hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


April 12, 2012

Poor Tom's Almanac: Blessed are the church babies

Let us bow our heads and offer a simple but casual prayer to our future generation.

"Blessed be the babies who exercise their lungs each Sunday in our churches, whether Christian or otherwise. While we're at it, may God comfort the ears of those who stand and pray within proximity."

There seems to be a lot of talk — err wailing — these days from people who think babies are a nuisance in church and disrupt the service. Might you recall that once upon a time, you were in their booties and perhaps crying in the pews yourself.

Would it be better to have these parents remain home with their children and not attend worship service at all? Or pay a sitter?

I've heard it said that babies are angels whose wings grow shorter as their legs grow longer. Let these little cherubs surround us all and give our churches hope for the future.

Ironic as this might appear, there are three Armenian Apostolic churches in Merrimack Valley within a 20-mile radius. All have young pastors with very young children. So young, in fact, that if eyes are drifting from the altar to admire the beauty of such children before us, God might understand.

In North Andover, the parish hired a new pastor just over a year ago. He brought with him a new wife from Syria. The two welcomed a daughter to the family and seldom does she miss a Mass, right there in the front pew while her father conducts the service.

When her dad chants a hymn or delivers a sermon, the infant takes notice. Her arms reach forward and out comes a cacophony of sounds. But more often than not, this child is content to simply look, listen and become mesmerized by the surroundings and attention she might receive from other pew-dwellers.

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