Mass in the Basement?

On Sunday our priest announced that due to rising heating costs, from January - March we will be having our Saturday and Sunday mass in the basement of the church. This is where we have flea markets and bingo…I really don’t want to believe this is appropriate?

S

[quote=slewi]On Sunday our priest announced that due to rising heating costs, from January - March we will be having our Saturday and Sunday mass in the basement of the church. This is where we have flea markets and bingo…I really don’t want to believe this is appropriate?

S
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Maybe he is just hinting that people should give more in the collection plate?!?!

[quote=slewi]On Sunday our priest announced that due to rising heating costs, from January - March we will be having our Saturday and Sunday mass in the basement of the church. This is where we have flea markets and bingo…I really don’t want to believe this is appropriate?

S
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No that would not be appropriate unless there was a real need. Like the plaster from the roof was falling in or there was a danger of injury from construction.

I wonder how they heated the churches in the early centuries? How many people actually take off their coats anyway?

Back in the day, the 60s when I was a kid, my parish had a school kids mass in the basement while the adults were up in the church.

The church was standing room only for the 9 am mass back then, I don’t think there is anything sacreligious about having mass in the basement.

You are absolutely correct Bro! Hardly anyone takes off their coats to begin with as it is! Maybe I need to write the Bishop? I don’t wanna be a trouble maker tho’.

S

[quote=slewi]You are absolutely correct Bro! Hardly anyone takes off their coats to begin with as it is!

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Its a long standing tradition among Catholics in a lot of places to worship in their coats. One of the differences between us and the protestants.

As a baby boomer I grew up in one of those fast growing parishes in the suburbs, and like most of the surrounding parishes, the same pattern was followed when building or expanding. First the school was built, then Mass was held in the gym or basement (or both concurrently, churches were packed back then), while the church was being built. Wish parishes today still had that dedication to Catholic education. Also these parishes were built and paid for quite often by 1st or 2nd generation immigrants with large families and every excuse not to tithe, but they did it.

Our church has started doing two daily Masses a week in the Parish Council room (a walk-out basement room beneath the rectory) because church support is WAY down and heating costs have gone up.

Looking at the published weekly financial statements, we’re running up a huge debt from week to week and our support is down. I’m not going to write to the Bishop and complain about an inappropriate practice (Mass in the Council Room), but I do want to figure out why church support is so down. If, and only if the priest were at fault and unwilling to fix the situation THEN I’d write the Bishop to try to fix both issues. I am concerned that in our situation something is going on to cause reduced church support. That’s where the problem lies, not in the symptom of moving daily Mass.

Perhaps your church is in similar straits, and you should investigate that before you complain to the Bishop.

I would say it is inappropriate, although I lack any authority in the matter.

From the Code of Canon Law:Can. 932 §1. The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out in a sacred place unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise; in such a case the celebration must be done in a decent place.

andCan. 1205 Sacred places are those which are designated for divine worship or for the burial of the faithful by a dedication or a blessing which the liturgical books prescribe for this purpose.

This provides for a handful of various interpretations. Is the basement of a church considered part of the “sacred place”? If not, is it at least a “decent place”? If so, do rising heating costs constitute “necessity”?

:hmmm:
One area parish celebrated Masses in the gym occasionally last summer when the temperature rose too high. Another held Mass in the cemetery on one occasion in honor of the dead. From Canon Law, it seems that the former was seriously testing the limits while the latter was not so much so.

[quote=Kielbasi]Its a long standing tradition among Catholics in a lot of places to worship in their coats. One of the differences between us and the protestants.
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Is that because for so long our churches were not heated?
I remember being a kid in the 60’s and freezing at mass. I know in the 70’s during the OPEC embargo, we turned the heat WAY down. We were in a 100 year old church in the Cleveland suburbs so there was no way we could afford to heat it. I’m not sure how they kept the pipes from freezing.

Here in the Philippines, in Manila there are Masses held in the shopping malls.

