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Our readersMay 18, 2023
a young man wearing a backpack stands in the back of a churchPhoto by Satoshi-K on iStock.

In our May issue, Sherry Antonetti wrote about the challenge she faces as a mother when taking her teenagers to Mass. She described her children as “resistant to the Catholic faith” but explained that she makes a point of bringing them anyway. “My hope is that, over time, by attending Mass they will find something there that speaks to them,” she wrote. Her reflection drew dozens of comments from our readers.

Thank you, Sherry, for this article! I want to send it to my adult sons with great hope they would read it and hear my voice in it. So heartfelt and well said!
Jean Eakins

One of the best gifts I have received is this message from you, Sherry. God bless you for speaking what is in each mother’s (and grandmother’s) heart as we observe the presence of children in our Mass. Please continue to speak your words.
Yolanda DeGuzman

Many of us have lived this. I have three boys who were altar boys. I also have a daughter. My children are in their 40s and 50s. Two don’t go to church at all. One has returned. One goes and brings his boys sometimes. As a young girl, my daughter heard, “If girls want to do something [at Mass], they can go down the hall and babysit.” So much to ponder. Thank you.
Kathleen Carpenter

Absolutely beautiful article! I will watch my judgmental self carefully. I would only add that I hope the church will also listen to your teens and reflect seriously on why they and so many young people are turning away.
Margaret Ehinger

Today’s young people listen to each other far more than to their parents. When they pay attention to the Catholic Church in the United States, they are apt to see hypocrisy about sex, barely disguised Trumpism and an un-Christian crankiness toward anyone who does not see their way.
Joseph Coyle

Every time I see a squirmy baby, toddler or teen, I remember that Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me.” I think heaven will be filled with them. Therefore, if we want to be happy and comfortable in heaven, we had better get used to being with them in church. We should welcome them to prepare for heaven.
Lydia Isabel Bobes

From now on I will go a little out of my way to make sure the teens or college kids home on break feel very welcome at Mass, no matter how they look or act.

Years ago, I was that teenager who wouldn’t go to Mass. One thing that piqued my interest was one of my Jesuit high school teachers playing a recording of “Jesus Christ Superstar” after having typed out all the lyrics. We sat in sophomore theology class, listened and read the words of the rock opera. All of a sudden, Jesus became much more interesting.

It seems to me that today the dramatic TV series “The Chosen” (available for free on an app in addition to streaming services) can in the same way raise awareness of what the Mass is all about: a real connection and relationship with Jesus, and our Lord’s invitation to make a world of justice and peace rooted in love. His mystical body, the church, serves everyone. We are the largest private provider of social services in the world.

Living the Catholic faith invites us to a great adventure full of meaning and significance, dignity and community.

Trying to help teens see the connections between Jesus, our Catholic traditions and the celebration of the Eucharist is challenging. Thanks for encouraging all parents and all of us wrestling with these matters.
Rick Malloy, S.J.

Sherry, I loved this article and thank you for writing it. We’re not in the teen years yet with our kids, but I will carry this message with me until then. And from now on I will go a little out of my way to make sure the teens or college kids home on break feel very welcome at Mass, no matter how they look or act.
Kristin B.

Nothing brings joy to my heart than yapping babies, squirming toddlers and bored teens. They demonstrate the humanity of church—and just maybe a smile or a wave will let them know they are welcome! They have a home in church. They let me know the church is alive!
Cathe Shoulberg

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