel consents to such contact, I can even help put them in touch.

  20. You disagree to my approach to LIFE, Katie. I have been guilty of gossip before, and I am extremely circumspect when faced with such temptations. If you will excuse me, I will dismiss myself from the rest of this tribunal. Still suggesting the prayer thing, though. I will remember you and Rachel and Father in my prayer today.

    • Thank you for the prayers and yes I will pray today like l do everyday.

      Unfortunately you misunderstood the meaning of the word “gossip.” this post does not contain information about anyone’s personal or private lives and so it is not gossip.

      http://i.word.com/idictionary/gossip

      And yes since this is not a tribunal, I have no power to compel your participation in this conversation and so you are very free to remove yourself.

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  22. The Pastor has clearly said that he considers the Church to be a “top down” organization and does not seem interested in dialogue.

  23. The organizational structure of the Church enables some priests and bishops to act like “dictators”. It is based on the monarchial feudal system. Bishops still have a court of arms. There is no effective practical remedy available to the laity when they are confronted by such conduct on the part of the clergy.

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  25. Whether someone could hear what the priest was saying three rows or back, does that really matter? It obviously left them feeling singled out and embarrassed. My daughter was babbling during Mass one time, not crying, not even babbling loudly. Just making a little noise every once in a while. And we were approached by a Priest (different Parish, different Priest) and asked to move to the cry room. She wasn’t even crying! My daughter behaves even worse in the cry room but we use it because we don’t want to distract others. Personally, I hate cry rooms. I think they separate families from the Parish.

    It makes you feel unwelcomed and awkward even if that wasn’t the intention. Priests are human, they have bad days to. I realize this. And I can’t imagine the distractions they have to deal with. But it’s like any job- or vocation in this case, there are challenges. Those crying babies and “annoying” children are the future of the Church.

    But this is ridiculous, because this happens everywhere! We’re losing people in our faith because of this attitude. People who are coughing, sneezing, sniffling during Mass aren’t usually asked to move to the cry room, just saying. We need to have more love and tolerance. He could have spoken to them after Mass, not in front of people. Then there would be no need for this blog.

    It’s hard managing children in Mass. People want to complain that families don’t go to Mass but then they complain when they’re there. They cry, they’re distractions, blah blah blah. We do our best to have strong rules for our almost two year old. She is very strong willed and has a hard time sitting down, she’s two for heaven’s sake! We allow quiet play and religious books, no toys that make noise. She can color and draw and yes heaven forbid eat crackers. It does calm her down and she does need a snack sometimes. That way my husband and I can actually enjoy going to Mass.

    It’s easier not taking her but we love going as a family, even though it’s really hard. I think at a certain age we won’t allow some or most of those things, crackers, coloring, etc. But hopefully by then she has learned how to go to Mass because we’ve stuck with it.

    You know what takes away from the reverence of Mass and the Eucharist…people who judge. People who haven’t taken the time to walk in someone else’s shoes.

  26. I was the person sitting in the same pew as this lovely family. He was NOT being friendly. He was being very rude and condescending. One can say “I hate you” in a loving voice…that doesn’t make it “loving”! I sit in the same area of church as this family every Sunday…these are likely the most WELL-behaved children in our parish for being as young as they are. You cannot force babies to be little soldiers during mass. They might be quiet … That doesn’t mean they are comprehending. And to add to the situation, there were several other children and babies crying and carrying on during the same mass…we’re they pointed out and humiliated? No! You don’t want “distracting” children in mass? Then why get rid of Children’s Liturgy?

    And he wasn’t having a bad day…if that’s the case, he’s had a bad day since he moved here last summer! And if you listen to his sermons you would realize he’s not a fan of our new pope. So why would he follow Pope Francis’s beliefs?

    And if he was just having a bad day THAT Sunday, why did he talk to ME like a child when I asked him a question about the reading I was to do just this past Sunday and then roll his eyes and shake his head as he was walking away from me?

    I’ve often said that I am considering joining a different parish in another town, but then I keep reminding myself that I don’t go to Mass for the man, but I go for the MAN! I look forward to the day when we move south and I can experience Mass at a place I want to be and where I feel at peace as I once did.

    And all he has done is force families with children to either not go to church at all or to sit in the back out of fear. We should not be in fear when we go to church.

