I was thinking about a few things regarding the celebration of Mass. Generally speaking, one of the major times that anyone from the parish sees the priest(s) of a parish is usually at the Sunday (or Saturday evening) Mass. The same is true about the priest seeing the vast majority of his parishioners. It is usually at the same Sunday liturgy.
What happens when people don’t go to Mass weekly? Besides the missed opportunity for spiritual growth, of hearing the Word of God preached, of being fed by the Holy Eucharist, etc., the people do not get to see their priest and the priest misses out on getting to know his parishioners better.
There is a definite communal dimension to our faith. One of the titles for the Church is the Body of Christ of which we are all members as baptized Christians. We are not really meant to be rugged individuals doing our own thing but rather a community of believers sharing our common faith in Jesus Christ. We are a community of believers called the “Church.” While the term church may refer to a building, it is much more than that. It is the people of God joined together with Christ as our Head. Being part of this community is essential.
In fact, even the Trinity that we worship is a community of persons in relationship—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
So when people tell you that they can “pray alone without a church” remind them that they are meant to be part of something much bigger than themselves. Jesus didn’t mean for us to go it alone. He established the Church for us. We are called to be a part of it. The priest is meant to be there for his people and the people are supposed to support their priest(s).
I ask you to be my feet and arms and extend an invitation to others to come to Mass. And give them a copy of what I wrote. It can’t hurt.
Fr. Ed NamiotkaPastor