Mass during the week

So I’m a little concerned about starting this thread because I am fairly sure some people are going to be mildly offended by it and a certain amount of unfair and untrue accusations will be made against me. I am assuming this based on past negative behavior I’ve seen on the forums, but I hope that my assumptions will be proven wrong. Anyway, with that said, I’ll begin.

I went to my first week day mass today. I had been feeling a draw to go to mass daily for some time now and finally decided to do so. I want to make it clear that I do not attend mass expecting to be entertained. I know and agree that that is not the purpose of the mass. However, I also did not expect week day mass to be as cheerful as a graveyard!

I’m not sure if this is just a quirky trait of the parish I attend or if it’s common behavior in most parishes? I should add that I just moved across the state and this is a new parish for me.

To start, there were only 5 of us in attendance (counting the priest). Now, this low attendance isn’t anyone present’s fault, and that in itself doesn’t mean the mass would necessarily have to be so dreary. But, no one there appeared to be even slightly happy to be there except the priest. Everyone was frowning, eyes downcast, arms folded, etc. Mass is supposed to be a celebration right? It’s supposed to be where we give joyful praise and worship to our Lord, isn’t it? Instead no one spoke above a whisper in the responses at any point. Every part that was “sung” was monotone and almost had the same tone that a child does when he or she is forced to apologize but doesn’t mean it. Even though there were only 5 of us and we were all very close to each other when time came for the sign of peace no one took the time to shake everyone’s hand. I mean there were only 5 of us! I wanted to shake everyone’s hand, but by the time I had shaken one parishioner’s hand the mass was already continuing. And it was only a half hour long mass, so what’s the need to rush any of it? And it certainly did seem rather rushed.

Normally I do not pay attention to anyone at mass unless they are the priest or a lector. I think if you’re spending time paying attention to others at mass then you’re not spending time paying attention to God. However, this mass was so radically different than any mass I had previously been to that I could not help but notice. I kept trying to focus on God, but was just so upset by the mood of the mass.

I felt as if Jesus had invited us all to His house for supper and that we all begrudingly attended, anxiously looking at our watches and glacing at the door. I’m not exaggerating by saying that I left this mass feeling sad for Jesus.

Is this really how week day masses are in general? What is the rationale behind the drastic differences in attitude and demeanor between masses said during the week and those said on Sunday?

I have had the complete opposite experience with daily Mass.

I got Tuesdays and Thursdays after work, it is held in a side chapel, and has small pews for about 80-100 people. Most people come 15-30 minutes early and kneel in silent prayer, I have been delighted to see that the pews are actually filled to capacity, with complete strangers packed in next to each other in worship together. The bell tolls and everybody stands and actually sings the unaccompanied hymn led by the priest. The Mass is the N.O, but reverent and beautiful, and everybody seems respectfully attentive and prayerful. The handshake of piece is warm and inviting, but not over the top.

Nobody leaves until the Mass has actually ended, and even then it is in respectful silence for the sacred space, and for the people who remain to pray. Once outside, people begin to strike conversations with people they know or just to say hi. I don’t know a single person at the parish but I feel very welcomed by all the strangers I have met afterwards, without feeling “attacked” by welcoming or conversation as a new comer.

I am sorry that your experience was not so good, and I have to admit that sometimes I struggle to stay awake and attentive at the end of a 12 hr work day, but I look forward to the weekday Mass, and it is often the only thing keeping me going during a tough workday.

The Mass is not really dependent on anyone’s mood. Even though it is a celebration, it is one in the deeper sense of the word. It is more than a meal; it is the Sacrifice and it’s the point of intersection between heaven and earth, and time and space.

It might be that you happened to be present at time when something else was happening. I know that when Mass is celebrated on a holiday (like Labor Day), we will get a smaller crowd than usual. And, yes, we’ve had as few as five folks in attendance. When I go to daily Mass early in the morning, I’m just happy to be awake. Bear in mind, too, that not a few parishes have daily Mass during lunchtime. Naturally, the priest has to take into account people’s lunch hours. When I go to daily Mass during lunchtime, I still need to pull up to the drive-through window so that I can pick up something to eat on the way back to work. That is why 25-30 minutes is the ideal, especially for a noon-time Mass.