    And yes….this IS bullying. And if you are reading this having not been a witness to any of this or to similar instances and still condemning those who are hurt by it, then you are really no better. I WAS. A firsthand witness to this and Katie’s post is NOT over the top at all.

    And, Rachel, I would be honored to sit in the same pew with you at Mass every week! God bless you for wanting to bring your children to church!

    • Very well said.

      Thank you for sharing your experience and perspective!

      And I agree with you about Rachel. I too would be honored to sit next to her family at mass anytime.

      I am so glad you keep coming to mass. You are so right about who we are really there for… Not just Jesus but our entire parish community.

  27. wow. I attend this parish as well but was not at that Mass. I know the family this happened to and I have to tell you….they are very clueless about how to behave at Mass. They are a sweet, loving family, but they have always created a day-care center in their pew. Large, loud toys that land repeatedly with a loud crash when dropped, multiple snack and drink options for the babies. I have always been completely dumbfounded at their complete ignorance of how to behave respectfully at Mass. If they were the least bit interested in teaching their children even the most basic principles of our faith, they would begin with a sense of reverence and awe for the Eucharist – Jesus Christ truly present, miraculously at every Mass. There is NEVER any reason to bring food to church for children. They play for hours without eating. One hour at Mass is not going to kill them. I can’t even imagine for one second why anyone would bring TOYS to Mass! What the heck? It’s families like these that push our good and holy priests to going insane. Stop acting like a bunch of idiots and do the right thing: teach your friend/ fellow parishioner how to properly behave at Mass. By the way, the originator of this post comes to Mass dressed like she’s going to a bar. That makes me sick. It makes sense that she doesn’t have the first clue how to behave at Mass when she can’t even dress respectfully. If any of you want to be a Christian, start with showing us that you have a deep respect for the house of God. Was it not Jesus who produced a whip to teach this lesson in the gospels?

    • Well, considering that the social and public consumption of alcohol set to music comprises the climax of the mass, I guess dressing like I’m headed to a bar is appropriate.

      And since the consumption of fleshly food also comprises the other part of the mass’s eucharistic climax, I can think of nothing more appropriate for children to do during the mass than to eat. It’s not their fault they are excluded from participating in the communal feast. If anything, munching on cheerios provides an expert apprenticeship in how to participate in the Eucharist.

      Eucharist means “giving thanks;” we Catholics give thanks to God by eating. I honestly feel bad for you that you lack the theological imagination to perceive their activities as a song of praise to God.

      But please do say hi next time you see me in mass. I will be sure to keep a barf bag on hand for you just in case.

      (reading your IP address, I am quite impressed that you love the parish enough to drive all the way from Portsmouth each week. That six hour round trip must be really grueling. If I am wrong about your place of residence feel free to comment back with your last name. It’s a small town so if you know me well enough to match my name with my appearance, there’s a good chance I know you as well.)

    • I know the “originator” of this post very well, and can’t imagine her dressing inappropriately to mass. Does she wear a dress or dress pants to mass every week? No, but she dresses respectfully. She is not wearing anything that is degrading to other humans or distracting even. You definitely could not accuse her of dressing immodestly.

      I’m also sorry that her attire “makes you sick”. Here is a piece of advice that my mother gave me as a small child- When you go to Mass, try to let go of all the little judgements of and distractions from other people, because entering into church with a negative, hateful spirit gets in the way of your relationship with God. If you follow her advice maybe someone’s dress wont be so upsetting to you.

    • Mary,

      Thank you for your honest comments. After a year, this still hurts, and we have changed parishes so as not to bother anyone anymore. You’ll be happy to know that we have not brought food and drink/toys to Mass since this happened, but I have also been scared to even bring my children. It took a while before we brought the older 2, and we still leave my youngest with her grandmother most of the time just because I am scared I will upset someone or the priest.

      You are absolutely correct that we had no idea how to teach our children how to act in Mass, and this very humbling event that took place a year ago gave us a harsh lesson. Now we know…. But I can’t say that it didn’t hurt reading your unfiltered comment nearly a year later….our family has changed, so I hope that we can say that we are no longer idiots… We no longer sit in the front, even with no drinks/snacks/toys because I am afraid people will judge us, and like I said before, we are leery of even bringing any of the children to Mass even a year later. My kids have often asked why we can’t go back to our old church and I have to figure out what to say to them.

      Maybe we could all try just being KIND to one another….this world has too much hate and violence already without it being in our Churches.

      Rachel

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