When Leila and I head off to Mass, early on a weekday morning, we can safely expect to find an empty pew. But not tomorrow morning; the little chapel will be packed.
No, this is not one more commentary on the odd fact that even Catholics who do not show up for Mass on Sundays will be there on Ash Wednesday—and post selfies to tell the world about it. (Although, if you’ll forgive the paraleipsis, that is a curious fact, isn’t it?) I have another point in mind.
Yes, there are Catholics who appear in church on Ash Wednesday, then disappear until Easter. But there are also some who will continue to attend daily Mass all through Lent. And—here’s my point—among them, at least a few will continue coming every day even when Lent is over. I don’t expect to have trouble finding empty pews, but I do anticipate more company in the mornings.
It’s been nearly 40 years now since I made the commitment to try to get to Mass every day. We’ve moved a few times since then, and my job schedule has changed several times, so that over the years I’ve been “one of the regulars” in eight different churches or chapels. At every stop along the way, I’ve seen a steady increase in the number of people at daily Mass.
We hear often about the severe decline in attendance at Sunday Mass. But I’m reporting that—at least from my perspective—there’s another, more hopeful trend: a quiet growth in the cadre of people at Mass every day. Do others see the same trend?
If it’s generally true that the pews are a bit fuller for daily Mass, that’s especially encouraging, because of the demographics of the typical congregation. When I first began attending daily Mass, nearly everyone in the church was older than me. Obviously that has changed in 40 years; there aren’t nearly so many people around who are my elders. Nonetheless, as the older folks disappear form the pews (headed for a better place, we pray), the congregations still increase in size.
Is my experience atypical, or is this a real trend? While lackadaisical Catholics sleep in on Sundays, are there more dedicated Catholics rousing themselves early every morning?
Anyway, if it isn’t a trend, it should be. So let me suggest, to those readers who will be making an unusual weekday appearance in church tomorrow, that you consider trying to make it there every day during Lent. (If not every day, how about twice a week?) And if you can do it during Lent, why not continue through the year? Take it from me: If you can do it for 40 days, you can probably do it for 40 years. Be a trend-setter!
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.
All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!
Join Our Telegram Group : Salvation & Prosperity