Pastor's Corner 082612

posted Aug 23, 2012, 9:44 AM by Music Director

               Last week we Catholics observed and celebrated the Solemnity of Our Lady’s Assumption into Heaven.  Well, we were supposed to observe and celebrate it.  Certainly we scheduled Masses for Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning and evening, as we do for all the Holy Days of Obligation throughout the year.  Certainly those Masses were celebrated.  But I’m a bit dismayed by the rather poor turnout.

               To be sure, I am very happy about and grateful for those who did attend:  around 200 at the Vigil on Tuesday night; about 300 on Wednesday morning; and another 100 Wednesday night.  That’s approximately 600people, which is wonderful.  But when you consider that we are a parish that numbers nearly 10,000, that amounts toless than 10% of our parish in attendance.  That’s not so great, is it?  Where were all the others?

               Whatever happened to the holy day of obligation?  Why do so few seem to take seriously our responsibility to attend Mass on these special days? 

I know it’s summer and many people are away on vacation.  Many, I’m sure, simply forgot.  I take some responsibility for this, as we should have had a verbal reminder at announcement time during our Masses last weekend.  But the Masses were announced in the bulletin, so that doesn’t get anyone who didn’t attend totally off the hook of personal responsibility!  Furthermore, I’ve noticed that on other holy days, when announcements weremade, the response was pretty much the same. 

This sad state is not by any means limited to St. Charles Borromeo.  It exists in parishes throughout the diocese and, I’m sure, throughout the country.  I just really wish I knew why.

Perhaps there’s some confusion regarding Holy Days of Obligation.   Several years ago, the Bishops of the United States removed the obligation to attend Mass IF the holy day landed on a Saturday or Monday.  This was meant to alleviate the burden of having to attend Mass 2 days in a row.  The Bishops mandated 2 exceptions to this rule, however:  Christmas (for rather obvious reasons) and the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (because it is our national patronal feast).  Thus, this decree really affects only the feasts of Mary, Mother of God (January 1), the Assumption of Mary (August 15), and All Saints (November 1).  (The Solemnity of Our Lord’s Ascension is unaffected because it is always celebrated on a Thursday.)

Perhaps the times our Masses are scheduled are inconvenient.  I will ask the Pastoral Council to look into this, and possibly recommend schedule changes.  Perhaps an additional Mass, say at Noon, will help.  Perhaps it’s laziness, or thoughtlessness, or because we judge ourselves too busy. Or perhaps many simply fail to grasp or appreciate the meaning of these special feasts.  But to do that, one must attend to hear the homily which (hopefully) explains it!

Regardless, there are certain times other than Sunday we are summoned to celebrate great mysteries of our faith, mysteries in which we hope to someday share.  That’s why we are obligated to attend Mass on those days, and why I hope more people will take these obligations to heart.  God bless you!


In His Love,

Fr. Mike