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Attend Mass with Sense of Celebration, not Obligation

Director of Stewardship & Finance

I am left-handed. It is said that the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. The right side of the brain is also associated with the creative side of the brain, as opposed to the left side of the brain that controls the logical. Does that mean right-handed people are always logical? I don’t think so. Does that mean left-handed people are more creative, yes it does. I make jokes here, but it does lead us into how best we receive a message that is sent to us.

In the coming weeks we will begin welcoming everyone back into the full participation of in-person Mass each Sunday. The logical side of my brain (and the Catechism) says that “on Sundays and other Holy Days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.” It is the logical approach to say it is an obligation, you are bound or required to attend Mass.

The Catechism goes on to say that “for this reason the faithful are “obliged to participate in the Eucharist … unless excused for serious reason or disposed by their pastor or bishop.” This sounds like very logical thinking and a sound approach to achieving my eternal salvation. Go to Mass on Sunday because it is required. I believe there is a much deeper invitation taking place here though.

The Catechism also offers the answer for the right side of my brain. For the creative, freedom-seeking side of my brain, our instructions are to come to a “communal celebration of the Eucharist. Sunday Mass is a testimony of belonging and being faithful to Christ and the Church. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.” Now that is something I can wrap my whole brain around. Be faithful, belonging, be strengthened by a communal celebration with fellow believers. Sunday Mass is so much more than me and God or what fits into my schedule. It is all of us coming together as a family to pray, worship and adore our Lord. We want the entire family to come to Sunday dinner! It is not the same until we are all back together.

It has been 14 months that we have been apart. The dispensation is being limited and the time is now for us to come back together. Stronger. Not out of a sense of obligation, but out of a sense of celebration. The Eucharist calls us back and we are a people of hope. Find your spot where you are comfortable. Return to Mass at one of the less crowded Masses if that helps you ease back in. Make no mistake, your parish family wants you here. Your parish family needs you here. We need everyone, young and old, rich and poor, saint and sinner, to be with us here for weekend Mass.

It is the answer for our whole brain, our heart, and our soul. St Francis of Assisi, pray for us.

Pat Burns, Director of Stewardship & Finance