Weiland: Counter-Culture encounters “The Living Word”


Last Thanksgiving, we visited our son and extended family in California.

“Mom,” my daughter-in-law said, “no little children at the dinner. Young people are not having babies.”

These days, young adults are well-educated career professionals.

As we toured beaches, restaurants, gift shops, and piers, few children were seen.

We did see many dogs on display — well-groomed, some with bejeweled collars.

Back in Missouri, I recently heard radio interviews with college presidents. Stephens College President Dianne Lynch, said: “The college students are not interested in having children. They have a pet in their rooms. Over half of our students have one. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they were content. Their best friend was in the room.”

She also stated an increase in curriculum in animal care for companion and comfort dogs.

Where are the children welcomed?

Thank you to all of the Catholic churches who welcome babies, toddlers and children to their Masses!

Babies cry, toddlers squirm, and even a 5-year-old can drop a hymnal, yet I have not seen a stern look from a priest or parishioner.

When our children were small, we belonged to a different denomination and attended an early “family-friendly” service.

The later services were to be attended by adults, who left their children in the church’s nursery.

As I observe Mass at St. Mary Church in Glasgow, where I volunteer, there is an intrinsic value placed on having the children participate in the responsibilities of the church, such as by proclaiming readings, serving, taking up collections, and ushering.

They are participating in “learning by doing” education.

Frankie, my 9-year-old great-grandson for whom religion is very important, made a comment about Catholic theology that caught me by surprise. I asked “Did you do extra reading?”

“Why, no” he replied with a puzzled look. “I listened to Father Duncan’s homily.”

The spoken — the Living Word!

The written word has endured through centuries in clay, papyrus, and beautifully inscribed Bibles handwritten in monasteries.

The living word will be carried forth by the children in the pews.

Final Thought: In this country, we are blessed to have the religious freedom granted to us by our Founding Fathers.

This blessing will pour forth and multiply as all churches in our nation not only welcome children but help them grow and nurture God’s word within them.

Mrs. Weiland is a teacher, a great-grandparent to 15, and a member of St. Mary Parish in Glasgow.