Saturday, 2 August 2014

We're all going on a summer holiday more mass for a week or two.

I have noticed, in recent years, a sharp decline in the number of families at mass during the school holidays. (This is anecdotal evidence: I have not conducted actual research.) Now, I realise that people go away during the holidays, but given the amount of elderly people in my parish, and the lack of Catholic churches in the area, there should presumably also be a counter-balancing influx of families visiting grandparents. What seems to be happening is that people don't go to mass in the holidays and certainly don't bring their children along.

I find this a bit odd.

I know people who struggle to get their teenage children to go to mass, especially with the competing demands of weekend sporting activities, but there does seem to be a prevailing idea that children (and adults) can be let off from mass attendance during the holidays. The problem with this (and I don't have children, so if you do and think I'm completely wide of the mark, ought to shut up etc etc) (aside from the whole of missing mass), is that this forms a link between school and church as concepts, presumably generating similar associations when the end of the holidays come and one has to go back to both of these ie school and church are both boring, we need breaks from both, they aren't necessary all year round and so on. Two of the three longer school holidays are based around Christian holidays, so it also seems slightly ridiculous to not go to mass at these times.

There are no holidays in the adventure that is Christian Life. There may be times when things are perhaps easier or harder, but we cannot, should not, do not get breaks from being Christians, whether from Monday to Saturday or during the school holidays. Being a Christian is not a job, or an activity, it is an identity: it is about being, not doing.

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