Late masses and confessions: Whay aren't there more?


#1

Hi. This is my first post. It's good to be here and I'm hoping for some answers and advice.
I was wondering why more parishes don't offer late mass on Sunday. I used to live in an area where multiple paishes had late mass on Sunday, at 5, 6, and 7pm. As some one who has a late work schedule all week, I depended on this. These masses were very popular and usually were packed. Full of all age groups, families, single people, etc. Where I live now the latest mass I can find on Sunday is 11:15 am. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
It's just a sad fact of our society that people work crazy hours and everything is opened 24hours a day. Many of people work 6 days a week, with Sunday being their only day off. It's their day of rest and worship.
Personally, I used to drift in and out of sleep when I had attended early masses. It's only natural that faithful people would want to go to mass rested and alert with a renewed mind.
Most parishes have 2 or sometimes 3 masses on Sunday already, but they are usually all in the morning. I don't know if it's just the state I live in or if this happens all over the country, but I'm sure that people everywhere want later mass times.
I have written to my new diocese, but haven't recieved a response yet. I have yet to find a parish home because every Sunday I find myself driving across state lines to go where there are late masses. Which brings me to confession.
Most of the confession times in my diocese are listed in the bulletin as: "Confessions: 2:30pm to 3:15pm on Saturday or by appointment". Saturdays, and every weekday for that matter, are out of the question for me and my husband and probably a lot of other people. Our only options are to either, make an appointment for a Sunday, (which we never feel comfortable doing) or drive across state lines to the shrine where they offer confessions from 1pm to 4pm on Sunday. We always end up driving to the shrine.
To wrap this up, I just want to know what I can do to help myself and all the other lay people who find themselves in a similar predicament. I do believe the Lord is telling me to advocate for this. If at least one parish in every diocese could have a late Sunday mass and a Sunday option of confession, It would help people like me a great deal. This way no one would have an excuse not to go to mass or confession...in fact I can guarantee confession attendance will go up. Thanks for listening, and I look forward to your advice.
In His hope, Jess


#2

Fair question.

Let me simply recount some of the answers I have received when I asked that same question.

There is such a thing as an "ecclesiastical day" [or maybe it's a "liturgical day"] 4pm on Saturday to 4pm on Sunday ?]... and the Sunday Mass worship is supposed to take place during that time "slot". Sometimes a Sunday evening Mass skates by if it is for "students".

In addition, there is a shortage of priests. A priest is only supposed to celebrate a maximum of two Masses per day. So you rapidly run out of priests available to say Mass.

Sometimes, they can say more than two, but my recollection of the "rule" is two Masses.

Someone once said they can say as many as they need to.

Having helped out from time to time, I can witness that saying Mass is an intense experience for a priest. And you can only just do so much.


#3

I would like to see a later Mass as well. My father's parish has a 4 o'clock or 5 o'clock "last chance" Mass I don't know how that works with the earlier poster's comment about the time limits on the day. My father lives in an incredibility strict dioceses so I can hardly believe they aren't following the rules.

I would also like to see daily masses being offered at times other than 8 AM and noon. I can never make it to the noon Mass since most of my lunches are "working" lunches. Since we have three Churches in our town I am surprise one doesn't offer a 7 AM Mass for us working folks.

I know I'm going to get flamed for this but:

It is funny, the Church is always wanting people to be more involved and more devote. But whenever someone tries to suggest something new saying "I know this isn't ideal...but it would really help." It seems the answer is always "No, that won't work because...." :shrug:

I know part of our religion is overcoming the temptation to put other things before God. But in these times most people have no control over their work schedule, it seems like the Church could be a little less rigid.


#4

Use "mass times" they are uuber helpful.

Late masses are relitively new. I think that many frown upon them as mass for lazy people or "last chancers" and many still believe any pm mass (including the vigil on Sat) is not licit (but acknowledge its valid)

As time goes on I think more parishes will take up the idea.


