Sunday, January 3, 2016

Church Attendance

I attended the Christmas vigil and New Year vigil in the parish.  As usual, the Church was full.  During Christmas vigil, the parking was packed; therefore, we had to park a little farther away from the Church and walk an extra mile.  Fortunately, we managed to find seats otherwise we would be standing in the back.  "Where did all these people come from?"  I thought to myself.  I never saw many of them in Sunday Mass.  (Yes, despite that I walk in the Way, I also attend Sunday Mass.)  In addition, they were all dressed in their Sunday best.  I did not see anyone wearing jeans.   

There are many Catholics who come only during Christmas, New Year, and Easter.  And these are the Catholics we need to encourage to attend Mass every Sunday, not two or three times a year.  During these important Christian events, it is prudent for the priest to give an outstanding homily in the hopes to get these people to return to the Church.   

Today, we attended Sunday Mass in the parish.  This is the Epiphany Sunday, commonly known as the Three Kings Day.  I was surprised to find the Mass was full with people.   Let us hope and pray that many of our brothers and sisters would continue to attend Mass every week rather than twice or three times a year.    


  1. I know your intent is not to criticize the "seasonal catholics" but maybe its a good time to ponder why there is such a classification? Why do many people flock to the church only during the seasonal holidays and the periodical weddings and funerals?
    Although the church is beautiful when it is full of people, its never quantity over quality.
    Who are we to fault when it is in our nature to assume the role. If we are born into a catholic family then we are catholic. If I belong to an active catholic family then I am too an active catholic. If my family considers going to Mass on Holidays only, a definition of a faithful catholic then on Christmas and Easter I am a faithful catholic. This is the natural man. This is the man who was taught to cry out to God when all else fails. This is the man that begins the bargaining with God to gain favors. What seems religious is instead nature. We then realize the lack of faith that we have. To minimize God to a mere barter rather than the all powerful and merciful God that he is. Why barter with someone who gives it away freely, gratis!

    -Jokers Wild

    1. Dear Jokers Wild,

      My intent is not to criticize them because I used to be one of those "seasonal" Catholics (as you call them). My parents and grandparents were strong faithful Catholics who attended Sunday Mass every week. But I grew up to be a rebellious teenager, and I put up a lot of fuss whenever my parents woke me up to attend Church.

      By the time I was in college, I became a "seasonal Catholic" (as you call it). Then one day, I met a Protestant convert. He and his wife were long time Baptists on Guam, and they were very excited about converting into the Catholic faith, and I could not understand that. I have always took for granted the things they discovered on their own. Their zeal, enthusiasm, and love for Christ in the Catholic Church moved me into learning more about my own faith. That was when I started attending Sunday Mass every week.

      Before I joined the Way, I already knew about Scripture and the Doctrines of the Catholic Church. Therefore, like you, I was able to pick up a few things that confused me about the NCW.

      For example, in the older communities, I noticed that they sometimes call the priest either by their first name or brother so and so. It was my Catechist who explained to me that the priest is "Father" FOR us but WITH us, he is a "brother." That made sense. After all, even the Pope begins his letter with "Dear Brothers and Sisters" rather than "Dear sons and daughters." Furthermore, God is our Father, Blessed Mary is our Mother, and Jesus the High Priest is our brother. Our catechists reminds us not to put the priest on a pedestal due to the fact that he is human like all of us.

      Because I am a female, it would be dishonorable to call a priest by his first name. It would only give a wrong impression to some people who are not walking in the Way. Furthermore, I do not expect my children to call me by my first name. The commandment says "honor thy father and mother." To honor one's father and mother does not mean that they worship them or put them on a pedestal. It is dishonorable if my child address me by my first name. I think even a Catholic knows that we venerate (honor) the saints, but do not worship them on a pedestal as we would worship God.

      The Holy Bible says to give honor where honor is due (Romans 13:7), and I have no problems giving honor to people without putting them on a pedestal. The honor I give to my priest is when I "amen" his hand after Mass because God also gave him to be my brother.

    2. ""amen" his hand "?

      What is that supposed to mean? Do they tell you that's normal too?

    3. Dear Anonymous at 12:22 pm,

      When my parents told me to "amen" grandma and grandpa, they are referring to "Nginge", which is a Chamorro custom of showing respect to their elders. It is part of our culture. The Filipinos have a similar custom, but in their country they call it "Mano Po", which is translated to mean "bless'. Obviously, you are not from Guam.

    4. You shouldn't put a person down by saying "Oviously, you are not from Guam" when you spelled â'men wrong.

    5. Dear Anonymous at 5:55 pm,

      That was not a put down. I typed the word "amen" with apostrophes because I cannot type it correctly using the limited tools I have in my very old computer. A person who could not figure out what I mean by '"amen" his hand' is obviously not from Guam.

    6. You may not think of it as a put down but even people from guam could've mistaken it for amen. Don't assume that everyone would know what you mean.

    7. Dear Anonymous at 7:32 am,

      I do not think so. If anyone did not understand what it means, they would simply ask and leave it at that, but that is not what Anonymous January 4, 2016 at 12:22 pm did. He added more to his comment:

      AnonymousJanuary 4, 2016 at 12:22 PM

      ""amen" his hand "?

      What is that supposed to mean? Do they tell you that's normal too?

      The put-down was coming from Anonymous' comment above when he added, "Do they tell you that's normal too?" All a person had to do was ask and leave it at that.