I recently read an interesting article on the blog of Father Christopher M. Zelonis — another “Fr. Z” — who calls himself a “Catholic Priest, Amateur Musician, Insatiable Verbivore and Dedicated Runner”
The post in question was called “Unpacking the Precepts”: The Lord’s Day Observance and it delved into the reasons that the average Catholic misses Sunday Mass. Among them, the following:
Sabbath Rest. As one CCD student told me when I was a seminarian visiting her class, “Daddy says that he works all week and wants to rest on Sundays.” The response that “God worked, too,” holds no weight because He’s God. Creation was no sweat off His back; only a Word was necessary! He “rested” as an example for us, so that we should not become exceedingly consumed with production, results, and cash flow. Which came first: businesses having Sunday hours or shoppers engaging in Sunday commerce? Even the good people of Alcoholics Anonymous know, “For us, material well-being always followed spiritual progress; it never preceded” (“Big Book,” p. 127).
Let me know if I, as a priest, can do anything to help you. I’ll pray, for starters.
Yesterday, I sat in Mother’s Day Mass and looked around me at all of the beautiful families who’d made a priority of attending Mass together on Mom’s special day. I pondered to myself how many of us moms seated in the Congregation would give just about anything to have this every Sunday, not just once a year on the second Sunday of May.
We know from the most recent CARA numbers that only 24% of US Adult Catholics say they attend Mass at least once per week or more.
Maybe we need to take Father Zelonis up on his prayer offer. And perhaps being a part of the New Evangelization should mean regularly inviting our loved ones to attend Eucharist with us. By extending an open hand and a loving invitation to return to Church on Sunday mornings, we may stem the tide.
A question for you: For those “Catholics” in your life who do not attend Mass on a weekly basis, what is the main reason they do not prioritize Mass attendance?