Daily Mass is different than Sunday Mass in that there is really no singing other than the parts of the Mass. The parish in question might use a simple Mass setting than what is used at Sunday Mass because, more often than not, the folks who show up at Daily Mass may not necessarily be parishioners. That happens a lot.

Again, please do not gauge the Mass based on the mood of the folks around you. The Mass is not dependent on how I feel.

Please be aware that many people attend daily Mass and then go to work. Yes, even the elderly still work in this day and age, or perhaps have to be at home to care for grandchildren while their children work.

So that could be why it seemed rushed. It WAS rushed, to accomodate people who are trying to attend Mass before leaving for work.

As for the mood–think the best. You are new to the parish. Perhaps a dear parishioner just passed away, or a child in the parish, and perhaps everyone IS sad and downcast.

A year or so ago, a little boy from our parish was drowned on a family outing. I attended Adoration a night or two later, and the little chapel was packed with relatives of the dead boy. They were crying and sobbing, lying prostrate on the floor, and clinging to each other. I was touched by their grief and spent most of my Adoration time praying for them and for the boy. This was certainly not the way our Adoration chapel usually looks or feels, but it was the mood of the moment because of what had happened.

At any rate, even though Mass is a celebration, it is also a re-presentation of the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the Cross. So sadness and mourning are appropriate emotions to display at Mass.

One other possibility, if your city is large enough for more than one parish, is that perhaps all the “lively” people in the parish attend another “livelier” parish for daily Mass, leaving only a few elderly, subdued people to attend your parish each day. If you would like a livelier Mass, perhaps you could ask around and learn where the lively Mass is held.

My personal feeling is that this quiet, subdued Mass would be a good way to learn to enter into the sacred mysteries of Mass without needing any of the “human” trappings–the music, the animated people, the vibrant smiles, etc. You can focus on just Jesus. Just a thought for you, and I appreciate that you may not be at a point in your life where you need quiet and aloneness as much as you need outreach and friendliness.

I am so sorry you had a bad experience. My experience with daily Mass began in my parish about 3 yrs ago. We had two-one in morning and one in evening. I went to a.m. because of work schedule. It wasn’t long that I felt totally embraced by this sort of community within a community. We shared with each other our joys and challenges before and after Mass and we prayed with and for each other.

after loosing one of our priests, daily Mass was no longer offered in the a.m. Some of our group moved to the p.m. Mass and others of us began attending morning Mass one neighborhood over in another parish. Again, in no time I felt embraced by morning Mass faithful in that parish. I can say that when someone, or someone with a loved one is going through something- death, illness, job loss, etc. it does affect us all because we are such a relatively small group.

I hope you’ll keep going to Daily Mass. I can’t begin to express how much the Lord has chosen to Bless me through my daily Mass participation even though, like many have and will point out, the Mass is for Him. That’s how generous and loving He is. We assist at something meant for Him alone, and He turns around and Blesses us!

Short answer to your question is - no - not all weekday masses are like this.

Three thoughts of comfort. The people who go there on weekdays are not being forced to go, so even if their style of worship seems poor to you, the fact remains that they made and effort to come.

Secondly, if this is a real drag for you, look around locally for another parish, they all should have daily mass.

Third, even if there is no other mass convenient for you, remember that you are receiving Christ into you each time you attend and receive communion. Regardless of the quality or quantity of your fellow attendees, Christ is fully present.


As other posters mentioned, weekday Masses are usually short and 25-30 minutes is normal, at least where I go. As for people not shaking hands I have noticed that some people do not do this at weekday Masses while others do.

If the other people at the Mass were older it may be that they are more traditional and do not like to shake hands as that was not done before Vatican II.

It has been my experience that people who attend weekday Masses are generally more traditional.

Thank you everyone for your informative responses. :slight_smile: I am very glad that my fears were proven wrong and no one decided that simply because I had a bad experience at mass that this meant I don’t care about God or something rediculous like that.

