Our Easter celebrations are complete. The celebrations are over and we put the party favors away for another year. The Sunday Mass (the little Easters) is our remembrance of the party which (hopefully) is seen as our spiritual center. We can catch our breath and reflect where we were…and where we are now…on the spiritual journey (and grow further up and further in).
We typically spend about an hour together listening to God and beseeching God as a community of Catholic believers. Is that too long? I remember reading a newspaper article sometime back that noted:
“Some churches struggling with shrinking attendance are shortening their traditional Sunday services, promising to get a generation with limited attention spans out the door in less than 30 minutes.”
You know, when millions of people can stay in their stadium seat or sit glued to a TV at home to watch a 3-hour football game, I fail to agree with the assertion that this generation is suffering from a limited attention span.
What this generation is suffering from is a limited faith. Yes, thanks to many factors such as: broken homes, Godless colleges/schools and a general abandonment of good moral behavior in society, no seed of faith in an unseen God is being planted and nurtured in the hearts of our generation. And, as a result, some have no interest and no desire for a gathering with God. Shortening a Sunday service will have no effect on getting the young back into Church. They’re not staying away because they have limited attention…they’re staying away because they haven’t yet felt the love and the mercy of God!
Once people experience God, they want more…not less time to be with Him in the Sacred Liturgy. The article I refer to mentioned that the Catholic Church:
“has long accommodated hurried worshippers at daily Mass.”
What the Catholic Church has done for centuries on weekdays has nothing to do with catering to peoples limited attention spans…it has to do with their limited time!
Many people who seek a daily union with God in the Mass are bound by their start time at work or school. A shorter Mass enables them to attend and still get to their next stop on time. Sunday, if taken as a day of rest, has no such obstacles. Each Daily Mass still has a Liturgy of the Word and a Liturgy of the Eucharist…they’re just shorter. The homily is still present in weekday Mass…it’s 2 – 3 minutes as compared to 12 – 15 minutes on Sundays.
In a recent poll of practicing Catholic women, 75% of them stated that they get all of their moral direction for their lives from…the Homily at Mass! If that’s true, then the homily should be longer, not shorter! I promise that you will not see our weekend Masses shortened at our Parish! And my prayer will be, if I doing my job right, that you’ll soon be asking for the Mass to be longer…not shorter!