On a friend’s facebook feed, I noted a link this op-ed from last month’s edition of US Catholic.
I confess I don’t get trussed up about people arriving late for Mass. I commented on the link that (I think) I experienced a Spanish-language lecture at the beginning of the homily this past weekend. I caught some words about the purpose of Mass, respect, and the 4PM hour. Words were also delivered a bit louder than usual.
People have good and bad reasons for being late for Mass. My sense is that people come for something that has value for them. When people leave early, there’s something better to do than stay for minimal quiet time, repetitive and needless announcements, or a blessing that pales in comparison to the reception of the Eucharist.
With the beginning of Mass, if people are consistently late, I’d ask if the parish was offering any significant reason to arrive early. Does the priest hide in the sacristy till start time? Is there any sense of welcoming? Are there facilities for young children? Poor music? That extra homily before the Penitential Rite?
One comment in the article struck me:
I also arrived to pastor a parish at which the ushers used their arms and bodies to bar people from entering during the readings. (For some reason, you could enter during the responsorial psalm because it was “a song” I guess.)
It’s also the proclamation of Sacred Scripture.
Let’s get to the purple chair. Be seated and render judgment on how, if at all, you would seat newcomers at Mass.