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8 Ways to help your YOUTH participate in Mass

Posted on January 2, 2016 at 3:00 PM

8 Ways to Help Your Youth and Teens Participate in Mass

1.  Arrive a little bit early.  You can do it - I promise!  We all need a few minutes to clear our heads and give thanks for what we have.  Teach your kids to say a prayer of thanks before you get started.

2.  Sit close to the front.  Growing up it seems like we always used to hide in the back.  Do you know what your kids see during service when you are back there?  Nothing... except for the backside of the people in front of you.  Take them to the front so they can see your pastor or priest and feel like they are more a part of the ceremony.

3.  Attend youth and teen mass services when they are available.  Some churches will do a monthly teen and/or children's mass.  These masses are focused on topics for kids and they will understand them a bit better, and they can take part in the service by offering to do a reading, being an usher, or handing out bulletins.

4.  Dress appropriately.  I say appropriately - and as a mom this definition is not the same as it used to be when I was a child!  In my church we have 3 services every Sunday, and they all have a different unwritten dress code.  The teen mass is held in the evenings and is a bit too casual sometimes - so let your kids know while it is OK to wear jeans, you should opt to wear the ones without holes.  I still shudder when I see young ladies wearing spaghetti straps to church, so encourage them to wear a sweater or jacket over dresses that don't have sleeves. I've seen it all, flip flops, running shorts, stained t-shirts, and more.  I used to wear a dress every Sunday, but now I welcome jeans in the cold weather.  So you can dress down without being a slob.  Of course I'm preaching to the choir about this...

5. Turn your cell phone off!  They learn from you mom and dad!

6. Avoid talking directly before mass and for the love of Pete, do not have a conversation with your neighbor during mass!  I remember being a young girl on my cousins lap during church.  My sweet Aunt Carol did not hesitate to sweetly smack my little face for talking.  This is a bit harsh, and in today's world it just isn't done, but don't allow your children or yourself to talk during church. And I pity you if you do so near my Aunt Carol!

7.Be ready to approach the Body and Blood of Christ with a clean heart; fast for the hour before you recieve communion and when you get back to your seat pray to the Lord for his guidance and help in the following week.  This is the time when I pray for patience and guidance to help me be the best mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, business consultant, business owner, and whatever else I can think of.  I can use all the help I can get :-)  Give thanks for what you have and pray for those who need God's help.  

8. Don't skip out early.  Some people leave right after communion.  I think that they think they are avoiding the rush.  Or maybe they are avoiding people.  Your pastor needs to be the first one out, not you.  Finish the service by singing with your church family.  This bonds you.  My singing has gotten so horrible over the years.  I used to be in show choir and loved to sing, but these days I feel like I sound just awful.  It doesn't matter, because the lady next to you is thinking the same thing, and if you all sing out load, then no one will know you are off key. Smile too - it helps with everything, including your singing!

It can be a challenge getting your youth to church sometimes.  Teenagers especially.  When my kids were smaller, I would beg them to behave during church; I"m also not above bribery.  I know that sounds horrible, but when my kids were good in church I'd get them an icee on the way home.  Not just any icee, the huge one from corner gas station that was a half gallon of sugary deliciousness that only cost .69!  It's amazing what a little treat can do.  I know they should behave because they are supposed to, but I also know that they are little humans and we all need a little motiviation at times!   (and sometimes I would get me an icee too...)

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