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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
February 4, 2007
Why Do Catholics Go to Mass?

    Catholics have attended Mass since the beginning of Christendom.  The ritual of the Liturgy has changed over the years adapting to the culture and times.  This includes the language used, the type of music that is sung and the degree of participation of the laity.  Nonetheless, the Eucharist has been a real part of our Catholic faith since the time of Christ.

    Every year the question of the importance of attendance at Mass arises.  This usually revolves around, though not limited to,  the issue of having to “force” children to come to Church if they are going to receive the Sacraments of Holy Eucharist, i.e., 1st Communion or the sacrament of Confirmation.  There are also many adults who wonder why they are being asked to attend Mass if they are reading the Scriptures at home and are leading good Christian lives.  At times, the parents themselves do not see the point of having to attend Mass simply to receive a Sacrament.  This is a valid question that needs to be addressed.

    One point that needs clarification is that not all Christian Churches believe the same things.  We all have some points in common such as the very important fact that Jesus is the person who has saved us through his life, death and Resurrection.  And of course, some churches have more in common than others.  The Episcopalians and Lutherans, e.g., have much more in common with the Catholics than many others denominations.  There are some Christian churches that have almost nothing in common with Catholics, save our basic belief that Jesus is our head.

    A second point is that the idea of coming or not coming to Mass is not associated with a judgment of sorts.  There are many people who do not attend Mass who are very kind and charitable and indeed take the teachings of Jesus to heart.  On the other hand, there are many people who attend weekend Liturgy who do seem to act out of a Christian philosophy.  There are many good Baptists, Lutherans, Jews, Buddhists etc.  There is no debate on this issue.  What is the deal with having to come to Mass then, you may be asking?

    Catholics go to Mass because our entire belief system revolves around the Eucharist.  The Mass is at the core of our Faith.  It is in and through the Mass that we meet the living Christ.  It is through the Mass that we are reminded of his teachings.  It is through the Mass that we have the opportunity to worship and offer ourselves, body and soul to God.  It is through the Mass that we are nourished through his Body and Blood.  It is also through the Mass that we have the opportunity to come together with our brothers and sisters in our Faith Community.  Together we are strengthened and encouraged to continue living our faith.

    It goes without saying that not everyone believes what we believe.  If there are people who were initially baptized Catholic but have come to a point where they do no longer believe what Catholics believe with respect to the Mass then these people need to step back and seriously consider what they wish to do?  We are not Catholics simply because we were brought to Baptism as infants.  We are Catholic because we believe what Catholics believe especially with respect to the Eucharist.  In short, we go to Mass because we believe what happens is real and true.  
                            Lorette P. Nault