As I was catching up on the Catholic news I avoided reading while on vacation the past few weeks, I saw these few paragraphs from an article by The Pillar about Mass attendance. While many people have returned to Mass, overall attendance is down 14% since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020. It’s one of the largest declines we’ve seen. The question is why.
“Comparison is the Thief of Joy.” It seems to be in my nature to compare. Whenever I’m tempted to compare my life with others or today with three months ago, I think of the above quote and also the mnemonic device, “Compare to Despair.” Are you comparing phase 1 reopening to pre-Covid?
The main expectation I want to talk about is this: Everything will be just as it has always been when we go back to Mass. That’s unrealistic. Each Diocese is working on different rules and policies for when we go back. I’m going to list some questions you need to ask when communicating these changes to your parishioners, and maybe some things you haven’t thought of yet.
Do most people equate missing Mass on Sunday with Mortal Sins like murder or adultery? The Church tells us that grave matter is grave matter – and missing Sunday Mass is grave matter. But do most Catholics believe that? Is that a motivator to get them to Mass?
One of the most common things I hear from survey respondents is “where are the young families? children? next generation?” Many times the answer is “they’re struggling to figure out where they fit in the parish in the midst of everything else.” What if every parish did one new thing to help young families this year? What difference could we all make in the Church?
If you’ve met me in person you know I’m never without a book (or 2 or 3). I think reading is the best way to live someone else’s story and experience a new adventure. In 2018 I read over 200 books and learned so many new and interesting things. This year I’m going to read a “Catholic Church Book” every month or so and share the wisdom I glean here with you … so you can either ‘get everything you need from my post and save yourself a few hours of reading’ or ‘get excited about reading it on your own.’ By “Catholic Church Book” I mean, a book that is designed to help parishes grow and thrive! I’ve got a whole bookshelf, but if you have a favorite you think I should read, let me know! I’m always in the market for a new book!
What are the Holy Days of Obligation? Do they fall on a Monday or a Saturday? Have we planned an extra Mass this year? Do our parishioners even know it’s upcoming?
Sleepy Sundays, Rising with the Sun, or whatever fits into that weekend’s schedule – how do you plan for Weekend Mass? I’ve taken in the best of all worlds: 11:30 – my perfect time for worship!
Some of my favorite people in the whole world are children, especially the smiling babies that sit in front of me at Mass! Having children in our communities shows just how vibrant our parishes will be in the future!