Pull up a chair in my domestic church and let's chat!

I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Professor, Fellow.

All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.
"The important thing is that we do not let a single day go by in vain without putting it to good use for eternity"--Blessed Franz J├Ągerst├Ątter

Friday, December 15, 2006

"O Come All Ye Faithful?"

Here is an interesting response to C and E Catholics
The Christmas rush has taken on a whole new meaning at St. Maur Parish, where tickets were issued to control crowd numbers at its annual Christmas Eve children's Mass.

Last year the children's Mass in Rush, in northern Dublin County, was so crowded that one girl fainted from the heat. Many were concerned about elderly people and young children forced to stand in the aisles.

The introduction of tickets for the Mass made national headlines at the end of November after some parishioners contacted RTE radio to complain that access to the Christmas Eve Mass was being limited to regular Mass attendees. They argued that Mass should always be open to all, whether they regularly attended church or only at Christmas and Easter.

Under the ticket distribution scheme devised by the parish council, tickets were available only from the sacristy after Saturday vigil and Sunday morning Masses the first weekend in December.

One of my seventh grade CCD students expressed his frustration with all these extra people at Christmas Mass. “They are sitting in my pew, they don’t know what to do, and they talk through the whole Mass”. Fair enough. Those of us who attend Mass every Sunday can feel quite inconvenienced by the sudden crowd. After all, where were these people during Ordinary Time or even Advent? They were hitting the snooze button while we were dragging ourselves out of bed to get to Mass.

But look at the opportunity for evangelization we have at Christmas and Easter. These are seeking souls. Do you think they will keep seeking from the Church if we glare at them as they squeeze into the pew? Welcome them. Smile. You know it is going to be crowded so arrive early and move to the center of the pew. No one enjoys climbing over a dozen knees to get to his place. Help them find their place in the hymnal or missal. I know the song says “O Come All Ye Faithful”, but a more accurate though admittedly less melodic phrase would be “O Come All Ye Who Seek To Be Faithful”.

Reach out to the “C&E” Catholics. Perhaps next Christmas they will feel like one of the regulars.


Barbara said...

This is one reason I think parishes should go ALL OUT on Christmas and Easter (besides the obvious). Use the best lectors, the best cantors. Give the best homily and don't condemn the C&E's. It is an amazing opportunity!

Milehimama said...

I agree. These people felt a call to go to Mass, they followed the small tug of the Holy Spirit. To walk in and find a welcoming, friendly community who invites them back could make the difference between "revert" and indifference. Feeling awkward, out of place, disapproved of, and that everyone was wishing you weren't there is pretty much guaranteed to confirm their suspicions that Catholics are hypocrits and cliquish.
I am appalled the bishop would allow tickets to a PUBLIC Mass!

ReneeSuz said...

I used to belong to a parish in VA that had tickets for Easter Sunday Mass..... but that was only for the Mass in the church itself...
there was also a Mass in the college gymnasium that was open to all (no tickets needed)...
they did this becuase the town was overrun with tourists and parents of college students during Easter and they couldn't possibly fit everyone in the church and they wanted to find a way to give parishioners first dibs on the church (as opposed to the gymnasium)

Michelle said...

Amen, amen! The worst Easter Mass I ever attended was where the visiting priest gave a very long boring homily and then chose to sing the Eucharistic prayer. All I could think was that half the people crowding into the pews were saying to themselves, "See? This is why I never come to Mass!" The added time to sing the Eucharistic prayer pushed Mass into the time slot for the next Mass and there was a horrible crush of people - half trying to get out and half trying to get in! Yes, we should all be on our best behavior as Barb said: best cantors, best homily, and smile and welcome everybody. Make them want to come again.

Anonymous said...

Many Jewish congregations require (paid) tickets for High Holy Day services. I don't have a problem with Catholic churches requiring FREE tickets for popular Masses. If the demand for seats exceeds the supply, and there is no feasible way of increasing the supply, then requiring tickets makes more sense than having folks stampede the doors.

John Seymour said...

I also agree. Last year my wife and I were asked to serve as Eucharistic Ministers for the overflow Mass in the parish hall at the 9:00 Mass. I was struck by how sad and longing so many of the faces looked. I wanted to grab them, hug them and tell them that what they were looking for was in the same place every week.