#5

I agree with confession times. A couple of years ago when I visited Chicago the parish in the loop actually offered confessions most days all day and evenings too! That is great for a large city but probably wouldn't be feasible in small towns with just one or two priests. That said almost all the parishes where I live have confession on Saturday afternoons. If that time doesn't work, then it makes it difficult for people to get to confession. Perhaps if cities with parishes coordinated and spread out confession times so that there would be wider times available for people with busy schedules more people could make it to confession more frequently. Another thing that would be helpful is to have volunteers offer free or inexpensive child care during scheduled confession times which I would think would make it easier for parents of small children to make it to confession more frequently.


#6

[quote="StarFireKK, post:3, topic:249096"]
I would like to see a later Mass as well. My father's parish has a 4 o'clock or 5 o'clock "last chance" Mass I don't know how that works with the earlier poster's comment about the time limits on the day. My father lives in an incredibility strict dioceses so I can hardly believe they aren't following the rules.

I would also like to see daily masses being offered at times other than 8 AM and noon. I can never make it to the noon Mass since most of my lunches are "working" lunches. Since we have three Churches in our town I am surprise one doesn't offer a 7 AM Mass for us working folks.

I know I'm going to get flamed for this but:

It is funny, the Church is always wanting people to be more involved and more devote. But whenever someone tries to suggest something new saying "I know this isn't ideal...but it would really help." It seems the answer is always "No, that won't work because...." :shrug:

I know part of our religion is overcoming the temptation to put other things before God. But in these times most people have no control over their work schedule, it seems like the Church could be a little less rigid.

[/quote]

Have a LOT of kids. And pray for a lot of boys. And then encourage them to become priests.

But with small families, that ain't gonna happen.


#7

What Diocese? We have a lot of late Masses here on Long Island. I would have thought CT would be similiar to us. Do you have a college nearby? They usually have late masses.


#8

Thank you all for your replies. Monte, I have gotten the same responses. For the parishes in a diocese with only one active priest, it could prove difficult, but fot those with 2 or more there shouldn't be a problem. As far as the 4pm cut off time, If they've made the exception for students and confirmation kids for a late mass, why not working folks? Now I personally do not work on Sunday and I'm not advocating working on Sunday. But the Catechism states "unnecessary" work on Sunday is a sin. Some work is necessary. But work aside, there are multiple reasons why people have trouble attending early mass. Things that range from hanving no transportation, to health concerns, family issues, babysitting, etc. I completely agree with Starfire and Purplesunshine. It is time for the stereotype of laziness to end. In some cases, yes people go to late masses so they can sleep in, but to harshly judge the reasons they are sleeping in as laziness, is wrong. I hope that people will start advocating this. There are people who haven't attended mass in years for this reason. I'm not making excuses for them, but we should give all Catholics and non-Catholics a chance to be transformed by the mass and confession. <3 Jess


#9

Seatuck, I live in the quiet corner..north eastern Connecticut. I am originally from Rhode Island and every town had a late mass. It is a big college area, but to me, college or no, people need a late mass. :-)


#10

Kaws, that is a great idea. Why would all the parishes in a diocese have confession at the same time on a Saturday? It make no sense. Why not spread it throughout the week. each parish in the diocese could alternate days if they wanted. There are multiple sollutions. People need confession...desperately. Let's make it available.


#11

[quote="Monte_RCMS, post:6, topic:249096"]
Have a LOT of kids. And pray for a lot of boys. And then encourage them to become priests.

But with small families, that ain't gonna happen.

[/quote]

That's the crux of it right there. Who is responsible for this lack of priests? We the laity are. Or at least our parents generation . We have to try to do better. And Pray, Pray , Pray for an increase in the priesthood. We have to remember that God is allowing this "shortage" in the US. Its for our good somehow.


#12

[quote="Jessica_Ceceila, post:10, topic:249096"]
Kaws, that is a great idea. Why would all the parishes in a diocese have confession at the same time on a Saturday? It make no sense. Why not spread it throughout the week. each parish in the diocese could alternate days if they wanted. There are multiple sollutions. People need confession...desperately. Let's make it available.

