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In the moral chaos of every day life, it is a safe haven and a place to celebrate God and life.
During the celebration of Mass we sit in quiet and can hear His voice. “You are my beloved, my favor rests on you.”
Prayer is listening to the voice that calls us “My beloved.”
In the sacred place of community, fruit is born through our shared life’s experiences, joys, sorrows, and brokenness.
During the celebration of Mass, the qualities of our hearts are joined. We are alive, not only for ourselves, but for one another.
There is a beautiful spirit of kindness at Mass. A breath of fresh air in our midst.
The sharing of the Eucharist is a sacred experience. It helps us all to become family, friends, and community; a body.
When I am at Mass, I feel God’s presence is acknowledged and responded to.
The stillness of our prayers puts our ears to the Word of God, so that we can go forth that week carrying His spirit with us.
Mass every week brings us together. As a community, we become the living Christ. God wants us to come together as one family.
By attending Mass and eating His body and drinking His blood, we become one with Him.
This is why I go to Mass as often as I can. I am blessed to be a member of Holy Cross where All are Welcome.
Traditionally, I was instructed Mass attendance was simply a requirement and obligation. Going was to define me as a practicing Catholic. More recently I have thought about why I should go and how I should communicate this need to my children as they get older and question the need to attend Mass. I discovered Mass rejuvenates me to be the best practicing Christian wherever I am.
I believe I worship in two ways at Mass; the vertical and the horizontal. I always thought my primary reason for going to Mass was to pray and become closer with God on a deeper one-on-one relationship. I quietly offer up my prayers, listening to word in readings and message through the liturgy of and feeling God’s presence in the liturgy of the Eucharist. I see this as vertical worship defined as a divine communication between God and me.
I so often would take for granted the horizontal aspect of Mass. That is, experiencing God in his people around me. We channel our oneness together in so many ways making our voices one voice through praying out loud together, singing we become one instrument, saying the Lord’s prayer and offering the sign of peace provide unity felt with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is alive in our ability to be there for each other. I feel the Spirit’s presence in each of us as we share together.
I hear people say I do not need to go to a building to pray. I have heard Church defined as the presence of God in God’s people made in God’s image. In other words, we are the Church and God is there in each of us. Jesus says when two or more of you are gathered in my name He is there. Mass is the perfect example of this for me. If I choose to not go to Church I miss exactly that, Church (God’s Spirit in the people attending). I may gain the advantages of the vertical talking to God while staying home but lose the horizontal celebration of God’s Holy Spirit, Christ’s word, and Christ’s example of sharing together. Praying is always rewarding and I should at least once a week share that gift with my brothers and sisters who need me to be there for them.
When I ask myself why I do not want to go to Mass sometimes, the response I hear is always self-centered; I would rather do something else, etc. I ask instead, what do I contribute to the Mass to help those fellow Christians that need God’s Spirit? They need to hear me sing, say prayers, feel the Spirit in the sign of peace. God gave me this troubled singing voice. Mass is the place I can give it right back to God.
When I put the vertical and horizontal together I get a cross. At the center of the cross I believe is where God, Jesus, the Spirit and us (the living Church) meet. That is what Eucharist is for me; sharing a holy spiritual meal in peace with my Christian family. I worship God. Christ shows me how in my thoughts and actions. The Holy Spirit is the manifestation of God’s presence and love. God’s people bring that love alive at Church.
When I go to Mass I am as close to heavenly bliss as I can possibly be, other than reaching heaven. At Mass I can pour out my heart’s deepest longing into the listening ear of the One who loves me most.
As I listen and interact with the prayers and readings of holy scripture I can make constantly new connections between those words and my daily life. I know that those words are meant for me. Every homily and every prayer of the faithful is directed at me, not in a critical manner, but in a way to enliven my faith. Through the entire liturgical year I can taste of the different selections of Christ’s life and as the three year cycle of readings touch on the life of my Savior, I can live the life of Christ in his birth, ministry, suffering, death, and resurrection.
As an example of the attentiveness and enlivening quality of our liturgies, I would like to offer two stories. Once I came late to week day Mass, and did not receive Holy Communion. Father Wheeland had noticed this, and after Mass sent someone to invite me to receive if I wished to do so. At another time, Deacon Placious made a point of coming to our pew after Sunday Eucharist and giving an individual welcome and blessing to our boisterous developmentally challenged daughter, Mary Starr. When she is not with us, people ask about her. These instances, though not central to worship, and there are many others, make me realize that the parishioners and the pastors are interested in me and my concerns.
