Bishop Salvatore Matano’s homily, delivered at his installation Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral on Friday, January 3, 2014.
Tags: Bishop Matano, Orthodoxy at Work
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Without diminishing any other part of what Bishop Matano said, to me the most important part begins just before minute 23 and continues for about the next 3 minutes, when he truthfully, explicitly and lovingly reminds all Catholics that our obligation to Mass attendance is a privileged invitation from Christ Himself and that to ignore His invitation is a very grave matter. Moreover, any priest present who doesn’t know how to preach on this matter from the pulpit in his own parish just found out how to do it! And that can only help the faithful in the pew to find similar words for family and friends. Wouldn’t this text from Bishop Matano’s homily make a beautiful greeting card invitation to “come home?” Deo Gratias!
While I agree with your statement, if a priest proclaims from the pulpit that Catholics should attend weekly Mass, who is he preaching to? I know the message is valuable but he would be preaching to the chior. Let’s face it, those that beleive weekly Mass attendance is of importance are already in the pews (with the exceptions of Christmas and Easter of course). So, the question is, how do we get the message to those that need it?
A priest in the pulpit is also preaching to parents of adult children who have left the Faith, to neighbors of people who don’t even know how to begin to return, to employers or employees of people who see no connection between their work and the Faith they used to have, to friends of people in complex relationships difficult to reconcile, etc. etc. A priest from the pulpit can, by his own words, give words to others, to those who have the best opportunity to evangelize. Evangelizing the evangelizers begins from the pulpit. Bishop Matano had a great TV pulpit last Friday, and he took full advantage of it. Why shouldn’t pastors do the same? And his words weren’t of condemnation, but of invitation.
If we say to ourselves, “Oh, I can’t raise that subject with so-and-so. They would be hurt/angry/insulted” then we never will. Here’s an opener: “Do you ever miss the Catholic Church?” or how about to someone with a problem: “You don’t have to be Catholic to visit Jesus in the Tabernacle and talk this problem over with Him.” People who won’t go to Mass will sometimes visit the Church (if it is open….but that is another problem, for a different post.)
Then perhaps the message should be more of “invite the people you know to return” than “you need to attend Mass”. I don’t disagree with anything you said. I just think the message needs to be phrased in a way that those dedicated parishioners understand what’s being asked of them. If I heard a homily where the primary message is “It’s important to attend Mass every week”, then I’ll tune out since I’m there every week. The message is not for me. However, if the message from the pulpit is that we, as the dedicated parishioners, should be spreading the message that weekly Mass attendance is important with suggestions on how to do so, THAT’S a different message entirely. The second message is not what I took away from Bishop Matano’s remarks on the subject.
OK, sydwynd,I now understand how you heard Bishop Matano’s words. And probably many people had a variety of takeaways. For me, I heard that it isn’t so much about obligation (it is obligatory, obviously) but of the magnitude of invitation from Christ Himself that any Catholic refuses when they decide not to attend Mass, and how fundamental that is to saying ‘no’ to so much else, to which Catholics should be saying ‘yes’. And since a strong point made was that he isn’t the only Catholic in the Diocese of Rochester, I heard it as a point for us to dwell on — and dwell in — for the sake of others. So I just didn’t hear it as a reminder of “the rules.” But I understand that you and maybe others heard it as more of a “thou shalt.” Thanks for sharing.
A). A priest does not live in the vestry where the only time he comes out is to say Mass and give a homily. That is, a priest reminded of our duties by the bishop will likely carry that reminder to the laypeople as he goes about his very busy week full of social interaction both with regular churchgoers and lackadaisical ones.
B). The people in the pews likely know another Catholic who has been poor in his attendance, and a well-worded homily about the obligation might just give them the fortitude to reach out and encourage others.
The bishop spoke well and we shouldn’t darken it with gratuitous caviling.
The point is well-taken about mass attendance. However, *I think there should be an up to date posting on-line regarding parishes in the Diocese of Rochester and their current mass schedules, holiday mass schedules, and closings for any reason, for parishioners to consult for options on the weekend. -There are times when a parishioner needs to attend another church for mass due to work schedule, family commitments, and unplanned circumstances in daily life. (Ex. I counted on going to the 7:30 P.M. mass at Our Lady of Victory Church on Sunday due to circumstances that arose. When I entered the parking lot for 7:30 P.M. mass, it was obvious there was no 7:30 P.M. mass. I did not get out of my car, but left for home-and then read the Sunday readings from my missal.
-How do people who have been away from the Catholic Church (or those who do not attend mass regularly), or people from out of the area, know where they can go for mass and at what time, when the last I knew, the Diocese of Rochester’s webpage of churches listed churches which had been closed down for some time, as well as inaccurate mass schedules?
The other point I would like to make is – many people have been turned off from coming to mass when all they hear in a homily in the parish they attend is a plea for more money. (A homily on stewardship is completely different). How will parishioners be edified if that plea for more money is the only homily they hear? I know this fact to be true because I have been a guest at a suburban parish where that subject is the main topic of the homily almost to the point of coercion, within and outside the Diocese of Rochester. It would not make me want to come back if I was a parishioner there. People need spiritual food – they need to be taught, inspired, and empowered. (The emphasis should be on God the Father, God the Son, Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit). That’s how you draw people to your parish and make them want to come back.
It’s possible to find a parish on Masstimes.org and then get to a view of their bulletin by clicking on “website” for the parish.
OLV ended the Sunday evening Mass some months ago. Their bulletin gave notice in advance but a note in the Catholic Courier or Democrat & Chronicle would have been nice.
I use http://www.SeekandFind.com to get the most up-to-date information on parish churches’ news and schedules. Most DoR churches use this service but a few like Transfiguration had resisted showing their bulletins; now they are shown. Once you get to the seekandfind website, you will find under the large empty white box a smaller blue box marked “change”. Click there to put in the city or zip code you want. When some large picture icons pop up, go to the middle one and click “Browse local churches” (not all Catholic) where you will see anywhere from 1 to dozens of churches listed. Not all will make georaphical sense. You can click on the church you want, download its latest bulletin and even some of its older bulletins.
BTW, regarding late night Sunday Masses, St. John Fisher has one of the latest but only when classes are in session. Call them for info.
Thank you so much Mary-Kathleen and Diane Harris for posting online sites where current mass offerings can be found. I will consulting these sites for available options when needed, and i will pass on these online sites to others.
I thank God that most homilies given in our parishes are of spiritual matter with a focus on God and what he wants for his people. There are also other avenues for a hearing a good homily like Fr. Michael Mayer’s podcasts. I am also edified by homilies I have read online and those I found in the back of my Liturgy of the Hours and the explanations I find in my missal. I am also edified by the spiritual food that so many of you share on this site on a regular basis. Thank you.