Attitude towards infrequent church goers


#1

Every Christmas and Easter I get really annoyed at those noisy folks, who crowd the church and act like they’ve never been in a church before. I just don’t know why people only go to church on Christmas and Easter.

I know I shouldn’t feel annoyed at these people, but I just can’t seem to help it.

If you have any insights on this issue, please post a reply.


#2

Hello!

I have struggled with this same problem. On Easter I noticed many people crowding the Church. I also had noticed very few people at the confession lines when I went during Holy Week. The people at confession were all regular churchgoers.

The people I noticed on Easter had children with them. The children behaved as if going to church was a foreign experience. I couldn’t help but notice this. However, when it came for communion time, everyone went up.

I had the same reaction as you. My reaction added to the situation because it then affected my spiritual well being while in church. I couldn’t help but put two and two together and deduce that not only do people not observe the basics of the faith, but the few times they do show up they take Holy Communion without reconciling themselves back to God with confession! Of course, this thought horrifies me.

I can only say that there is no easy way out of this. One thing though is that last Easter I also went to the vigil Mass, which was beautifully done and didn’t seem to have any different crowd there. It was at the 10:00 Mass that I noticed all the strangers with unruly children unaccustomed to church (these were older children, not toddlers, but still were misbehaving and bored looking) So, I would suggest going to the very early Mass or the Vigil one, which probably doesn’t attract this type of churchgoer. Also, pray for them!!!:slight_smile:


#3

Remember, some of the people here in this Forum or regulars at Mass were those folks years ago.

These folks still feel the religious content of the holiday and some dim obligation, and for some that may be all that’s needed.

I think we’re spectators watching the Church and the Holy Spirit at work. I think I should stay out of the Spirit’s way, make the Christmas/Easter catholics feel at home as best I can, and help when called.


#4

I think maybe this is the way it is all over. Maybe they are making their Easter duty and think it only means coming to church once a year. At least they come once a year as opposed to not at all. It seems to be the same way on Ash Wednesday. I have a friend who says it’s because we’re giving something away (ashes).
I guess just pray for them and be glad they come at all.


#5

I think Christmas is worse, especially people who come in an hour early and save two pews for family members who straggle in after Mass has begun. Nothing is said in the pulpit about the proper disposition for Holy Communion and all the pews empty out at Communion time. There is a constant buzz of conversation. My non-Catholic son-in-law was disgusted by the behavior of these so-called Catholics at Mass last Christmas. At least, you would think the priests would encourage reverence and silence in the presence of the Tabernacle. It is more like a free for all, than a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, which does command respect and awe, and reverence.


#6

I just dont think it’s up to me to be judgemental…I used to get upset, but now I find it better for my disposition to just pray for everyone in attendance…would it be better if they didnt come at all???..I dont think so…if I show a good example maybe it could influence someone to become a regular member, coming every week…I have enough worry about my own sins to be overly concerned with how others act.


#7

I attend church in Ohio and yesterday in our parish bulletin I read that in our county, NOT the city where I attend church, but the whole county, only 35% of Catholic members attend mass on a regular basis throughout the year. Wow! It sure seems like the above poster is correct in saying the church is only packed on holidays and during a time of national crisis(like 9/11). It’s really sad. But the question that I wonder is, why don’t Catholics want to come to church?


#8

[quote=coeyannie] At least, you would think the priests would encourage reverence and silence in the presence of the Tabernacle. It is more like a free for all, than a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, which does command respect and awe, and reverence.
[/quote]

Being a geezer, I love to tell this story. In the olden days, probably about 1957, I was attending midnight Mass (which really started at midnight) with my parents and halfway through the sermon (they weren’t homilies back then), the priest stopped, looked through all the attendees of the full church, then called out, “John Smith, would you go over and get your brother and take him home? He’s sleeping!” :eek:

Talk about mortification! :bigyikes:

I would imagine that there was a very interesting conversation between the two brothers on the way home! :rolleyes:

They don’t make priests like that any more! :smiley:


#9

[quote=workinprogress8]Every Christmas and Easter I get really annoyed at those noisy folks, who crowd the church and act like they’ve never been in a church before. I just don’t know why people only go to church on Christmas and Easter.

I know I shouldn’t feel annoyed at these people, but I just can’t seem to help it.

If you have any insights on this issue, please post a reply.
[/quote]

Dear workingprogress8,

Among these people are the prodigal sons of tomorrow. Your sitting in judgment of them puts you in the place of the older brother who refused to join the celebration. Perhaps your Father would plead with you to celebrate at their ostensible coming home, even if 99% of them will be gone the next day.

As far as not being able to help it, I can certainly hear that. This is one of my criticisms of the way children, and especially Catholics, are raised. We are so deluged with threats of punishment and reward (which automatically imply judgment) that judgment of others is so completely internalized that even the most well-meaning Catholics don’t know when they’re doing it.

Alan


#10

And some people never show up except for their own funerals-- which of course reminds me of a story…

Seamus O’Rourke was a mean mon-- an abusive SOB, in the vernacular of our times. But, praise God, the raucous laddie met his Maker at the tender age of 44, when he got conked on the head with a Guiness Stout bottle in the heat of a barroom brawl.

