"If you can't find a seat, don't worry. Next week, we'll have plenty of room."

That was how a priest at my parish opened mass this morning, and we all knew exactly what he meant.  This is what it looked like from the front door of the church at 1:15, Easter Sunday:

Standing room only at all the masses, lots of unfamiliar faces, a few colorful hats. A couple people who had been baptized the night before came again on Sunday, which always touches me. They just can’t stay away.

The altar servers have developed a new spin on using the thurible: swinging it 360 degrees. When you see two of these guys doing it, in perfect sync, during the “Hallelujah” Chorus, it’s literally breathtaking.  Witnessing that spectacle, a couple elderly women had their eyebrows arched in perpetual astonishment, their mouths forming a silent “Wow.”

He has been raised.  That’s a good reason for “Wow.”

After four days, nine liturgies, the Seven Last Words, one Exultet, one long rehearsal, one Ephphatha rite, one last minute homily (the Easter Vigil assignment came up at 9:30 Friday night) and a few hundred communions distributed (out of several thousand for the weekend), I can only say this: I’m just grateful to be able to sit down and take off my shoes.

He has been raised. And now I’m taking a nap. Happy Easter, all.


  1. Jim Dotter says:

    If they came every week, ( to paraphrase Our Risen Lord ),

    “We will tear down this Church and build a bigger one in three days.”

    Christ is Risen!


    PS He is risen indeed. ( Nod to my Lutheren Brethren )

  2. naturgesetz says:

    Happy Easter, Deacon Greg.

    I’ve heard of the swinging of thuribles 360°, and I’ve called it “showboating.” It’s a small point, liturgically, but so far as I know, it was never part of the Roman rite. To my mind it serves only to call atention to the thurifers. But incense is intended to show honor to the person or thing being incensed, not to call admiration to the thurifer.

    I think your pastor would do well to put a stop to the practice at once.

  3. Frankly, I find the phrase rude, dismissive, condescending and unwelcoming. Definitely not funny.

    “I think your pastor would do well to put a stop to the practice at once.”

  4. Jason LaForest says:

    The pastor would do well to put a stop to it. Liturgical theatrics distract EVERYONE from the intent of the liturgy and the Presence of Our Lord, especially those who need our help to answer the call of the Holy Spirit to come to Mass regularly. [And God forbid the chains let loose...]

  5. “If you can’t find a seat, don’t worry. Next week, we’ll have plenty of room.”

    Hilarious — and perhaps it may have well provided a subliminal nudge to the ‘Christmas and Easter Catholics’ to make more frequent appearances as well.

    Happy Easter, Deacon Greg. You deserve some rest!

  6. I think it is a nice, polite, well deserved little dig. To me the people who show up only on Christmas and Easter trivialize our Faith. Can you image if you took a martial arts class and only showed up twice a year? Or if you only showed up for college twice a year? What would you expect to learn? How would you expect to grow in knowledge of those subjects. Being a good Christian takes no less time and effort than those other subjects, maybe more.

    I know some people are going to say it is unChristian of me. But honestly I have more respect for Atheists than I do for A & P Catholics. At least they are being honest with themselves, and don’t pretend to go along for cultural reasons. Church is more than a fancy building to get married in, a nice place to hold a funeral mass, and an opportunity to show off your new suit or dress.

  7. I don’t have a major problem with people showing up for Christmas or Easter Mass. I would love to see them there every Sunday but, by their coming at all, shows that there is still hope. Do you think Our Lord would look at them with contempt or with unconditional love?

  8. Just amazing that there are those who are “holier than thou” yet the worse offenders of the Commandments, Church Law, and the Sacraments! Join me not at Mass but at the mirror.

  9. Deacon Greg,
    Happy Easter! I like your twitter posts. I tried a different approach at our 1:15pm Spanish Mass (which started at 1:30 pm because of the large crowds) I stated that if everyone understood what was happening at Mass we would need a church ten times its current size. Then I challenged everyone to bring at least one person whom they know should be at Mass but is not next week. I hope this works! All Glory to God!

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