I do not think anyone died recently or suffered a major tragedy in the parish since nothing of the sort was mentioned in the weekly bulletin. Also the priest allowed us to mention any people we’d like to pray for during the mass but no one had anyone they specifically wanted us to pray for. But perhaps there is something going on that I am unaware of since I only just moved to this town a week ago.

Also, I did take into consideration that none of the people present were required to show up to daily mass and so they clearly have faith. I apologize if I gave the impression that I questioned their faith itself. I was more concerned that there was no (visible) joy in their worship, nor did there seem to be much (if any) warmth among the parishioners at the daily mass. I’m not sure if perhaps my age might have thrown them off a little since I was by far the youngest person at mass this morning (by at least 50 years I’d guess).

Anyway, I like the priest of this parish and hope to stay with them. But there are 4 other parishes in the area and I am considering visiting a few of them before I actually join a specific parish since they’re all about the same distance from my new home. And this is one of the smaller parishes in the community, so I’m sure that also has something to do with the lower attendance at daily mass.

In the end though I do intend to make daily mass a part of my life because I do desire to receive Christ each day. If that means I have to adjust to a mass that seems to lack the degree of fellowship I have become accustomed to then so be it. Though, of course, it would be nice to have both.

I attend Mass at 2 different parishes during the week, and the experieces there are as different as night and day. And I love them both.

Mass at my home parish is at 6:30 a.m. It is blessedly SILENT before Mass begins. Wonderful blessed silence. There is never any singing for anything unless it is a holy day of obligation. The homily is usually wonderful and is as long as it needs to be. The priest offers a prayer of petition after the homily. We say “amen”. Little, if any, handholding at the Our Father. At the Sign of Peace most people greet each other with a “peace sign” (think of the 70’s) and a verbal greeting. Little handshaking…this really became true during cold and flu season last year. Manyof the people are elderly,so you can understand. When Mass is over, Father retreats into the sacristy. Elaspsed time is about 25 minutes; never rushed, but always moving.

Mass at the parish down the road is at 7:00. It is rarely quiet before Mass. Often there is some type of devotion in progress. Other times, there might be quiet chatting. There is an entrance song - usually more than one verse and a Communion song…sometimes it just kind of drifts off. The homily is usually wonderful and is as long as it needs to be. It has been known to include guitar playing. The priest starts with a few petitions after the homily and then others offer theirs, as well. Everyone holds a hand during the Our Father. (This is especially true since their church burned and Mass is held in the tighter quarters of the Parish Library.) The sign of peace includes hugs and handshakes with anyone in the vicinity (again, magnified by the close quarters). When Mass is over, Father stands at the door and hugs the folks on their way out. Elapsed time 30 minutes or so. Sometimes you just have to leave if you have to be at work.

About 30 - 40 people at each parish. Though at 45, I am often one of the youngest in attendance. As I said, I love them both - they balance each other.

That being said, I have been to daily Mass at other parishes and not really felt the “warm fuzzies”, for whatever reason. I go there if they are the only option available, but I am fortunate most of the time to have other options. I hope that you continue to go. It is true - what you said about being drawn. Jesus is the ultimate reason that you go, but the environment and the other people also play a role in your experience.

When my kids went to grade school in Brooklyn, I was able to go to Mass several times each week. I went to a 9am Mass, so it wasn’t meant for people to go before work. Mostly there were a few old ladies, Father Carmine and me. The Mass was in Italian, which was kind of a nice of Novus Ordo Mass and language similar to the Mass from my childhood. It was quiet and dignified, but the old ladies and I responded audibly and kept coming back for more.

I have a 9am to 6pm job, and a 30 mile commute each way. I’d have to leave the early morning Mass before it was over and I don’t like to leave.

