Each year I express my frustration with Catholics that attend Mass on one of the two major Catholic feasts – Christmas and Easter. This year was no different. The 4:00 p.m. Mass at our local parish was jammed to the rafters. Over 1000 adults and children attended the Mass. Many of these attendees had not been back at church since last Easter and some had not been at Mass since Christmas of last year. Not only did we use the gymnasium but the main church had at least 90 people standing along the sides of the church and another 50 to 100 in the entrance to the church. To make matters worse, many of the people attending the Mass “saved” seats for their friends and family so the overall seating was somewhat chaotic. The ushers tried to cope with an almost impossible situation.
In the past, I have proposed issuing seating “passes” to the regular parishioners. These passes would be shown at the door allowing the person attending Mass to be seated. Not a good idea. The seating would be hopelessly delayed and the “Creasters” or occasional Catholics would most probably take offense. I am also sure that our pastor would be reluctant to do something like this as it would be a departure from the regular seating at Mass and it might look as if we were not the “all-forgiving” parish church that we said we were.
Most churches add seating in the hallways of the school, if it is adjacent to the church, along with speakers to make the experience of those not able to sit in the church more accommodating. I have been caught up in this arrangement and it is not something to look forward to. Compound this clerical mess with the fact that many of these “occasional Catholics” do not have the courtesy to stay for the entire Mass; that is, they leave in droves after Holy Communion.
So the thought occurred to me. Why not have a special Mass dedicated to these folks and ask the regular parishioners to not attend? This Mass would be dedicated to the “Creasters” or those folks that attend Mass on either Easter or Christmas or occasionally both feasts. Makes sense to me. If they have to stand for the entire Mass or sit on a chair in a hallway, this would just be part of their Christmas experience.
As you can tell, my frustration at this time of the year boils over. My family and I look forward to Christmas Mass. On the other 50+ Sundays or feasts of the year, I have no problem with the seating in the church. But on the biggest feast of the church, I am not happy about standing behind a plant or in a school hallway. I am sure that if this type of proposal were to be instituted, I would be accused of unfair treatment to our fellow Catholic brethren or creating some form of discrimination but it sure is appealing – a Mass for the occasional Catholic.