It's our dream here at Saint Benedict Parish that Sunday worship is a meaningful and transformative experience for everyone. While we are certainly moving in this direction, there is still much room for growth. One area of need is how we help families with young children have a positive experience on Sunday morning. We want to be clear that we welcome families with small children to bring them to Mass with them, but we're also aware that perhaps we can provide some options in the hope that coming to church can be a positive experience for all involved. Anyone who has ever tried to make a two year old sit still for 75 minutes knows this is an impossible task. All too often young parents leave Mass feeling frustrated and embarrassed rather than uplifted and transformed.
Wrestling with a restless toddler means that neither parent or child enjoys the experience of Sunday Mass.
This is where WOW (Wee Ones' Word) can help. WOW is a 'Children's Church'. It takes place during the entire 9am Sunday Mass each week. Parents can drop off their infants and toddlers (up to age 5) before Mass (between 8:45 and 9am) and receive a paging device (that will vibrate should we need to reach you). Infants will be cared for in one room, toddlers in the room next door. Parents then pick up their children right after Mass.
Each week at WOW consists of games, songs, videos and snacks. The goal is to have an experience of church that will be fun, positive and exciting for children and will help them to graduate to the next level when they can begin to experience the Eucharist with the older kids. We want children to encounter Jesus in a creative, fun-filled and real way.
Here's a sample of some of what goes on at WOW:
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1, NIV). This is the start of history as we know it-- and the best place to start teaching your child about the world God made.
- God Made Things to See (Genesis 1:1-27)
- God Made Things to Taste (Exodus 16:2-8, 31)
- God Made Things to Feel (1 Samuel 16:11, 18, 17-40)
- God Made Things to Hear (1 Samuel 16:11, 18-23)
- Thank God for the World He Made (a review and reinforcement of the previous lessons)
Sheet for parents to take home:
Here are some ways to help your child continue thinking about all the wonderful things God made. As you spend time with your child focusing on God's creation, you both will be drawn closer to God and will have fun too!
- Go on a nature walk. Touch leaves, tree trunks and grass. Smell flowers. Look at the blue sky. Hear the birds chirping. Taste the sweetness of an apple. Say "Thank you, God, for the sweet apple" or "Thank you, God, for the pretty flower."
Have fun with your child as you experience the wonderful things God has made for us to see, taste, feel and hear. Then, thank him for his wonderful world.
The WOW Ministry is lead by Chantal O'Laughlin. Chantal is an early childhood educator. She and her husband, Mark, are regularly at the 6pm Mass. Their toddler son attends WOW while his older sisters help out, along with other enthusiastic assistants, both youth and adults.
Please bring along a sippy cup and perhaps a diaper, or any other supplies that might be needed.
For more about WOW, please contact Chantal: email@example.com.
WOW takes place on the lower level, at the end of the long hallway. If you enter the building on the lower level (through the ministry centre doors, parish office on the left), go past the office and take a left down the first hallway, all the way to the end.