I can enjoy kneeling in prayer before and after Mass with people who share each others goals. The prayer line names further connect me with the parish: we can pray for them as we receive them and we can lift them up in prayer to God during the liturgy. I can even extend this Holy Mass time by coming to Wednesday adoration and occasionally attending Divine Mercy Hour, or pray the rosary, which we share in before week day Mass. All these devotions are centered on the Holy Eucharist. I can also delight in the beautiful music offered by our cantors, contemporary group, bell ensemble, and choir. As a retired music teacher, I can affirm that our choir is truly one of the best in the diocese. The Resurrection Choir offers me a gentle and relaxed way to give back not only my gift of music, but also a way to thank God for souls who, with me, form part of the parish, part of the Body of Christ.
If you asked me this question years ago, I might not have had an answer other than my mom went to church every Sunday, so we went to church every Sunday. We made our first communion, first penance, and were confirmed because everyone else in my class at Holy Cross School did. I learned what all my friends did and called on God for help with tests, but didn’t really internalize what it meant to be a child of God.
Since having my own children, I have tried to really educate myself about my Catholic faith and examine why I believe what I believe. I’ve prayed, asked questions, read books, and spoken to converts about why they chose to be a Catholic (as I was baptized as a child and just did what my mom did.) In one book that I read, the author spoke about the importance of gratitude, and that gratitude should be directed to God who supplies our every need. I hadn’t given it much thought, but it really struck me and the more I thanked God, the more I noticed and recognized all his blessings, including the Eucharist.
The fact that Jesus becomes a part of me every weekend through the Eucharist is humbling and empowering. I am humbled by the incredible sacrifice He made for me and am empowered by Him to try to be the best servant I can be, to use the gifts (money and talents) that only He can provide for the betterment of my family and community.
I am grateful that the Word of God is shared at the Eucharistic Celebration that we call Mass. I am reminded what I need to do in order to receive eternal life. I’ve heard some people say that Mass is the same every week. But when I really started listening with my heart and mind, I discovered that every week has a specific message or theme. And the theme is carried throughout the readings and prayers spoken by the priest. The lyrics of the hymns also reinforce the theme. And even though we hear the readings repeated over a 3 year cycle, my eyes are opened by the Holy Spirit to some new message with each reading.
The other reason I choose to attend Mass is that Holy Cross is a second home to me, a supportive community filled with warm, generous, caring people. Even if I attend by myself, I never feel alone.
Being a Roman Catholic is, to me, an ongoing process. My prayer life grows, my understanding increases as I educate myself, and hopefully the way I live my life becomes an example to those I meet and an invitation to share in the joy that is my relationship with God and the hope of eternal life. Without attendance at Mass weekly, I feel it’s easy for me to forget my way and lean on earthly influences. I freely choose to accept God’s invitation and strive to live a life that is pleasing to Him. Every time I make these choices, I am never disappointed with God’s response and my life is joyful, calm, and fruitful.
Make a Commitment to Weekly Mass Attendance
Catholics are very aware of the problems in the world—economic issues, terrorism, and attacks on life at all stages. We are also very aware of the one source of peace: Christ.
Why Attend Weekly Mass
- It’s the central, necessary activity of Christian worship.
- If you want to spend eternity with Christ, you need to get to know him now.
- If you knew Jesus would be somewhere, wouldn’t you go see him?
- Life is complicated. Get directions that work—from the One who created life.
- In prayer after Communion, make one resolution about how you’ll live your life differently. Think back on the homily for ideas.
Would you like to share with other parishioners “Why Mass is Important.”
You can do this by just writing a little article and sending it to THWHC@aol.com.
Another great way would be if you would contact me to set up a time when you could come in and we could videotape you talking about Mass and your devotion to it. This would go on this page as well, along with the letters. Please help share why Catholics go to Mass.
Why I Go to Church
The Importance of Mass: A Seminarian Perspective
Mass is boring . I don’t get anything out of it . Why do we have to go? . Isn’t praying enough? . It’s pretty cold out, how about we just wait until next week . I don’t go to church anymore because of all the scandals
At some point or another, I have heard each of these responses for why people don’t go to Mass. I would guess that many people have heard these and others like them. In fact, I may have even uttered one of these phrases when I was younger. It’s easy to come up with excuses why not to go to Mass. Of course, the key word in that last sentence is “easy”. Usually, doing the right thing is not the easy thing. As Catholics, we have a responsibility to go to Mass every week. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian faith; it needs to be at the center of our lives. Christ gave up his mortal life so that we would have eternal life. Every time we go to Mass, we remember that sacrifice; we remember that God loves us so much that he gave his life on the Cross. We go to Mass on Sunday because we celebrate the day that Jesus triumphed over sin and death forever.
