"Mommy, why are we doing this again? Do we want the church to fall down?" Luke asked as we began a Eucharistic Procession around the block of our church. (He was thinking about the walls of Jericho, I think!)
"No." I laughed. "We would never want the church to fall down. And, besides, it just got new lights, so we certainly wouldn't want it to fall down now... We are doing this to share and celebrate our faith."
"Mommy, why do people keep zooming close by us, then slowing down and staring at us?" Nina questioned as we moved further along the block.
"Well, they aren't used to seeing things like this. They are curious about what we are doing..." I began to explain.
"Really, Mommy, we are going to sing? Outside the church!" the children whispered in surprise when the small group of us that had gathered together stopped in the lot behind our church to sing.
"Yes." I smiled and began to join in the song.
It was the children's first Eucharistic Procession and mine, too.
One of our new parish priests had decided to offer Mass and a Eucharistic Procession in honor of the Solemnity the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and, I, in turn, had decided to participate with my children.
I am so glad that I did.
Participating might have meant complaints when I corralled the kids to go to Mass on a Friday evening; a few hushed, but firm tones and lots of hands-on redirection as I quelled the kids' not-always-reverent behaviors during Mass; extra hands to help one child who tripped and fell on the steps of the church in his excitement to join the procession; a watchful eye to keep another one on the sidewalk during the procession.... However, it also meant spending time praying in community; learning about a new-to-us faith tradition; opening up opportunities for the children and I to chat more about the Eucharist in the days that followed; and choosing to prioritize prayer.
And, let me tell you, if my children could make it to and through a Eucharistic Procession -- and benefit from it -- than most others could as well. For my children are historically the kind that cause people to justly comment, "You have your hands full."
Indeed, I do. They are full of moments to offer up, but more so, full of blessings and opportunities.
Thank you to Father Mark for leading the Eucharistic Procession at our parish. Thank you to fellow parishioners who consistently welcome my children and me, who get that my kids are kids (even if at times, "those" kids), and who often offer encouragement and fellowship. And, of course, above all, thanks be to God for all the love we experience.
What traditions and expressions of faith might you venture out to explore with your children in the coming weeks? Have you chosen to prioritize prayer in a new way lately? I would love to hear more about it.
Please feel free to share about them in comment here or on our Training Happy Hearts Facebook page. If you leave a link to an idea, I will pin it on the Training Happy Hearts: A Call to Faith Formation in Young Children Pinterest board.