Monday, June 6, 2011

"You have a nursery!"

Sunday morning HB was so excited when we walked up into Mass until I turned the corner and took him to the nursery. He recognized what was happening right away and instantly clung to me for dear life. He naturally cried when I left and as soon as I showed up demanded to be removed from the high chair where he was nibbling crackers and probably not drinking juice (I had forgotten to mention that HB has never gotten the hang of sippy cups. He prefers cups with straws.)

Mass was great. People asked where he was. I got to enjoy actually praying instead of groaning over having to go chase my child around during Mass every time he darts out the pew. It's summer time and all the snow birds have left. Very few people go to Mass during the summer.

So I got home and told Hubby about HB's adventures in the nursery and how nice the lady was. Hubby's eyes lite up and told me that he was willing to volunteer to do nursery with me at our new church, the one we will use when we move.

Now Hubby was raised Baptist and his version of nursery is entirely different then a Catholic's version of nursery. For one thing, I pointed out, I'd still have to go to a Mass even if I was volunteering at another one. "Oh." he responded. He explained that when his parents volunteered, they didn't go to the service. But he said, they only technically had one service anyway. This led to a discussion of Catholic vs. Baptist worship services, which I will discuss after I finish more about nursery.

Some other big difference is in Catholic culture we expect our children to come to Mass. At a church I was working for they had to discontinue nursery because nobody was using it. They eventually started it again after a few parents asked about it, but as the administrator said if they wanted the service, why weren't they using it? It's the biggest reason why parishes of all sizes don't have a nursery. And I wouldn't be using the nursery either if we had a cry room (large room in back of church for families, has a glass front so you can see out and speakers so you can hear, but the rest of the church won't be disturbed by crying and children can't escape because there is a door). But since the cry room is now the technical/sound board room, I have to either chase a toddler or use the nursery. I decided on the nursery.

Also because Catholics don't use a nursery often, we don't have division of ages. HB was in a single room with three children older then himself. Hubby was thinking we would volunteer for an age group.

Also since the whole priest abuse scandal, there are huge hoops that volunteers must jump through when working with children. They require you to be fingerprinted and include references. And since this is a nursery, I imagine they want to know what experience you have and would prefer you having a finger print clearance card (which is a state thing for teachers and volunteers). Because of all this a number of nursery staff aren't volunteers. Sometimes they get a small salary for working.

As I explained all this to Hubby, he looked crescent fallen and basically told me never mind. Especially since he found out that in order to fulfill my Sunday obligation I had to go to a service anyway. I think he thought he could dodge sitting through a service by helping. Nope. Everyone, unless ill or unable to drive, has to go to Mass. That's the reason why parents are hesitant to use a nursery because everyone includes children.

Hubby was talking about a prayer service, Sunday school (which he has mentioned several times is for everyone, yes, I know, dear), and then the main worship service or as he said the sermon.

Catholics have one complete worship service, usually about an hour in length, which is broken down into two main parts: the sermon (we call it the Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy means public duty in Greek) and the Lord's Supper (also called communion, Holy Eucharist, or Liturgy of the Eucharist). We celebrate the Eucharist at every service unlike some Protestant denominations who choose to celebrate it once a month or so depending.

The church I grew up in had three services: one Saturday evening, and two Sunday morning. We had one priest and one deacon to service the parish. In between the two Sunday morning services, the children had Sunday school. They didn't offer Bible study for adults, but if they did it would be usually during the week.

The church I currently go to has 1 Saturday evening service, and 6 Sunday services. We have two priests and two retired priests who will say Mass only. As you can probably tell, there is no Bible study or Sunday school on Sunday because there isn't time. Those classes are during the week.

All Catholics are obligated to fulfill the commandment to honor the Sabbath or Lord's day by going to Mass or service on Sunday or the Saturday evening before. But this does not limit the services offered. All churches, unless there is a shortage of priests, have a daily Mass. So there is a worship service everyday of the week. This is altogether different from Protestants who may hold a Wednesday night service but no other services during the week. I'm not sure why they don't. But it definitely stretches a priest very thin because he always has one service a day. In addition, he may visit hospitals, shut-ins, nursing homes, be in-charge of the parish which includes finances, dinners, and other activities, etc. Needless to say, a priest is very busy despite not having a family, which is one of the reasons many people do not want to eliminate the celibacy of the priesthood. Priests who are married (yes, there are married Catholic priests) often have a tough time juggling parenthood and priesthood especially if their children are very young. But I'm not advocating one way or the other, I'm just explaining one of the reasons.

Suffices to say that Catholics are very busy worshipers. The biggest reason is because (and I will explain this more later) Catholics believe in both private and communal worship. Protestants encourage communal worship, but with the exception of a few denominations do not consider it to be sinful. Protestants spend a lot of time focusing on private worship and belief instead. Catholics focus on both and consider not participating in a Sunday Mass (or Saturday before) to be sinful because it breaks one of the ten commandments. But I'll explain more later about this Catholic cultural/dogma thing.

I need to wash dishes or try anyway.

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