Last weekend, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord, a.k.a, Corpus Christi. This feast serves to remind us just what the Lord does for us every time the Mass is celebrated. The Lord gives himself to us in sacrifice, and we give ourselves back to him. The whole Church gathers on Sunday (or Saturday evening) to celebrate the Eucharist because it is the Lord’s Day, the day of the Resurrection. Our whole faith centers on the Lord’s Day and this celebration of the Eucharist. For that reason, the first precept of the Church, as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, says: “You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.” By being faithful to our Sunday Mass obligation, we are in effect saying that worship of the Lord is the most important thing in our life. Regular Mass attendance is not something the Church has just made up. This has always been the sense of the Faith. It is evident in the writings of the early Church, and is supported by the Scriptures.
As we now enter into the summer months, many of you will be traveling and taking some vacation time… and so will your pastor! I love this time of year! While many of you may be traveling in the coming months, I thought I would take a moment to offer a couple reminders.
First, it’s important that we not forget our Sunday Mass obligation. Certainly, one may have good reason to miss Mass on Sunday. Being ill, being frail due to old age, caring for someone who is sick, and the danger due to inclement weather are serious and legitimate reasons that excuse one from our obligation. Also, if there is no Catholic Church in the area you happen to be travelling, or if when you arrive at the church, it is closed, or unbeknownst to you the Mass time has changed – these are also legitimate excuses.
That being said, simply going on vacation (or travelling for work) does not excuse one from Mass attendance. If you are traveling, plan ahead. The internet makes it very easy these days to find Catholic Church locations and Mass times. If you are traveling with non-Catholics (or non-practicing Catholics), be sure to state your intentions to get to Mass before traveling. Many people tell me that they feel awkward about leaving the group to go to Mass during a trip when they are the only one giving it consideration. Don’t be discouraged by this or tempted to skip Mass. Think of what a great witness of faith it gives to state your intentions about getting to Mass on Sunday ahead of time. You might be surprised about who decides to join you! If you are planning to be away and believe that you may have no opportunity to attend Mass, talk to your pastor about it beforehand.
Secondly, I would ask that you not forget to support your parish throughout the summer months while you are away. As you can see in the bulletin, weekend collections go way down in the summer. This is understandable if parishioners make up for it at other times of the year… however, we do not stop paying bills during the summer! Therefore, I’d like to take this opportunity to ask you once again to consider signing up for online giving. This insures that our offering is regular, even when we are away. Please see the parish website for more information.
Blessings to you and your family this summer. May your time of rest and relaxation be an occasion for growing closer to the Lord.