Yesterday my son was struggling with asthma and we sat in the narthex during Mass. It let us have a little more breathing room than if we sat in the pew with my husband. He counted the number of people who came in late, after the first hymn started, just to entertain himself. It was well over 100 people!
But what surprised me from our vantage point there by the door was just how many people left during communion. I knew that frequently others around us wouldn’t be there after they received, but I hadn’t realized that so.many.people. left the church immediately after receiving. It was many, many more. It was impossible to count but had to be more than double of how many he had counted on the way in, so easily 200 or more.
So why? Why do people like to leave early? Why not stay and hear the blessing and the actual words, “the Mass has ended…”? The Episcopal church I went to with my Dad as a child had a nice, formal exit system as the priest and the cross recessed, each pew would recess behind it from the front to the back. I don’t know if people dashed out ahead of time but certainly no one would have ever pushed ahead of the priest to get out the door first!
What’s the hurry!?