Hail, Mary, full of grace - the Lord is With Thee.
Holy Mother, pray for my parish and my priests, especially today. And pray that I may keep my temper in check.
I just came back from my parish's celebration of Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. You remember the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, yes? A feast day of Mother Church honoring the belief we hold that the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ Jesus and of us all, was conceived in the womb of St. Anne without sin, right? A holy day of obligation as a matter of fact . . .
I would not have been able to deduce that last point by the pitiful attendance at this morning's Mass at 9:00 a.m., which happened to be the only Mass offered today for Our Lady. Where was everyone? I can understand when a special Mass is said on a day like Labor Day and people do not show up because they may be away for the holiday weekend, but our faith - the one that sustains us and gives us strength - requires a relatively small sacrifice of giving up our personal time and making our way to church for the celebration of the Eucharist. Sundays and a handful of holy days of obligations - how hard is that?
And considering that January 1st, the Solemnity of Mary, or August 15th, the Assumption of the BVM, have been "abrogated" dare it fall on a Saturday or a Monday - by decree of the US Bishops - the least someone could do is show up on December 8th.
I issue a challenge to priests, especially those in the dioceses of California, where it seems we become increasingly Catholics of convenience more each day - if your pews are not full on a holy day of obligation, like today, THEN SAY SOMETHING to your flock. Be bold enough to say from the pulpit that it was not well-attended and as a spiritual leader concerned with the souls of your parishioners, they need to follow the precepts of the Church. Sure, you might piss someone off - just as Jesus did when He got tired of moneylenders and dove vendors polluting His Father's house - but no one said the job was going to be easy, and when you consider, good Father, what is at stake, then the discomfort of someone in the pew being reminded of their obligations as Catholics should not deter you.
Will that be done? Probably not . . .
Update: Please read Fr. Martin Fox's celebration of the Mass in honor of Our Lady. Beautiful! Perhaps someone would think, why bother if hardly anyone shows up - ah, but I am willing to wager that if it were THAT beautiful, and people knew it would be so, they would come . . .