I’ve noticed that Sunday obligations are popping back up around the US. Personally irrelevant because I’ve been one of those people providing livestreams, then limited worship, then gradual opening up over these past months. In my current parish, attendance has been on a slow rise, and no guilt trip has been rolled onto them.
A social media friend posted this image, right. It seems to be authentic. I’ve heard sentiments along these lines since last March.
The problem is that grocery stores aren’t churches. Most don’t give custodial staff off on weekends. Most have aisles for moving around and aren’t often at full capacity. (Except when managers don’t hire enough clerks.) Most have automatic doors. During the height of the pandemic, their staffs were trained to keep things as clean and sanitized as humanly possible.
When I went pandemic grocery shopping, I was in with a list and out right quick. Maybe I couldn’t shop at any time of the day or night, but 6AM to midnight seven days a week was a lot more accessibility than nearly any church when the times are normal. When I go to a grocery store, maybe there are a dozen or two workers busy at it. Sunday Mass? Clergy and music director–two or three people.
Here’s a serious wonder … what if bishops didn’t reinstate the Sunday Mass obligation? What if people found themselves motivated, like on Ash Wednesday or Thanksgiving, and attended because they found it fruitful? I wonder what would happen. I’m not saying the bishops should announce all out, “You don’t have to come to Mass under obligation.” Just leave things the way they are. Say nothing. Encourage better music and preaching. On that first score, I know I’m feeling the need to up my game and encourage my musicians to strive for their very best. Grateful to be back singing and playing, I think they get it.
If only more of us had used the last fourteen months to take a little more time studying Scripture, practicing our singing and speaking voices, researching good music, and practicing our instruments.
Oops. Was that a guilt trip?