It's a whole year away, but I'm starting to get excited about World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia! There are going to be tons of fantastic speakers, and best of all, there will be a Papal Mass. 

Imagine, if you will, how much preparation goes into a huge, complicated event like this:  the scheduling, the promotion, the legal issues, even just making sure there are enough bathrooms. And how about the music? Which hymns would be appropriate for a Mass which culminates a celebration of all things pertaining to family life? Here are a few suggestions, from someone who's spent the last 17 years drowning in rejoicing in Catholic family living:

  • Recalling the importance of preparing oneself for the sacrifice of the Mass: "Seek Ye First Your Shoes and Socks, Then We'll Deal with Your Hair"
  • "On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry (Is No Match For My Baby's Howls)"
  • For those Sunday mornings that come way too early for parents of a young child: "One Bed, Three Bodies, One bad night's sleep"
  • For the mornings when, looking for dress clothes, we regret last week's brilliant idea of getting the laundry under control with a scorched hamper policy: "Lord, Who Threw Out These Dirty Tights?"
  • We know that God hears this silent cry welling up from the hearts of all His faithful ones raising children: "Come Thou Long Expected Naptime."
  • And He also hears other things. For instance, "The Lord Hears the Cry of the Bored:/ 'Is It Almost Over-r, Mo-o-o-o-om?'"
  • A heartfelt plea from the parent who has bottomed out: "All I Ask of You/ Is Forever To Stop Getting Wedged/Under the Pew." 
  • "Let Us Break Bread Together on Our Knees." This may only seem appropriate if you've ever witnessed the intense physicality with which some children enjoy their meals.
  • For the things you notice when it's too late: "Holey, Holey, Holey/Lord God Almighty/How'd You Ever Leave the House/In Ratty Pants Like Those?"
  • A promise of hope whispered in the ear of the restless: "Taste and see, Taste and see, the donuts in the basement!"
  • And it's never a bad time to return to the old standards: "God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand is using that special under-leg clamping grasp which renders squirrelly toddlers immobile while appearing affectionate to beaming outsiders." 
  • And of course, the grateful recessional hymn of parents who have survived another hour with their children in public: "Alleluia, the strife is o'er!"
  • And if you make the fatal mistake to stay for Benediction afterward, just be prepared for your kids to join in a good old fashioned Tantrum Ergo. 

All right, now your turn. I know you got 'em.