Monday, September 06, 2010

Welcome back? Where ya been?

Soon parish churches will get noticeably fuller on Sundays. Once Labor Day comes and goes, the light goes on in the minds of those who treat church as if it was school (closed during the summer).

Let's put the following in the "How times have changed" file.

This morning a parishioner let me take home a "monthly calendar" (probably the forerunner of the church bulletin) from St. Mary's Church, South Amboy, NJ, from August, 1941. At the end of the booklet was this article.

First, it taught me that things were not so perfect before Vatican II. People missed Mass then, as they do now. The difference I've found is that, in 1941, you were obviously allowed to tell them that it's a sin.

I put it out there for Pastors to save and perhaps use next June, as the summer begins.


Kate said...

I'm reminded of our parish in rural Maine. During the winter we had about 200 registered families. One Mass was offered on Sat. and one on Sun. Starting at Memorial Day weekend, though, the parish offered 5 weekend Masses and brought in a visiting priest. Without this influx in the offering basket our parish would not have survived. I appreciate (and agree with) your point that people throughout the ages have looked for a reason to skip Mass, and that nowadays they aren't even corrected for doing so. My own parish here in Vegas has been sparse on parishioners this summer. However, I hold the memory of a wonderful Catholic migration into Vacationland Maine. Some faithful still do the right thing.

Thank you, Father. Kathleen

ProudCatholic said...

No Doubt there are good Catholics who do go to church when away whether they are vacationing for one weekend or weeks or months. But very few people are away on vacation for months or even a whole month (in America anyway) and the empty pews are definite proof that there is an attitude many people subscribe to, that summer is a time for a break from everything, including the tedious, difficult, straining, burdensome toil and drudge of going to mass once a week (I'm obviously being sarcastic). Or perhaps they figure since there are no committee meetings and no coffee klatches or parties, there's nothing to go to church for. I love God, love church, love Mass, and absolutely love going to church on Sunday, and often more than on just Sunday--that is my rest, my enjoyment, where I feel peaceful and at rest. It is first and foremost in my planning for the rest of the day, weekend, or week. Guess you could say I'm weird, huh?

Unknown said...

I loved this post... it made me feel not so crazy... whenever I would notice our "Welcome Back" Mass after summer I would always feel a little confused as if I were missing something like "Huh? .. Wait, I don't get it..." in all So the title of your post made me laugh. However, the truth in your statement "you were obviously allowed to tell them that it's a sin" made me sad.

Dr Ransom said...

Proof that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Probably what is true is that many people back then had no better awareness of what the Church does when she celebrates the Mass than they do now. Yet now, they just don't see any reason for making sure they get to Mass every Sunday. It makes you wonder why they bother at all. Doesn't this underline the need for greater catechesis in the parish about what we believe and why? I am convinced that if we find novel ways to share the Faith, its beauties will attract the not-so-faithful and remedy these problems.

ProudCatholic said...

Unfortunately, I cannot share your optimism; I wish I could, Dr. My diocese, and Fr. Jay is one great priest in particular, who dedicates ALOT of time to providing opportunities for catechesis. There's one catch though: people have to be willing to come! I am extremely busy too, but for what is important to me, I squeeze and cram so I have the time to devote to that. People nowadays have less excuse than anyone. They can learn about their faith in so many more ways than they ever could, both outside or in the comfort of their own homes. There are even materials like videos, CDs, websites readily available anytime day or night to allow you to schedule learning around your schedule rather than the other way around. the trouble is their priorities--their faith comes last.And when that happens, you never seem to have enough time. I know..I was one of those people once until God finally got my attention, and made me realize that He MUST and should come first. Then, I woke up, started learning about my faith and the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn and the more I loved it and need it. If people convince themselves they are too busy, when they seem to have unlimited hours to spend watching and voting for American idols, chatting online or texting, then it's just a matter of what you find important. Here's the advice to people need to don't keep wishing you had time to devote to learning the faith--YOU MAKE will be the best investment in time you've ever made.