[quote=slewi]On Sunday our priest announced that due to rising heating costs, from January - March we will be having our Saturday and Sunday mass in the basement of the church. This is where we have flea markets and bingo…I really don’t want to believe this is appropriate?

S
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As Karin said, if your parish is suffering from a severe cash crunch, I think that the Pastor is letting people know that the only way to stay in business is for revenue (donations) to increase or he will have to cut costs. Since parish’s are long on fixed costs (debt/interest, utilities, insurance) and short on variable costs (wages), these decisions don’t leave a lot of room for discretion.

Furthermore, if you were to ask all the priests if they became a Priest to apply their business acumen to efficiently running a parish, not one would answer in the affirmative. In fact, business acumen is a skill that few possess.

Finally, your Pastor is first and foremost a Pastor. Knowing that the heating cost pressure being experienced by the parish is also being experienced by your parishioners, he probably is uncomfortable adding to the budget dilemma’s of the parishioners and thinks that the best pastoral decision is to have the parish share in the “pain.”

This may or may not be the best decision. I suggest you search out a finance committee or Pastoral Counsel member and talk thru all the alternatives including a special appeal to get donations for heating costs for the winter. I think this is a time when the collective wisdom of parishioners with fundraising and business acumen augment the Priest’s skills.

The location of the mass should not be an issue as long as the mass is reverent. I have attended mass in cathedrals in Europe as well as my small country church in rural America and found the somewhat less ostentatious surroundings in the smaller church to be more conducive to focusing on the sacrifice taking place. Focusing on the surroundings seems to be the wrong focus. After all, the Christ child was born in a stable–and his family was glad to have it! Just my opinion.

Unless the basement is flooded or has a few dead bodies, I would say, go for it!:smiley:

[quote=slewi]On Sunday our priest announced that due to rising heating costs, from January - March we will be having our Saturday and Sunday mass in the basement of the church. This is where we have flea markets and bingo…I really don’t want to believe this is appropriate?

S
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If your Pastor feels it is an absolute necessity then it should be ok. If there isnt an absolute need for this one would have to question his decision though.

There is nothing wrong with it. I’ve seen parishes that were built when there were 400 families plus attending. Now there are only 50-60 people registered. They have mass in the basement. Keeping that huge church heated would be financially crippling to the community so they meet in the basement.
Hey, the first Christians met in graveyards underneath cities.
It is more of a waste to heat the big building above the basement. The more gas you use mean more wells have to be drilled. The more wells you drill the more nature gets polluted. Not to mention it is a waste of money, money that comes from people who break their backs earning.
Not to mention it is more than likely even harder this year, I live up north, natural gas bills are double this year than what they were last year. There plenty enough people that are juggling food, medicine or heat this year.
It might be easy to wrong having mass in the basement, but how many people will be upset when many other programs (the parochial school, etc…) suffer because it wasn’t kosher to have mass in the basement.
Even if someone wanted to donate money and pay for the gas bill it still would be a waste, because you could have donated that money to the St. Vincent de Paul society, the parish school, ccd classes, rcia supplies, insurance on the building, or any other real needs of the parish.

The universal solution appears to be to find a way to increase financial church support.

We’re so quick to scream, “ABUSE!” every time the priest does something we think is contrary to the Law.

Perhaps we should be more introspective and see if we’re doing something bad that is causing him to do something contrary to the Law as a result.

:twocents:

[quote=Kielbasi]Its a long standing tradition among Catholics in a lot of places to worship in their coats. One of the differences between us and the protestants.
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WHAT??? Never heard of this one!

Kind of off topic, but I personally hate being in a Church full of people in their winter jackets… I find most winter jackets make a great deal more noise when people move around than normal clothes.

[quote=slewi]On Sunday our priest announced that due to rising heating costs, from January - March we will be having our Saturday and Sunday mass in the basement of the church. This is where we have flea markets and bingo…I really don’t want to believe this is appropriate?

S
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Call it the Crypt and everything is OK.:slight_smile:

Ooops - having Bingo in the crypt - that must be an abuse!:bigyikes:

Come on you guys - loosen up a bit.

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