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Frequently Asked Questions
regarding
THE AGE WHEN A CHILD
SHOULD START ATTENDING CHURCH.


Q. 1. My fist child was born six months ago. Now I am wondering, at what age should I be introducing him to the Catholic Church. Because of his age, I do not believe that he is required to attend Sunday Mass. Having said that, when is the right time?

A. 1. That is a good question!

First of all, the Catholic Church teaches that a child cannot sin until such time as he has reached the age of reason (age 8). Therefore, it is not a sin if a child does not attend Sunday Mass prior to reaching the age of reason.

Yet, children should be attending Mass with the parents by the time they start school, usually at age 5. They should be familiar with the Church surrounding, have the knowledge of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Host and other basic Catholic teachings.

A child raised in the Church during his first seven years of life will most likely remain as a practicing Catholic the remaining of his life. A child introduced to the Catholic faith around age ten will most likely resist having to go to Church on Sundays when there was no obligation to do so at an earlier age.

Parents are encouraged to fulfill their Sunday obligation as a family from the moment that their chilren are born.

UPDATE: March 29, 2016

canon Law # 1247 states:

"On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass. Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and affairs that hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lordís day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body."

Canon Law # 7 states:

"Merely ecclesiastical laws bind those who have been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it, possess the efficient use of reason, and, unless the law expressly provides otherwise, have completed seven years of age."

Accordingly any child who has reached age 7 should be attending Holy Mass on a regular basis without exception.



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