Sunday, September 24, 2017
Sep 21, 2017
What is the new norm when it comes to attending church? What does regular attendance mean? How does attending Mass, only occasionally, effect your spiritual life, that is your relationship with God and Jesus?
I wish I had the answer, or the answers, to these questions, but I don’t! If anyone thinks they have the answers, please contact me and we will write a book and make a million. Seriously, these questions are a challenge for our Parish, our Diocese, the wider Church and I know other denominations are facing these challenges as well. On a regular basis people tell me some non-domination community churches are packing them in Sunday after Sunday. I have had leaders of those same churches admit that many of their congregants stay connected a short period of time and then disappear. I hear and observe all of this and my heart leads me to believe that most people are very spiritual, but they are not excited about being connected to a religious institution.
Is all of this frustrating to me as a church leader? I am not sure it is as frustrating as it is a concern for the well-being of the common good of the human race. We like our independence as individuals, or at least I like my independence, but I also know I cannot walk this journey without connecting with others; this is particularly true in my faith life. I thoroughly enjoy my private time of prayer, but the richness of praying with the community at Eucharist and other prayer times is equally as important to my spiritual life. I cannot do the journey without a blend of both the private and the community prayer.
My constant desire is for people to understand that they are important and their presence with the community at Eucharist is life-giving to others. I have heard all the reason why people don’t attend Mass more regularly; I am not sure I agree with all the reasons. Perhaps “just” attending Mass is part of the problem that we need to deal with, if we “just” attend I can understand why it is not filling one’s spirit. Our Church’s document clearly states the we need to have full, active and conscience participation when we participate in the Eucharist. Maybe a challenge to all of us is to encourage our brothers and sisters who don’t attend Mass regularly to look at Mass as something they need to do with full, active and conscience participation would help make Mass more meaningful.
Bottom line, I end as I began, I wish I had an answer, or the answers, to these questions around Mass attendance; I don’t, but thanks for reading my ramblings about the topic.
Let us continue to pray for peace and for the end of terrorism in our world!
In peace and courage,