Even so, his family gave him a fine funeral with all the trimmings. And actually, quite a few people showed up, though most of them said they just wanted to make double sure it was really Seamus in that coffin.

After a short but moving eulogy, Father Murphy asked the congregation, “Now, would someone like to tell an edifying story or two about the dearly departed?”

Except a few nervous twitters, the whole church got very, very quiet, and everyone looked down at their shoes.

“SURELY,” roared Murphy, “at least one of ye can say a kind word about this poor corpse!!”

Finally, an older gent in the rear of the church stood up, removed his cap, held it to his chest, cleared his throat and said softly, “His brother was worse.”


#11

Some of them might be regular Mass goers who are home visiting, particularly at Christmas. Their ‘not knowing what to do during Mass’ might just be that it’s done differently at home. For example where I live people kneel down from the start of the mass until the first reading. Forty miles away everyone stands from the start of the Mass until the first reading. Again where I live we stand from “Pray Brethren…” and then kneel for the Consecration. Forty miles away they kneel right through.

As for the kids, considering it’s Christmas most kids will be extremely excited.

P.S. In our town there’s a little boy who’s an alter server. He’s very devote but he is absolutely incapable of walking sedately anywhere. If he’s asked to do something outside church he always runs. You can see him when he’s going down to the offertary table to bring up the bread and wine, he keeps almost running & stopping himself. Someone who didn’t know him who was watching would think he had no interest in the Mass, but thats not true.


#12

[quote=Cherubino]And some people never show up except for their own funerals-- which of course reminds me of a story…
[/quote]

And your point about showing up for their funerals reminds me of a sermon fragment my father-in-law told me he once heard.

Some people show up in Church three times in their lives:

  1. When they’re hatched,
  2. When they’re attached, and
  3. When they’re dispatched.

Alan


#13

I used to be a two-season church goer. It wasn’t until I started attending other masses that I saw the difference between the regular masses and these masses. (Gosh, I thought it was the “regulars” that were creating the ruckus just kidding) Do try to keep an open heart and pray from these peoples spirits to be rekindled. Believe me, it wasn’t easy to attended mass on Easter and Christmas when I felt like an outsider.

P.S. FYI my children were the quietest!


#14

These people may be there because a small flame has been kindled. It’s our job to help fan the flame, not throw a bucket of cold water over it!


#15

I was baptized Catholic and when I was very young my mother would take me to mass at Easter & Christmas only. She never went up for communion and we’d leave right afterwards (she always said if you stayed until communion, “it counted.”) Of course I had no idea what was going on and we stopped going when I was about 10 but the seed must’ve been planted because here I am in RCIA all these years later and it does truly feel like I’m coming home.

Please don’t judge those people who once come twice a year. At least they are coming. And don’t judge their children who, through no fault of their own were probably never taught how to behave in church.


#16

[quote=workinprogress8]Every Christmas and Easter I get really annoyed at those noisy folks, who crowd the church and act like they’ve never been in a church before. I just don’t know why people only go to church on Christmas and Easter.

I know I shouldn’t feel annoyed at these people, but I just can’t seem to help it.

If you have any insights on this issue, please post a reply.
[/quote]

I can’t help you because like you, I also get annnoyed at them.

Antonio :slight_smile:


#17

[quote=HumbleObedience]Hello!

I couldn’t help but put two and two together and deduce that not only do people not observe the basics of the faith, but the few times they do show up they take Holy Communion without reconciling themselves back to God with confession! Of course, this thought horrifies me.

[/quote]

I should say so! The very fact that they “take” Communion rather than “receive” it, tells you that they aren’t even Catholic! :tsktsk:

What arrogance to assume they can “take” Our Lord. Perhaps they believe it’s a “right.”

God bless,

Anna


#18

[quote=rarndt01]only 35% of Catholic members attend mass on a regular basis throughout the year. Wow! It sure seems like the above poster is correct in saying the church is only packed on holidays and during a time of national crisis(like 9/11). It’s really sad. But the question that I wonder is, why don’t Catholics want to come to church?

[/quote]

They haven’t been taught properly. They don’t know what the mass IS. Attending church, which is what most will call it, has become an obligation and/or a form of entertainment. I always tell my daughters that we’re going to mass, not church.

Also, the secularism that is rampant in our age is a cause. There are so many other “more interesting” things to be doing, time constraints etc. People don’t see that God even wants us one day a week. Emphasis in our culture is not sacrifice its pleasure.


#19

is it wrong to say “we’re going to church??”


#20

OK, carol marie, We don’t judge the those people. What are we supposed to say or think or do about their reception of Holy Communion, hmmmm? :confused: Just ignore it? Is that loving one’s neighbor? :confused:

Do such people validate the actions of others who do this sort of thing all the time? Do these people give scandal? And do we give scandal if we “compassionately,” “lovingly” and “non-judgmentally” overlook their actions saying, “At least they’re coming”? :confused:

What to do? :confused:

:crying:

Anna


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