I wish I could say that every time I go to Mass, I receive some wonderful spiritual insight or spiritual awakening, but that is not always the case. The point to remember is that even if we don’t always have that feeling, we always receive Jesus at Mass, and there is no gift greater than that. Also, when we go to Mass, we give of ourselves.
Every Mass is different because of what we bring to it. All of our prayers, our hopes, our struggles, our celebrations, our tears, are placed on the Altar with the gifts of bread and wine, and are offered up to God. Something is missing every time someone decides not to go to Mass. You are missed. Your prayers are missed. The wonderful thing about the Mass is that the people play just as important a role as the priest and deacon. The Church needs everyone to share of themselves and add to the community; our family of faith.
It is true that the church has some dark stains, both in its present and in its past. Anything that is run by human beings will have a dark side to it. But it’s important to remember that the Church will never be any more or any less that the way it began on Good Friday: God hanging between two sinners; one who repents and one who doesn’t. We are all sinners. There have been some terrible things done in the name of religion over the centuries, it is true. But we must never forget all the good that has come from the Church over that same time period, which far outweighs the evil done. The more we live out our faith, both in Mass and out, the more we are able to bring that good into the world and bring the light of Christ to all people.
Michael Merritt, Seminarian
The question posed in the church’s bulletin “why I go to church” was a good reason to make me reflect and to write the following thought. Gratitude is my reason for going go to church. Sometimes it has been love. Gratitude is a very good way to show appreciation for the good received. Love is the joy of being with the loved ones. Going to church, I am sure makes God appreciated because He is Love, and would like to stay with His flock.
It does not matter if I am focused or distracted, He always appreciates my presence. Simple or opulent ceremonies are only for the people who are susceptible to weakness. By the same token I should stop thinking that Mass is boring, and never find excuses to only justify my own questionable behaviors. Distractions make Mass boring. It applies also to the priest. We could be bored, but not by Mass, because Mass is a gift of God.
The reason I am so bold in affirming the above is the feelings I experience as a father and those I experienced as a son. As a father I am happy and appreciative when my children and grandchildren come to visit me. They might be distracted by the problems of their life or they might want to talk to me. Either way, I feel the joy of their presence protected under the roof of my house. When they ask, I know what is and what is not good for them. I want them happy and I try to do what I can according to their needs, their fairness and their sincerity.
As a son, I remember my mother's desire to capture in her heart, the moment of my visits knowing that I soon had to leave her. What a love! Mine it was gratitude, and sometimes love. Love could be found in each corner, often with mothers, and always with God. Mass is where love is because it leads to Redemption.
I have advised people who wanted to take lessons to become Catholics how important it is to get to Mass as often as possible. I would tell them that the eucharistic liturgy offers a wealth of what the Christian life is all about. The Eucharist nourishes us, touching upon our deepest longings and hopes. As if by osmosis, one gradually takes in not only the elements of bread and wine, but also the Word, the all-encompassing prayers of the Mass, the presence of the congregation, the highs and lows of the story of redemption, as these are given in the eucharistic prayer. And through it all and in it all, Jesus is truly present. Over time it becomes a part of us because we become aware that something in us lives in relationship to what is taking place in the Church. It is kind of like recognizing the place where we belong, truly belong—like coming home, our true home.
Fr James Stephen Behrens, OCSO, LIVING FAITH DAILY CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS, APRIL, MAY, JUNE 2015
When I awake I think of words from Psalm 122.“I rejoiced when I heard them say, we will go up to the house of the Lord. Because of my relatives and friends I will say; Peace be with you. Because of the house of the Lord Our God I will pray for your good.”
As I enter God’s house I’m immediately greeted by our Lord in the Tabernacle, welcoming me to join Him in His Eucharistic Banquet. I then pray and reflect on what I’m going to witness and give thanks for the many blessings received, especially those I’m not even aware of.
Starting with the penitential prayers reminds me I’m a sinner and I need to ask for forgiveness, as I have grieved Our Lord. We now go into the Liturgy of the Word, with the Readings, Psalm, and Gospel. I’m able to hear God speak to me through Holy Scripture. John 6:53 reads, “Jesus says: ‘Amen amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you.”’ Now we enter into the Liturgy of the Eucharist. As the celebrant starts to pray the Eucharistic prayers, he momentarily becomes Persona Christe, praying the words of Jesus in consecrating the bread and wine. What a privilege and blessing to witness these words changing bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus.
