An eternal criticism here. Sean and Gilbert went this week, a bit late. Sean and I have to tag-team Mass because we haven’t found anyplace that can work for Bede. I wonder if we will, or if it will just be how we do it until he’s a bit older.
It’s a difficult thing, autism and quiet pursuits. My Church compels me to go to Mass every Sunday and holy day, and I don’t get there very often anymore. I spent the last dozen times we went as a family in the church parking lot, walking laps with an autistic yelly boy and a (heavy) baby in the sling. There was nowhere for us to go. Bede is too big for the cry room* and lasted in the sanctuary for about 3 minutes.
When we went to Latin Mass at St. John Cantius in Chicago it was gloriously noisy. The whole place was packed, on a regular day in Ordinary Time. There were people waiting in line for confession during Mass, and at least two slightly unhappy babies making noise at all times. We fit right in there. Even with an autistic yelly boy, we’d have been just fine.
But here I just don’t know. I talked with my friend about it a while back, and she suggested a certain church in Midwest City, east of here. Apparently the priest there was open to a “special needs Mass.” I think that’s a really great idea, but we need Mass every week, and we’d much rather be welcomed and included, in a non-intrusive way, than given our own special Mass. Another priest at the church we used to attend told us that the earlier Mass was much noisier than the late morning one we had been attending. It would take some work to get everyone happily out the door in time for a 9AM Mass on the other side of town, but we should probably give it a shot.
It’s difficult. Bede has no social filter and not much language, so when he doesn’t like something he is very loud. And when he does like something he’s loud. He needs an adult giving him all the attention to be able to do something like that, to not bolt, or fling hymnals, take off all his clothes etc. That leaves Sean with five other children, one a ten-month-old. Not feasible, really.
I guess we’ll keep waiting.
*For my readers unfamilliar with the term, a cry room is a small room, usually pretty soundproofed, with a view of Mass and an audio speaker so you can hear the priest. It’s intended for parents and kids under about 3-4, I’d say. I haven’t ever been to a Protestant church but I’m told that usually kids too young to sit relatively quietly through the service are in the nursery. Some Catholic churches have nurserys but it’s far from universal, especially given how many kids Catholics have. It’s certainly not unusual at all to see many, many small children in the church during Mass.