I always look happy, too, when I’m able to enjoy going out to breakfast with dear friends. I hope there is nothing evil in this.
On Sunday morning, many priests have a heavy schedule of Masses. (Our priests have nine Masses on weekends.) Why begrudge the man a chance to enjoy some fellowship with friends while he nourishes his body? A priest needs both the food and the friendships.
Solemnness is an attitude of the heart, not a “method.” I’m guessing that if you look around, you will probably be able to find Masses that last much longer than one hour that you don’t deem solemn enough.
There are many good reasons why some Masses are deliberately held to a shorter time period. Here are a few ideas for you to consider.
In our parish, one of these reasons is parking. It is important that the Masses finish on time so that there will be adequate time for all the outgoing families to safely exit the parking lot and all the incoming families to safely find parking spaces. There are a lot of people who must be dropped off due to various conditions (mainly walking disabilities, but also people with large numbers of very small children), and this drop-off line is very long and takes a long time to finish.
Another reason why the Mass has to end on time is so that the musicians can arrive early to run-through their music. Obviously, the musicians SHOULD meet during the week for rehearsal. But in real life, it is very difficult to get a good attendance at a weekly choir practice. Some people simply cannot make the weekly rehearsal time, and so they show up only on Sundays for the run-through.
It’s possible, too, that a nearby company or business has an understanding that their employees are able to attend the Mass that you attended, as long as they limit their time away from work to exactly one hour. The pastor of the parish may be working so hard to keep the Mass shorter to accomodate these employees who are making an effort to honor their Sunday obligation and be a witness to their co-workers.
We have a nursing home on the campus of our parish, and I know that the employees have a Mass said in their facility. But I’m sure many of them prefer to attend Mass in the church so that they can be free to worship without having to also care for their elderly patients at the same time.
Is there a large hospital anywhere near your parish? The Catholic hospital in our city offers Masses that last only around 20 minutes. This is done to accommodate the very busy and hectic schedules of employees, family members of patients, and even the patients. Perhaps even if there is a non-Catholic hospital in your city, the management of that hospital has responded to the requests of their employees who wish to be able to fulfil their Christian obligation, and they are allowed to attend Mass at your parish, but only if they can leave and return to work within one hour.
Keep in mind that many hospitals have schedules for their nurses that involve working long shifts all weekend; this is done so that the nurses can get in 40 hours on one weekend, and have the rest of the week off–many nurses find this schedule appealing because it allows them to be home with their families and avoid hiring daycare for their babies and young children. So perhaps that’s the explanation for the fast Mass that you attended.
Is it possible that the Mass you attended is understood to be the “Family Mass,” where families are encouraged to bring their young children? We have a Family Mass in our parish; it is held in the gym of the parish school, and it is usually about 45 minutes long. There is no “skimping” on the liturgy; the pastor makes it clear that all the rubrics are followed, including the kneeling. But because there are so many children present at this Mass, the pastor makes an effort to keep things moving along, and keeps his homily short and pithy. Perhaps there are people who attend this Mass so that they can get out in a hurry–so what? They are fulfilling their obligation. Perhaps they have other obligations outside of Mass to families, young babies who have been left with another family member, jobs, etc.
And you have no idea what the “hurriers” do outside of Mass to live out their Christianity. The person who is in attendance at the “Fast Mass” might well be a paragon of prayer and adoration, or perhaps is involved in a difficult outreach ministry, or gives tons of money to help the poor.
We really need to assume the best of our fellow Christians, and examine OURSELVES rather than others.