If you’re like me, feeling a hot mess most Sundays, just getting to church with the tiny army you and your husband created can feel like an amazing feat all on its own sometimes! But do you have a Mass bag? Oftentimes, we are asking ourselves the following each Sunday before we leave for church or in the parking lot…
Are their clothes clean?
Is one of my children wearing a superhero costume?
(this legitimately happened one Sunday and I marched straight to Father before Mass and said, sorry, but this is where we are right now. Said kiddo did end up taking off his costume before Mass started – he had his church clothes on underneath, but not before a LOT of curious looks were thrown our way.) ?
Are their clothes decently UNwrinkled?
Shoes that fit? Weather appropriate?
Did everyone eat SOMETHING an hour before Mass started?
Did I check kid pockets before entering the church to remove oh, I dunno, some legos or bracelets?
Did everyone get that oh-so-necessary trip to the water fountain and make their bathroom trip before Mass started?
Now that the essentials are well in hand, let’s talk about the tools you’ll need IN the pew. That’s right…I’m talking about a small bag filled with some great books/toys you will be glad you have on hand when those littles get restless. And, believe you me, they DO get restless. Even my own decently behaved children are crawling the pews by the time the end-of-Mass announcements have begun. Though we have seven children (and #8 on the way in December), and the eldest being 23, the next one down being 18 and having served as an altar boy for nine years, we have had over two decades of cat herding littles in the pews. About 10 years ago, I finally put a bag together that contains ONLY what we need to get through Mass quietly with babies and toddlers in the pews, especially when we can’t always escape to the cry room or Nursing Mother’s Room. If you don’t already, I’m going to outline a few items we have in our Mass bag.
- Sturdy bag
- Board books for babies and toddlers – Cloud of Witnesses, The Word of the Lord, Kiddie Cat, and Let Us Pray by Katie Warner with First Faith Treasury.
- Cloth books
- Wooden* rosary for toddler/preschooler (can be personalized) – *though not the quietest item to bring for Mass, I mention it because parents know their kiddos best and maybe your kids aren’t like mine and chucking wooden rosaries across the pews. 😉
- Chew baby rosary
- Toddler Missal by Magnificat
- Magnetic Mass play set by Wee Believers – better for older children
- Illustrated Catholic children’s bible
- Magnifikid subscription and a couple of pencils for kiddos who have yet not made their First Holy Communion
- St. Joseph picture books or other religious books – Father Ben gets ready for Mass, I Went to Mass, What did I See? – I love the St. Joseph picture books and we have collected them over the years. These are particularly easy to store at home in a small basket and cycle through according to the liturgical season and set of feast days coming up.
- Children’s missal for kiddos once they’ve made their FHC: Novus Ordo Mass and Latin Mass
Do you take a Mass bag with you for your littles?
Did I miss something you’d like to add? Share in the comments, friends!
- weekly tithe envelopes (even if you tithe electronically, the message it models to your kids and even those around you is important)
- package of tissues
- antibacterial gel
- diaper, wipes, changing pad if necessary
- wet wipes (if you don’t double up your baby wipes)
- hair brush/comb (with hair gel for boys, and tangle spray, hair ties, and bows for girls…if you can spare the extras)
I NEED MORE INSPIRATION
Read Colleen’s take on this same topic from our archives.
Here’s another great read from Colleen about expectations in the pews.
Here’s a good one about just giving it all to Jesus in the pews.
Need some inspiration on raising Catholic children? Read THIS.