I can receive no greater invitation than to come and receive Jesus, letting Him abide within me. Jesus tells us in John 15:5, He is the vine and I am the branch. Unless I remain in Him and He in me, I can do nothing. I know from where I came. Through His continued invitations, His perseverance, and grace, I now freely and joyfully look forward “To Go to Church.”
Growing up in a Catholic home and attending Catholic schools made the reason for me to attend Mass fairly simple. There was no choice nor was there any question as to why. The rule was “go to Mass”.
However, as I matured a bit, especially after I was blessed in marriage to my wonderful wife and having been doubly blessed with children, I realized that I really do have my own reasons for attending Mass. Attending Mass is no longer an “obligation” but rather it is something I want to do, something that I need to do. It is more than just attending Mass; it is being a participant in the Mass. It is a special time during which I am able to join with my family, friends and other members of our faith community to worship, give praise, and give thanks to our God. Jesus said, “Again, [amen,] I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18: 19-20. When I think about this, I know that it is very important that we come together as a community to pray. As I listen to the Word of God through the readings, the Gospel and the Homily, my faith is strengthened and reenergized. During the Eucharistic Prayer, Jesus calls us to His last supper and to “do this in memory of me”. Not only did Jesus die for my sins, but He offers me salvation, eternal life, when I receive the Holy Eucharist. Jesus tells us that “This is my body…this is my blood” Matthew 26:26-28, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life….” John 6:54. At Mass, we as a community are able to celebrate and receive this awesome gift that has been given for us.
I go into Mass with the knowledge that I am there to worship God, and to give Him thanks and praise for all that I am and all that I have. When all is said and done, I am actually receiving more than what I am giving. In the song of St. Francis it says, “For it is in the giving that we receive”. This is so very true for me. As Peter said to Jesus on the mountain, “Lord it’s good for us to be here!” I walk away from Mass with a refreshed spirit ready to take on the challenges of this world a little easier knowing that Jesus is always with me. So why do I go to Mass? I guess that I can simply answer this question with a question; why would I NOT go to Mass and miss all of this?
My first reaction when we were asked to share our thoughts on that question was “We have to!” After all, it is a sin (and a mortal one at that) for a Catholic to knowingly choose to skip Mass. But, while that may have been my primary reason years ago, there is much more to it than that now.
I sometimes hear people say, “I don’t get anything out of Mass.” But as Rick Warren says so eloquently in The Purpose Driven Life, “It’s not about you!” If you believe that God created you, watches over you and loves you beyond our understanding, shouldn’t you want to spend time with Him at His house? He is only asking for about an hour a week. Does that seem like too much to expect?
For me it was not nearly enough. For a couple of years I decided to attend daily Mass for Lent. Then I thought, if I can make time for Him every day in Lent, why not all year long? It has been a very valuable experience. Not only do I have a set time every day to spend in prayer, but I hear a lot of Scripture that isn’t read on Sundays. It has really enriched my faith. I know that daily Mass isn’t possible for everyone, but if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend it.
Another way that helps to put things in perspective is to think about our existence. As Catholics, we believe that our soul is immortal. We live a relatively short time on this Earth, but our soul will go on for eternity. How we use this brief time goes a long way in determining where we will spend that next life. I want to spend it in the presence and the love of God. Don’t you?
The Mass is the core of my faith life. It celebrates and reinforces my connectedness to our God and Savior, and is my most perfect time of communicating, communing, and community with Him.
The celebration begins with the readings of Scripture and homily where God’s inspired Word is read and remembered, and made practical to me through the homilist’s words. Thereafter, it repeats and perfectly commemorates the sacrifice of Jesus, our Savior, placing us in spirit next to Our Blessed Mother at the foot of His Cross. In the ultimate moment of sacrifice, Jesus, broken then resurrected, comes, reincarnated to me, enfleshed within me.
In this celebration, I commune with Him as at no other time, virtually face to face, thereby communicating and dialoguing with Him, as I pour out my thoughts, hopes, and prayers and He responds with His love and guidance.
Finally, this personal encounter is made more powerful and perfect in community with all those present, and ultimately with all who participate in this Holy Sacrifice wherever it is offered throughout the world.
