Leaving Before the Final Blessing:
Leaving church before the dismissal ignores another important part of the Liturgy. At the dismissal, we celebrate our commission as set forth by Jesus Christ himself. In that, Jesus’ last words to his disciples were “Therefore, go out and make disciples of all nations….. And behold, I am with you until the end of the age.” Matt 28:19-20. Our liturgy has a beginning (“In the name of the Father …”) and an end ("Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord…").
To leave immediately after Communion is to treat church like a fast food restaurant where we come and go as we please. We live in a fast-paced world where we seem to be hurrying from place to place. But in God's presence, we need to make every attempt to fight this pressure to move on to the next thing on the day's agenda. Eat and run at McDonald's - but stay in church and thank God for his precious gifts.
I would actually expand this and ask the congregation to stay until the end of the final hymn. I can’t believe so many people are so tightly scheduled that they cannot stay an extra five minutes and enjoy our lovely choir.
This discourse also addresses arriving on time and proper attire for Mass.
The one area that I find interesting is their encouragement to use the nursery for children under age five. Five seems rather late to start learning how to behave in church. My kids were fine until about age one. From one until about three I sometimes put them in the nursery. However, by age three they were in Mass with the family. They did not always behave like angels, but if they became too disruptive we took them outside. Believe me, they learned pretty quickly that being removed from church was a big deal. After the first time, one good Mommy look was usually enough to bring them into line.
In any case, I think I will send this to my pastor so he can adapt it for our parish bulletin. What do you think?