Campus Ministry Christmas

Christmas comes early for campus ministers. We had big crowds at our first two Masses this weekend. But 10:30 was huge–bigger than Easter. We had to bring up three racks of chairs from the basement and a few stacks from the student lounge to accommodate our overflow people in the narthex. Someone commented that a lot of parents were in attendance, which was true. We won’t be as crowded next weekend, I think. Hopefully we’ll be only slightly less crowded. But if the parents want to come back, I won’t stop them.

One of my hospitality people mentioned that she hoped we could keep the Mass under sixty minutes; otherwise, the students would be discouraged from returning next weekend. It was seventy-one. We had two young women received into full communion, plus so many people we needed fourteen verses of three Communion songs. Our preacher tackled the long version of the second reading in his homily, and the pastor, when announcing the 10PM Thursday Night Mass, mentioned that 43% of St Thomas students meet their future spouse at that liturgy.

It’s already been a busy time for us in the parish office. 53 incoming students expressed an interest in scheduled liturgical ministry. Three in hospitality, 18 for Communion ministry, but what are we going to do with 32 new lectors?

Tonight we have the new student cookout. Free food for undergrads, then 7PM Mass. Looking forward to meeting more Ames newcomers, spending a little quality time with my family, then getting a good night’s sleep.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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One Response to Campus Ministry Christmas

  1. Kevin in Texas says:

    Indicative of nothing, but simply anecdotal:

    As someone who has spent so much of his adult life in university settings (undergrad/grad student/now professor), I’ve attended far more daily and Sunday Masses in university parishes (on and off-campus ones) than in non-university ones. It seems that more often than not, the university parish Masses last longer than non-university ones, both at daily Mass and on Sundays. Generally it’s not a matter of parish size or attendance, as was the case in Todd’s parish last weekend w/ so many parents attending with their kids, as the school parishes tend to be smaller or equal in size to the non-college ones.

    Rather, the homilies are decidedly longer in college parishes. I’ve seen this in FL, DC, VA, HI, and now TX, almost without fail. Could it be that priests in more general community parishes shorten their homilies to account for families with small children (i.e., those who tend to have a limit of around 50 minutes in Mass before squirming)? Then again, my current university parish has Sunday Masses filled with small children (and it’s interesting to note here that there is no children’s Mass or any separate worship time for little ones at this parish–they tend to come to both the 9am and 11am Masses in equal measure), and our pastor is known to speak for 20 minutes during his in-depth homilies, which are always educational and interesting, which probably limits any complaints he gets for being long-winded. At my university parish when I was an undergrad in FL, our pastor, God bless him, was one of those who often spoke for 30 minutes or more in his Sunday homilies, but he was a slow speaker and tended to get side-tracked in his homilies talking about his childhood, etc.

    This whole train of thought was sparked by the notion of trying to keep Mass shorter that your hospitality person brought up, Todd. Perhaps it’s a mark of our modern age and inability to focus, but I don’t think priests and worship leaders like yourself should necessarily aim to “keep Mass short.” Relevant homilies and announcements, certainly, but there’s also nothing I find more annoying than when a priest flies through the Liturgy of the Eucharist in record time, at least for Sunday Mass, esp. if it involves a potential lack of reverence for the liturgy itself.

    I apologize for the string-of-consciousness comment, but there it is.

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