The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


posted by deacon greg kandra

Jeff Miller, the Curt Jester, notes the following:

Using just anecdotal evidence I wonder if today’s Holy Day of Obligation is the least attended. Year after year no matter what parish I might go to on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God there is but half the people there you would see on a Sunday or some other Holy Day of Obligation.

I guess sleeping in after partying all night is preferable to actually honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary on her feast. Yeah it’s gravely sinful to miss Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation without serious reason – and a hangover is not one of them. The idea that missing Mass is gravely sinful is certainly not something you hear much anymore since it is one of those things that went-out-with-Vatican-II-but-didn’t-really-go-out-with-Vatican-II.

The parish I went to today is usually so packed on Sundays and other Holy Days of Obligation that you have to park in satellite parking and they have a couple of dedicated vehicles that can carry 40 some people to the front entrance. Today though no problem parking with plenty of empty spaces near the main entrance. I would be curious if this is something my readers have observed.

Well, my parish was packed. We had a vigil mass last night at 6 pm that was about as full as our Saturday night masses. And our two masses today — 10 and 12 noon — were quite full, too. The noon, in fact, was almost capacity. We had five communion stations, and could have used more. Many of the people, I noticed, were not regular parishioners. (Maybe visitors from out-of-town?) FWIW: we didn’t cut any corners liturgically. We had a half a dozen altar servers, lots of singing, incense, and the noon mass was concelebrated with three priests. (The deacon, ahem, preached.)

How were things in your parish today?

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Fr. Austin Murphy

posted January 1, 2009 at 7:29 pm

I’m with you, Greg. 11:30AM I celebrated Mass at the parish where I am in residence, and we were full as well!

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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted January 1, 2009 at 7:38 pm

I wonder if scheduling has something to do with it. We scrapped our usual 8 am weekday mass, and moved the first mass of the day to 10. Dcn. G.

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Esther G.

posted January 1, 2009 at 8:19 pm

It is not a Holy Day of Obligation in Hawaii but our churches were packed. I posted about that too.

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St Edwards Blog

posted January 1, 2009 at 9:07 pm

I went at 10am this morning, the only mass we had today – although there was one at 4pm yesterday.It was very full, much more than I would have anticipated. We also had 5 communion stations and I was concerned about running out before my line was done.

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posted January 1, 2009 at 9:37 pm

I went to the anticpated Mass (5:15PM on Dec. 31). It was SRO by the time Mass started (about the same as a regular Saturday 5:00PM Mass).

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posted January 1, 2009 at 9:49 pm

We called it a Holy Day of OPPORTUNITY…didn’t help. There was a noticeable echo in the church at 9:00. Out here, the Rose Parade reigns. Too bad. BUT! We DID have THREE altar servers. Unusual for the “morning after”!

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Julie D.

posted January 1, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Our Vigil Mass at 6 p.m. was packed.

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Margaret Duffy

posted January 2, 2009 at 1:00 am

The 12:15 at St. Jean Baptiste in Manhattan had about the same number as at a Sunday Noon. And that’s a pretty respectable number. There were three stations for the Body and two for the Blood.There was also a poor soul who wandered in off the street and walked around the church wishing everyone a happy new year in a whisper. I doubt very much she had any idea of what else was going on.

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posted January 2, 2009 at 1:43 am

At Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Sterling Hts., Michigan, there was barely enough room to genuflect it was so packed. The homily urged us to imitate Mary and increase our devotion.

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posted January 2, 2009 at 2:15 am

I’d say our 9:30 was pretty full. It was a pretty Mass. There seemed to be more people today than were at Mass on Sunday for the 11:30. I don’t know what our Vigil mass looked like last night. I imagine since it was scheduled there was an anticipated turnout.

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posted January 2, 2009 at 4:43 am

It seemed that the Sunday following Christmas (Feast of the Holy Family) had a smaller attendance. Many do not feel it necessary to attend Mass twice in one week. January 1st attendance was good (but with fewer Masses). I wonder if Epiphany (Jan. 4) will be down.