I attend daily Mass at our cathedral parish. I’ve also attended daily Masses at other parishes around town. They all have their own personality. Our 7:00 a.m. is a very quiet group, about 50-70 people. Our new rector sings everything he can (his prayers), and has introduced vernacular chant for the sanctus, mysterium fidae, and agnus dei. For a memorial or feast day, he’ll lead a hymn at the processional and recessional. The singing, which only adds a few minutes, totally changes the character of the daily Mass. It does seem at times like he and I are the only ones singing—good thing he has a superb singing voice, as I do not! Our noon Mass (up to 100 usually) is more involved–perhaps just because there are more people.

I think sometimes that because the daily Mass crowd is older, and more focused on worship (than the total population at Sunday Mass), they can be quieter and seem less friendly at first impression. If they are rushing to leave, it’s to get to work or school. Probably you shouldn’t assume what is in their hearts (i.e. “cheerful as a graveyard”). There are times in the Mass when I am open-jawed in awe, and others when I am smiling with joy. I’m expressive; many people are not. Five is also a very small population, and maybe you hit the five that don’t like to sing or don’t like to make loud responses. Also, since daily Masses are shorter, and often don’t have singing, they can seem rushed and devoid of the outward signs of joy you see on Sunday.

I make a point to smile, nod, and wave (silently) at everyone I recognize. They return the gestures. I try to meet and chat with folks after Mass, and everyone has been very friendly.

IMHO, you shouldn’t make a sweeping generalization based on such as small survey. Try this parish again, and others as well. Daily Mass has been an immense blessing to me.

It might just be the parish. I attend a mid-town cathedral mass two or three times during the week because it’s more spiritually nourishing to me than my home parish. On the weekend “mandatory” mass; I go to my home parish and am usually disappointed.:shrug:

Maybe people had something on their mind? I know that when I have something that I’m thinking about, my expression will often relax into “neutral” expression. I’ve had people ask me when I’m reading a book if I’m feeling sad or something (unless I’m reading something funny I usually have a pretty flat expression). When I was in choir in high school, one of the things the director was constantly reminding us about was to smile (which actually has the secondary effect of helping to keep you from going flat).

Our daily Mass is at different times on different days, so you might see a different set of people each day, depending on whether they are working folks, seniors, students, etc. The evening time is generally very well attended. The super-early Friday morning Mass is followed by a group breakfast and is quite jovial. During the summer, the morning slot that would be school Mass during the school year is very poorly attended, and I have several times been the only lay person there. HUGE variations in mood, length, spontaneous petitions, activities before and after.

I have been to daily Masses at several parishes around the country, and they all have their own flavors. One parish I visited several days in a row with my toddler, who preferred to be barefoot whenever possible. After the third day, I was stopped on the way out by a very kind gentleman who wanted to make sure she had shoes, or he was going to take us out to buy some!

Some parishes have devotions beforehand. Some meet in the main sanctuary, and some tuck into a little chapel.

I love daily Mass, in whatever form :slight_smile: I’m sorry that you had a bum experience, and I hope you’ll still go. Sometimes daily Mass people take a while to warm up, because they are giving you your privacy, and you have to introduce yourself afterwards to break the ice.

For some people Mass is a very humbling experience. Often when I go with my sister she is crying or fighting tears. I find myself fighting the same response. It is overwhelming to be in the presence of God! I find, for me, the joy comes after.

Some people, while at Mass, are deeply aware of their faults and what you perceive as a ‘bad mood’ might just be an expression of their humility.

I know this is kind of off topic…but I have to know. With only 4 parishioners in attendance, did they still have an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion?

Its possible. Sometimes daily Mass with low turnout would be when the priest would offer the Precious Blood. So an EMHC is at hand to offer the cup.

I remember our former pastor does it that way. There’ll be about 10 people at Mass and an EMHC but for the cup. Today I attended Mass in the morning and there was no EMHC, so only the Precious Body was offered. But there was surprisingly a lot of people for a morning weekday Mass at our parish. About 20 or more people.

What time of day was it? I can easily imagine that at an early morning Mass people mightn’t look too cheerful, just as they often aren’t when at any other task at that time of day. For some it’s a struggle just to stay awake and pay attention.

Not to mention that the one hour fast only excludes water and medicine. So for sure no one has had coffee yet.

Hee. This line of comments made me laugh out loud.

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