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Thank God for the daily Mass-goers

Those who attend Mass through the week are an invaluable part of the life of a parish — why not join them? By Fr Michael Kane

For most people, Mass is a once-a-week celebration. Attending to our Sunday obligation is all the Church requires of us.

Many people would love to come to church more often, but work and family commitments prevent this.

There is, however, a small band of people in every parish who are able to attend Holy Mass through the week.

 

Daily Mass

Daily communicants are usually retired parishioners, or those who are looking after small children during the day. Some attend as married couples, some are single and others are widowed.

This group usually follows particular conventions. They almost always sit in the same seats, and some even leave prayer books as a gentle ‘reserved sign’ on their pew. This group rarely changes.

They are the same faces who greet me, from the same pews, every morning when I step onto the altar.

In fact, when someone is missing it’s immediately noticeable (I hope this doesn’t give them a complex!).

 

Assisting the parish

They are also the people who are most likely to put themselves forward to help in the parish in practical ways. When chairs have to be moved after Mass, or crib figures assembled, or kneelers to be mended, these are the people I rely on most. They are always on-hand to help whenever required.

Aside from their practical gifts, they also offer real, concrete spiritual support in times of need. For example, daily communicants attend all the Requiem Masses in our church, often reading when family members are unable.

Their presence is especially valued at funerals with few mourners. The daily Mass people lead the singing and support the grieving family with their presence and their prayers.

 

Helping the lapsed

Their confident responses can be assuring for those who have lapsed in their Faith and who struggle through the Catholic liturgy.

Daily communicants help them to navigate the all-important questions of when to stand, kneel or sit. In these small ways they are a gentle guide and consolation at a time of grief.

These good people, steeped in a discipline of personal prayer, are a tremendous spiritual support to so many in the family of our parish. They have a ministry all of their own.

 

Aiding the bereaved

They are also the people who are most likely to tell me of the arrival of a new grandchild, or the illness of a fellow parishioner, or the death of a neighbour.

They are the first to ask the prayers of the priest whenever life brings change or challenge. And whenever Father announces a Holy Hour or Marian devotions or a new novena, they are already signed-up and first at the door.

Even as I write these words I can picture their faces in the same familiar seats. In my eight years at St Augustine’s I have come to know many of their stories so well.

I know their families, their struggles and worries. I have celebrated with them and mourned with them as a family of believers. We live each day together, united in the Mass.

 

Friendship

If it is the case that I know them, daily communicants also get to know their priest more than most. They pick up our eccentricities and imperfections, and priests have many!

No doubt they notice with a sixth sense those days when we are tired or irritated or rushing around.

This is precisely what happens when you live alongside the same people day after day, and it’s a great grace in the life of a priest.

Our daily Mass goers are an amazing group of people.

 

Witness to prayer and Christianity

Sometimes we can forget what a gift they are to our parishes. No matter the weather, no matter the schedule changes imposed upon them, these men and women are ever-faithful in coming to church to join together in praying the Mass for themselves and for the needs of so many others in our communities. They are a tremendous witness to prayer and an example of good Christian living.

As the world goes about its business each day this small faithful group gather to be nourished and strengthened by the Eucharist. Most could not imagine starting the day without it. The Mass is certainly the source and summit of their Christian lives.

 

Acknowledging contributions

Perhaps daily communicants underestimate their contribution to parish life. So sometimes it is important to acknowledge it. We priests offer a debt of gratitude to all our daily Mass-goers. We thank them for their faithfulness, their sacrifices and their daily support.

For any of our readers who might be free some morning this week, you might think about joining their number for daily Mass.

 

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