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Deacon Alex Breviario

posted January 2, 2009 at 7:45 am

Dcn. Greg,There may be some truth to your thoughts that time is a major consideration…Our 5:00PM Vigil Mass was quite full as usual. The 10:00AM Mass was about half full, and the 12 noon Mass was full to capacity… We did have some problems with our boiler system due to the severe cold weather and the parishioners really sacrified at the Vigil and 10:00AM Masses… The focus of their prayer, besides Our Blessed Mother, was getting some heat… Before Mass started I informed our parishioners about the situation and I mentioned that while our new pastor was somewhat frugal with their money, this wasn’t one of the ways he was planning to save them money… Thankfully, by the noon Mass their prayers were working and I was able to preach the Gospel without my teeth chattering… Peace…

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Brian Flaherty

posted January 2, 2009 at 8:15 am

We had a mega storm on Dec. 31 so our 5pm mass was poorly attended. The only other mass we had was 9am on January 1. I think having an early mass on the first deters people – have it later and the people will come.

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posted January 2, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Clearly, too much eggnog!OR Carribean,skiing or Florida?OR, only God knows. Snow, yes,snow…did you say Stowe…?

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posted January 2, 2009 at 5:43 pm

What gives Deacon Greg? Our assistant pastor emphasised Sunday beforethat January 1st was NOT a Holy Day and so we didn’t attend.We live in the L.A. area

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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted January 2, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Mrpkguy:Makes no difference which diocese. In the United States, it is a Holy Day of Obligation. Your pastor screwed up. :-( Sorry. Dcn. G.

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posted January 2, 2009 at 11:17 pm

The drop over the last decades since Vatican II should be something easy to study. When was the last time you heard a sermon on the eternal fires of hell and on sin? When was the last time you heard a preist tell the flock that if they are in mortal sin they should not come up for communion? And yes, not going to mass as required places us in mortal sin where we would need to go to reconcilliation before the next time we approach the altar for the Eucharist. The state of mortal sin leaves us in danger of the temptations of Satan as we are appart from the graces of the sacraments. But today, most priests are more concerned about the number of butts in the seats than souls saved from hell or one would believe that to be the case by the sermons given. More is required than sitting there saying, “Lord, Lord.”

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posted January 3, 2009 at 12:11 am

I am a little late on this one, but I don’t know about the other Masses 3 on the 1st, two on the 31st, but I went to the 11:30 pm and it resembled a daily mass attendance. That having been said, it was one of the most beautiful masses I have ever attended.

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posted January 3, 2009 at 7:05 am

In the dioceses of the California province (including the Archdiocese of Los Angeles), the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (January 1) is not celebrated as a holy day of obligation. Dcn. Greg–The above is quoted from the web site of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted January 3, 2009 at 8:27 am

Scott… That’s weird. My “ordo” says it’s a Holy Day of Obligation in the United States.And it’s also listed that way by the USCCB on their website. Dcn. G.

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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted January 3, 2009 at 8:38 am

FWIW…I also found this link which alludes to Canon Law, and says that national conferences of bishops can make certain changes in days of obligation — but I wasn’t aware that California counted as a different country. :-) Heh. Go figure. Dcn. G.

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posted January 3, 2009 at 9:05 am

I wonder if that statement on the Archdiocesan web site meant January 1, 2008, not January 1, 2009, and it was never updated.At any rate, it is easy to see how people can be confused especially by the holy days that are sometimes obligation, sometimes not.Frankly, I think the USCCB made a mistake in creating this “monster.” It would have been better to keep all of certain holy days or drop certain ones. The in-between is the problem.

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posted January 3, 2009 at 9:53 am

Dcn. Greg –After a little research, I was able to find out that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Archdiocese of San Francisco (and their suffragan dioceses) grant a dispensation from the January 1 holy day of obligation. They do it each year as “one-time” dispensation and simply re-do it the following year so that they do not have to go to the USCCB for approval.This is the dispensation from the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s web site:PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING POINTS IN THIS REGARD:1. Archbishop Niederauer has determined that, in accord with the practice of neighboring dioceses, the obligation to attend Mass on January 1, 2009, the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God is dispensed.This is probably more information than you ever wanted…but it does explain the variance from the Ordo.

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posted January 3, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Thanks to you all for clariying ( at least to a small degree) the reason why Jan. 1st wasn’t a Holy Day here in California. I feel just a little bit better about missing mass that day, altho’ I could have gone anyway!

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