Summer Religion

I was browsing the news and commentary site Crux and I found this earnest piece urging attention to one’s religion during the summer months. Father Jeffrey Kirby offers a message that is true enough:

The word religion comes from a Latin word meaning “to bind oneself.” Properly understood, it is the perfect word for this preeminent virtue, since religion is a binding of ourselves to God and a worship and way of life that loves and serves him.

The virtue of religion is a binding. It is a recognition that our lives are not our own. Religion includes a death to self, the joining of a community, and a commitment to true worship. It means coming to Mass in the summer when we don’t feel like it. It means not taking a vacation from the duty and the privilege of offering worship throughout our lives.

But the question I’d offer: why did the author and editor drop the piece on the last weekend of summer leisure. Maybe the point is to encourage, urge, suggest that people can treat summer Sundays somewhat differently that absence from Mass. If true, June or even late May may be the better time to tell it.

What goes on with an opinion piece dropping on Labor Day weekend? To help Crux readers who do celebrate Mass feel satisfied about it? To drop a little shame and regret on people who didn’t? To test the memories of people properly chastened to get it right … next year?

My own parish has seen a drop in attendance the past three months. One parishioner asked me why I was still holding choir practice. It’s a myth most parishioners vacate. The numbers game I conduct tell me the summer drop is between ten and fifteen percent compared to October and April apexes. It has been so for decades. Some people go out of town for vacation, and they do populate tourist parishes. And some might like to open the bedroom window, feel the morning breeze, and enjoy the Sunday paper, a nice coffee, and the company of a spouse. Maybe Mass is better, subjectively. Maybe other options are nearly as good.

Image of Myrtle Beach by Loadmaster (David R. Tribble) Also see my personal gallery at Google Photos – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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