Going to Mass is like coming home each day to me. I feel welcomed and happy to be there. I am so thankful He gets me there to discuss things with Him. It is the most peaceful time of my day, and I cherish this time to thank Him for so many blessings, to pray for my family and friends, everyone’s problems, and to get His guidance to go on. If I am not there, who would pray for all of those aborted babies and their families, the police force, firefighters, our military, natural disasters and the latest terrorist activity. I take Mass attendance very seriously, I learned that from 10 years with the good Sisters of St Joseph, and thank God for them and the impact they made on so many of our lives….I am so thankful for Holy Cross Church, and so many Mass times, I don’t see how anyone can miss Mass?
Saint Leonard of Port Maurice wrote:
“Holy Mass is the sum of Christianity, the soul of the faith in the center of the Catholic religion, the grand object of all her rites, ceremonies and sacraments. In a word, it is a summary of all that is grand and beautiful in the Church of God.”
Why not attend something so wonderful? I have nothing more to add. Why try to reinvent the wheel?
Going to daily Mass deepens my Faith. It gives me an opportunity to spend time with God, to hear His Word, and to receive Him in the Eucharist.
God has truly blessed me and I need to thank Him every day...for His Love for my health, my husband and our family. He has always been there for us, in the happiest times and in the difficult times, and we have seen Him in others.
At Mass I ask for His help to be the Christian, the wife, the mother, He made me to be. Being present at Mass also makes me aware of the needs of our community and of the whole Church.
Finally, it's the best way I know to start the day.
I go to Mass because without it I would be nothing. At Mass, I am reminded why I choose the Catholic faith as the foundation for my life. While present, I see Christ on the cross and know that he took on the sins of the entire world and died for me. I hope that my small presence at Mass can offer some comfort to my Jesus on the cross. I witness the miracle of bread and wine turned into Christ and I experience my own transformation as I receive Jesus’ body and blood. As Blessed Mother Teresa said, “When we look at the Cross, we know how much He loved us. When we look at the tabernacle, we know how much He loves us now.”
I feel so blessed by my church family. My husband, kids, and I experienced a significant amount of grief and loss over the past year. I don’t even know the names of many of my fellow parishioners, but I know their faces. I know their smiles. When I come to Mass, I feel enveloped by the love we share for each other as members of the body of Christ and I am consoled by their presence. I see my children light up at the sight of the Parish priests and I feel fortunate that they will have memories of these good and holy men living out their lives in service to God. I come to Mass in hopes that I too can offer consolation to others through a shared smile or kind word.
Even when I am tired, even when I have a million things in this life distracting me, Mass reminds me that I am in this world but not of it. I came from Christ and that is where I hope to one day return and everything else, absolutely EVERYTHING ELSE, is just details. I show up to Mass as I am, full of sin, but knowing he will accept my imperfect love and that it is a consolation to his heart. He embraces me, feeds my spirit, re-centers me, and nourishes me through his word and his people. I am thankful to my heavenly father and attending Mass is the most personal way for this little child to show her love.
When I was diagnosed with ALS in Florida I came home for a visit. My Mother had one request for me. She wanted me to go to Mass with her and my father on Sunday and
receive the Sacrament for the Sick after Mass. Father Wheeland administered the Sacrament. After all that I really felt good about myself. I went back to Florida and
went to church every Sunday. Then I was feeling guilty after receiving news I had one to two years to live. After all, I had not gone to church in over thirty years. I moved back home
to be with family. I became active at Holy Cross. The guilty feeling went away. I decided that God gave me this challenge to bring me back into the Catholic Church. I am so blessed
to belong to such a wonderful Parish. Father Eisemann calls me the Miracle Child. For those parishioners who left the parish, don’t wait for a tragedy to strike.
Joe Marinucci, Eucharistic Minister.
Mass is important to me because it gives me a peace of mind for the week. I am always so busy and on the run with school and work that it always seems I don’t get some spare time for myself to just think. Going to Mass each week allows me to do that. I have gone to Catholic schools all my life and Mass was always about learning for me. As an adult, going to Mass is something I can do for myself because I want to. I can sit, listen, and leave any troubles at the door. Sometimes I can find a solution to my troubles during Mass. Going to Mass is something I can do for myself during a busy week.
I go to Mass because I love Jesus and God. I go so that I can receive Jesus’ body and blood and because I want to say thank you to Jesus for dying on the cross for us. That is why I go to Mass.
by London Gutekunst, Age 8
My life is busy and full of demands. Attending Sunday Mass is something I do for myself. I find peace in the quiet times of my prayer. I find joy as I watch the children go to and from Children’s Liturgy. I find hope as I witness the miracle at the altar. I find love and kindness from the great people in our parish. I leave Mass refreshed and re-energized to share those gifts throughout
by Tracy O'Brien