I recently saw this article by Laura Kelly Fanucci and thought you should read it too. She asks “Is Your Parish Family-Friendly?” I try to have parishes ask this question when creating their Parish Vision Plans, but as someone without children, I’m realizing I haven’t asked enough questions.

Laura talks about outlet covers, changing tables, childcare, and more. There are some really practical things you can do to assess your accessibility for families. Once you do those, there are some even deeper questions that need to be addressed.

How are children viewed in your community? Do crying babies or wiggly toddlers get a smile or the side-eye when they show up in Church? Do parents know they are welcome and encouraged to be present at Mass, even if everyone isn’t perfectly behaved?

Take some time this month to talk to families and ask their real, honest opinion about what it’s like to come to Mass at your parish. Do they feel welcomed into the community? Or that they’re treading on eggshells when children behave as the children they are? Then work to change the culture of your parish so that all of Her members are welcome!

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