[/quote]

Priests have been sitting alone waiting for penitents to show up for several years now. I don't think there is a huge outcry for more confession. Have you written your Bishop?

When my work schedule doesn't match up with the scheduled time I call for an appointment. Not the best case scenario as I like anonymity but it works.


#13

[quote="Jessica_Ceceila, post:9, topic:249096"]
Seatuck, I live in the quiet corner..north eastern Connecticut. I am originally from Rhode Island and every town had a late mass. It is a big college area, but to me, college or no, people need a late mass. :-)

[/quote]

Hartford? Not a big selection of evening Masses.

archdioceseofhartford.org/cgi-bin/masssearch.pl?typeid=sun19

How close are you to MA. You could check out their mass times.

You could still check out the college schedules.

Try Masstimes.org


#14

I know what you're saying Seatuck. I assure you that I sympathize with the plite of our priests. And yes it is the lay person's fault for the lack of priests. But what can we do? Just sit by and say "You jerks brought this on yourselves!"? Thanks be to God that He doesn't deal with us that way. Our society is not going to suddenly revert back to work being closed on Sunday, or get rid of second and thrid shifts. I hope that our priests will have a merciful heart and help people like me find a feasible sollution. I don't expect things will change overnight, but when business and industry seems to be what is running the world, we need to push to make room for God.


#15

[quote="Seatuck, post:13, topic:249096"]
Hartford? Not a big selection of evening Masses.

archdioceseofhartford.org/cgi-bin/masssearch.pl?typeid=sun19

How close are you to MA. You could check out their mass times.

You could still check out the college schedules.

Try Masstimes.org

[/quote]

Thank you Seatuck, but I should probably make masstimes.org my homepage because I'm on it all the time. Hartford is pretty far from me. I am in the diocese of Norwich. There is only one parish that offers 5pm mass and that is the Norwich cathedral. There is also a parish in Webster, MA that does 5 pm and also Scituate, RI. All of these are about a half and hour drive which is no big deal, but there's still the question of confession. I have been driving to North Attleboro MA to go to confession on Sunday most weeks, so while I'm there, I go to mass. I also feel that I would like to find a home parish that I can be active in that is close by. For now, it's a dream, but I feel that the Lord is asking me to raise this issue.


#16

[quote="Monte_RCMS, post:6, topic:249096"]
Have a LOT of kids. And pray for a lot of boys. And then encourage them to become priests.

But with small families, that ain't gonna happen.

[/quote]

I agree the lack of priests is part of the problem. But I don't think it solves the whole issue.

Say you have a town that only has one priest and lets say he shouldn't say more than two Masses a day. That doesn't explain why 90% of Churches have mass at 8 and 10 oppose to 10 and 5 or some other combination.


#17

I guess i just don't understand how an 11:15 mass isn't late enough for someone to sleep in, enjoy a lazy sunday morning and still make mass. Its one hour of your day and you can come home and take a nap or rest the rest of the day.

Living in a large diocese has its perks. The first vigil mass is at 4:30 on saturday and the last mass is sunday at i think 8:30 (its at the Catholic University and only during the school year). But otherwise i think there are a few 6pm sunday masses.

As far as confession have you asked for one to be during the week? I know must of our churches have them on tuesday or wednesday night besides their saturday times. One church run by the domonicans has confession every day before their 3 daily masses. Our church also has confession on sunday between the early mass and the late mass (9:30 am to about 10:20am).

Something Cardinal DiNardo pushed he was that parishes that are near each other to stager their weekday masses so not everyone is at 8 am. We have some as early as 6:30 am. Or on Tuesday nights we have one at 7. There is also a Holy Cross Chapel Downtown that only has weekday masses at like 11:20 and 12:30 so that people don't miss work.

