Skip to comments.What are they thinking? (The Easter and Christmas only Church-goers, that is!)
Posted on 04/10/2012 10:09:53 AM PDT by Salvation
On Easter Sunday I had the privilege of serving as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at the 9:00 am Mass. By the time Mass began it was standing room only in the church. This was not a surprise. I bet it was the same at your parish. When it came time to distribute Communion, another person and I were asked to go to a station at the rear of the church. A line formed among those standing. At a certain point, I wondered why the line did not seem to get shorter and I realized that people were coming through the doors of the church and getting in line for Communion. After Mass, I learned that indeed people were standing three deep on the sidewalk during Mass. Because it was such a beautiful day, the doors were wide open and the music could surely be heard, but how much of the readings and homily and Eucharistic prayer did people hear?
Ive been wondering what made them stay and what makes our brother and sister Catholics who dont come to Mass often and maybe only at Christmas and Easter come on these feasts. On the one hand, if recent studies are correct and a majority of Catholics consider themselves as active if they go to Mass once a month on average, then making sure you plan to go on Christmas and Easter is a no-brainer. But for those who come infrequently, why stand on the sidewalk? Reverend Andrew Greeley, SJ, a sociologist talks about the sacramental imagination that is nurtured in the Catholic mind and that like Baptism seems to leave and indelible mark and so even for the Catholic who is not practicing the faith, his world view is a Catholic worldview. Another priest pondered that maybe if a person calls themselves Christian, then at the very least they see a need to come to church on Easter to represent so to speak!
Dont get me wrong, I love that the congregation overflowed onto the sidewalk on Capitol Hill. What a witness to the truth that the Easter story has real meaning and continues to capture peoples imagination. When I ask what are they thinking, I really want to know, because if we who are serious about the New Evangelization can better understand what the pull is to come to church once or twice a year than we can use that as a starting point for helping them look more deeply at their own experience. We can better able in our preaching and teaching and conversation make a more convincing argument for how active participation in life of the church will make a real difference in every part of ones life. Fr. Bill Byrne, the pastor, in his homily said that the story of the Resurrection does not just have meaning for a moment but rather calls for a commitment. If you believe the story, you need to make a commitmentto discipleship, to Mass, to service. How did people hear that? Are they still thinking about it today?
He knows as all of us know that it wont be standing room only next week. When we better understand the impulse to come to church once, twice, a few times a year, we can better help our brother and sisters move from impulse to commitment. Any insights you can share with me?
Where does the bible say it must be qualified?
And you are right about fruits. But that is how WE know them. God knows them in His way.
You would still be welcome. There are non-Catholics who come to the Easter Vigil Mass in particular because they find it so inspirational.
*Christian behavior* needs to be defined by Scripture, not religiosity.
Attending church is works. The fruit of our faith in Jesus is listed in Galatians 5. Don't forget that the pharisees were masters at keeping the letter of the Law and look what Jesus had to say to and about them.
Galatians 5:22-24 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
I don’t find it inspirational, but it has to do with my beliefs regarding the Catholic church. I really need to leave it at that.
Holly and Lily seems to be a 'religious' thing and in any Baptist church I've ever attended, we look down on 'religionists' as phoney or worse hypocrites.
I'm careful not to use a posessive "I'm a Baptist" because I consider myself more a Christian because of my acceptence of what Jesus has done for me and I now enjoy a personal relationship with Him, thus steering clear of being part of another "religion"
I was born into a Catholic home and somewhere around 12 or 13 years old, I and we (friends) just got bred with going someplace because we were sent, to do things that never changed by a religion that was more interested in controlling us rather than teach us (No one understood Latin), so what was the point .... the same movie every week ... yawn.
In 1981, I met a Messianic Jew that witnessed to me Jesus and His desire for me to be "saved" ... and THAT made sense, so I received Him as my Savior, August 15, 1981.
I went to a Baptist church shortly thereafter because I had an odd desire to be baptised (Catholics are baptized as infants and should not need nor desire another baptism, but I did, so I went where I thought you got baptized ... a Baptist church.
THERE I heard a man speak with wisdom, clarity, comviction and (as I learned and studied and even questioned what I was hearing) .. truth.
Truth is not up for arbitration nor interpretation.
Having said all that, in any Baptist church I've been in when The Lord's table or The Lord's supper was practiced, the preacher always preluded the event with the words that we were to examine ourselves and not partake if we were not born again as we believe that communion or The Lord's table was meant for Jesus inner circle and only born again believers are part of that.
The long Catholic lines?
nothing more than a show of hands.
Reminds me of something I read once. A friend of C. S. Lewis, after Lewis’ death, said that Lewis appeared to him in a leather chair in his office and said these words: “It’s not that hard.”
FYI - Those folks who show up for Christmas and Easter mass only are caled Creasters.
I’m sorry that you believe that way, but I would still accept you as a brother in Christ.
“Most people dont hate what the Catholic Church teaches they hate what they think the Catholic Church teaches.” ...Bishop Fulton Sheen
He said that about knowing false prophets ... the "each other" is known by the work of the Holy Spirit which bears witness (to each other) that we are children of God.
Indeed it is.
Can. 1247 On Sundays and other holydays of obligation, the faithful are obliged to assist at Mass. They are also to abstain from such work or business that would inhibit the worship to be given to God, the joy proper to the Lord's Day, or the due relaxation of mind and body.
2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.119 Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.
Yet there’s some of us that don’t like the new language and won’t comply.
Bring back the Latin Mass!
Even were we not commanded to do so, we should not lightly neglect the worship and adoration of our Saviour. Considering what He did for us, regular worship is the very least (and perhaps less than the very least) that we can do in return.
Of course the big holidays bring with them heavy guilt, so the crowds are standing room only.
Personally I prefer to avoid going on those days. It’s too crowded and it’s not usually as good an experience. Plus I don’t have to listen to all the catty old bats squawking about those that only show on the big holidays, as if their devotion is somehow less genuine.
“*Christian behavior* needs to be defined by Scripture, not religiosity.”
Amen to that. And the Bible does say,
“24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
(Hebrews chapter 10)
Also many of the things we are instructed to do occur in the assembly of believers, not by ourselves. Such things as taking communion, choosing elders, hearing the word preached, etc.
With all due respect, that’s Catholic stuff, not Christian stuff.
As far as I know, the most the bible gets into it is “do not forsake the gathering together of yourselves.
The Christian experience is so personal (between the Christian and God) that any get together of humans that are Christian is kinda like a family reunion more than anything else. And most definitely not a “requirement”.
This includes “going to church”.
“Where does the bible say it must be qualified?”
Many passages, similar to this:
“26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”
(Hebrews chapter 10)
I have a theory about so-called CEO’s (Christmas and Easter Only) Christians. They don’t exist. For whatever reason, some people go to church 2 or 3 Sundays a month. So, on a typical Sunday, you see about 75 percent of the usual churchgoers. But nobody misses Easter and Christmas, so you have 100 percent.
Nothing like CEO’s to fill the church.
—Considering what He did for us, regular worship is the very least (and perhaps less than the very least) that we can do in return.—
I’m with you on that one. My wife and I do that constantly. In fact, we thank God every single day for bringing us to our new home in Kentucky. But we only go to church once a week.