Blogging about this to serve as a reminder to myself about an incident that happened during Saturday’s sunset Mass on 3rd July at Queen of Peace church at Tanjong Katong. Attended Mass with the boy as the wife was busy with work that day.
The boy was being his usual mischievous self and started busying himself by climbing up and down the kneelers and pew before Mass. At first, the guy sitting directly behind us was somewhat amused by his antics. However, as time went on, he became annoyed and found it distracting. I tried to pacify the boy by carrying him and sitting him on my lap, but, being a restless 3-year old, the boy tried to wiggle and talk his way to freedom and made even more noise, especially during the homily.
The guy could not tolerate any more and made loud shush sounds during the Eucharistic Prayer in an attempt to hush the boy. I knew we were in for it, but what shocked me was that he made a scene during the distribution of the Communion. He started with “You think this is Macdonalds?” and when I tried to reply and apologize, he let of a barrage of admonition loud enough to attract stares from the rest of the congregation queuing to receive Communion. Some of the comments he made include,
- “…If you can’t control your son, go to the back. Other people want to pray…”
- “…We can go to speak to Father Lee (the parish priest) after Mass about this …”
- “…You can go complain to the Archbishop if you are not happy…”
- “…Don’t talk about the Gospel to me…”
- “…You are a traitor to God…”
He made the 4th comment when I tried to quote Mark 9:37. I think the most hurtful comment was the last one. How does making noise during Mass equate to being a traitor to God? Was so shock by the whole incident that all I managed was a weak “Why come to Mass when you are so angry?”. But, it was enough to defuse the confrontation for the moment. I felt his stare on us for the rest of the Mass. I just smiled at him after I returned from receiving the Communion, and he simply stared back. The boy was also shocked by the incident and kept quiet for the rest of the Mass.
There were other kids in the congregation making noise around us, but I think we bore the brunt of his anger because we were sitting in the pew directly in front of him. I guess what goes around, comes around. Before the boy came into our lives, I used to also wonder why parents couldn’t control their kids during Mass. Now I’m experiencing it first hand.
A close friend asked whether I tried to occupy my boy with books or colouring during Mass. My reply was “What’s the point of bringing them to Mass then?”. I remember attending a homily in which the priest encouraged parents to bring their kids to Mass to cultivate the good habit from young. He also said that we should get them to sit and listen rather than occupy them with some other activity. Someone else asked why I didn’t let him play with my iPod Touch. Given his expertise with the controls of the device, it would be even more disastrous. Imagine him playing the JJ Lin YOG Cheer at maximum volume in church. I think we will be thrown out by the wardens before the Mass even began.
It was definitely an experience I will not soon forget. However, it will not discourage me from bringing the boy to church, as that will certainly make me a traitor to God.