Have you asked your parish if there is an interest for a week day mass at a different time? A lot of places have had the same schedule for years. They may not be aware that people may want different times. Start talking to people in your parish and see if you can get a small group going. I bet you most priest would love to celebrate mass with more people and would be willing to move stuff around to accomdate if people ask and its feasible. You never know until you ask. Sometimes this stuff has to start at the parish level before moving to the diocese level.


#18

[quote="StarFireKK, post:16, topic:249096"]
I agree the lack of priests is part of the problem. But I don't think it solves the whole issue.

Say you have a town that only has one priest and lets say he shouldn't say more than two Masses a day. That doesn't explain why 90% of Churches have mass at 8 and 10 oppose to 10 and 5 or some other combination.

[/quote]

Amen to that.


#19

[quote="beckers, post:17, topic:249096"]
I guess i just don't understand how an 11:15 mass isn't late enough for someone to sleep in, enjoy a lazy sunday morning and still make mass. Its one hour of your day and you can come home and take a nap or rest the rest of the day.

Living in a large diocese has its perks. The first vigil mass is at 4:30 on saturday and the last mass is sunday at i think 8:30 (its at the Catholic University and only during the school year). But otherwise i think there are a few 6pm sunday masses.

As far as confession have you asked for one to be during the week? I know must of our churches have them on tuesday or wednesday night besides their saturday times. One church run by the domonicans has confession every day before their 3 daily masses. Our church also has confession on sunday between the early mass and the late mass (9:30 am to about 10:20am).

Something Cardinal DiNardo pushed he was that parishes that are near each other to stager their weekday masses so not everyone is at 8 am. We have some as early as 6:30 am. Or on Tuesday nights we have one at 7. There is also a Holy Cross Chapel Downtown that only has weekday masses at like 11:20 and 12:30 so that people don't miss work.

Have you asked your parish if there is an interest for a week day mass at a different time? A lot of places have had the same schedule for years. They may not be aware that people may want different times. Start talking to people in your parish and see if you can get a small group going. I bet you most priest would love to celebrate mass with more people and would be willing to move stuff around to accomdate if people ask and its feasible. You never know until you ask. Sometimes this stuff has to start at the parish level before moving to the diocese level.

[/quote]

Beckers, you have some good points. I have been to a few masses and parishes in my area, but mostly I go to masses across state lines so I can go to confession before mass on Sunday. I guess it's more important for me personally to have a confession on Sunday in my diocese than a late mass. As far as your previous point about 11:15am being late enough, have you ever known anyone that works second or third shift? Your body adjusts to whatever schedule you work most of the week. Just like 11:15 would seem late in the day for you, I'm sure you must be used to waking up at a normal time everyday. Before they invented electricity, this wouldn't even be a discussion, but when stores, supermarkets, resturaunts, etc are open till midnight, You'll always have people that work till midnight, come home, eat, shower, go on the internet and get to bed at about 2 or 3 am. The Catholic church would never want to be seen as classist to cater only to people that work a normal 9 to 5.
I do think you're right about working at a parish level. I am not a member of any parish near my new home, so I'm not sure how much weight my idea will have, but I will try. I did write a letter to my diocese with no reply as yet.


#20

I can sympathize with this, especially the Confession part. Our parish offers Confession for 30 minutes, once a month. All other times are by appointment only. I always miss the scheduled Confession and for some reason don't feel right making an appointment for Confession. I've been looking into other parishes to see if anyone has more regular Confession hours or something that lines up with my schedule better. I'm not looking to change parishes, but want to be able to go to Confession regularly.

We've seen a lot of things get cut back over the last year or so, which is weird because attendance and weekly giving are both way up. I had a horrible time getting to Confession and Stations of the Cross during Lent. We had Confession every day during Holy Week last year, but not once this year. We ended up missing Good Friday Mass due to the scarcity of Confession times around here, and having a sick baby.

There's a smaller parish nearby that offers Confession every Saturday, so I might try there. I prefer the idea of walk-in Confession not just for myself, but I think I have a better chance of getting my wife & son to participate as well in that case.


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