June 24, 2012
Why is this happening at Saint Brigid?
Though many of the parishes in the Archdiocese deal with these troubling behaviors, it seems to many of us that our parish has been bit doubly hard with these unflattering trends.
Arriving late to Mass: We all know about the traffic. Traffic is terrible, but you plan for traffic delays, right? I know I do. I was raised to believe that there is no good excuse for being late for a commitment. And, most of us know about getting a large group of children ready for Sunday morning Mass, either as parents, or like me, as the oldest of five who had to herd my siblings to get ready for Sunday mornings. It does take energy and lots of work. But here’s the real question: do those that regularly arrive late for Mass Sunday after Sunday show the same lack of attentiveness when going to a movie or a concert or a ballgame? And, do those that regularly arrive late for Mass think about how their late arrival affects those already at prayer, those already listening to the Word of God?
Leaving before the conclusion of Mass: We all know that the current parking lot and parking lot traffic flow is a mess. In the coming months, I will begin to speak about a proposed construction project that will address these issues. But for right now, granting that the traffic is a mess, why is it that most stay until the dismissal and final blessing while some leave early… just after receiving Holy Communion? In the middle of the concluding prayer? When important news of the parish is being shared with all? Do the people that regularly leave before the Mass is concluded think about what this says…about their commitment to us (this parish family), about their commitment to the new Way of Life? The breaking of the bread is not only about the individual’s holy communion with the Lord. It is about the redemption and the transformation of a people…a community of faith. Does one accept an invitation to a great Thanksgiving meal, then leave after he or she has eaten what they wanted…without thanking the host, without considering the others gathered around the table? Doesn’t common courtesy apply to the things of God?
Appropriate dress for Mass: Sadly, in our day, we are less attentive to the needs and the perceptions of others. We live within a cultural it’s all about me narcissism. The “culture” we are a part of…the culture that influences every aspect of our lives…has moved us way beyond the freedom of an agreed-upon informality (which I enjoy). For the single adults reading this column and for all the parents reading this column (that parent their children)….is there any value in thinking about an appropriateness of dress when we seek to come together for Sunday prayer? Do you consider what you wear when going somewhere special?
Let me say what all know to be the Lord’s heart: ALL ARE WELCOME…that is the sense of the Lord’s invitation, and it must be our sense as well. ALL ARE WELCOME…even when you show up late or leave early…even when it appears that you have not thought about how you dress for Church has an effect on the sensibilities of others. ALL are welcome…but all of us are also called to wonder about these troubling trends. With much love for the parish family, I ask us to look at these difficult realities.