I write this letter to inform fellow parishioners of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral about my family’s experience on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, and to explain why I am now a former member because of the hateful note given to me by you, a representative of the church. I’ve included your note below with a few grammatical corrections for clarity:
“I’m appalled that you would bring your children’s toys and allow them to eat in the house of worship. It was distracting to watch the display of toy cars and distracting to the rest of the parishoners [sic], who cannot sit on [sic] that particular area where cars are at but [sic, wrong usage] diverts our attention to it. Maybe you haven’t thought about this [,] but I felt you needed to know. It’s unfair to me and probably others to watch what was going on with your family. What happened to coming to God’s house to pray and commit to the faithful that they too want the same thing? [sic] No food, NO [for emphasis] toys [,] [n]o distractions? [sic] “
If you recall, the homily on Sunday was about everyone being welcomed into the house of God: “all are welcome.” Apparently, this invitation was not extended to my family of four. I’m deeply saddened, distraught, and disappointed you, while representing our church, would judge us in this way. Please, consult Mathew 7:1~5: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you…” (NIV). I will not judge you, only God should. I ask you kindly to do the same concerning me and my family.
We bring our “distractions”—children—to church in hopes to hear the Word; we give them toys and snacks to keep them quiet so they do not scream, whine, yell, or cry during service; we apologize for their “disturbance” and will no longer attend Mass at Chalan Kanoa. It is my belief that the Catholic Church is about acceptance, tolerance, love to all; I did not feel any of those things in your note. I can appreciate and respect your opinion but not how it was delivered. With prayer and reflection, we hope you address similar families with young children differently.
San Vicente, Saipan