Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's time to put my ass in a pew again.

     This morning I try to motivate myself to get to church more often than I have been going.  I need church, but my record has been spotty of late.

     I've already shared with you that this was the busiest summer my family has ever seen (The Summer that never was ), but what I haven't shared with you is what has suffered, due in part, to this busy schedule, and it was our weekly attendance at mass (Hey Sister Wilson, should Mass be
capitalized in that sentence?).  It's a weak excuse, I'll say that right up front, so we've had some discussions of late on what we were going to do to correct it.  I'll start with why we think we need to, and work to our solution at the end.

     The beauty of marrying someone who wasn't raised with religion, is that you get an opportunity to see a faith through their eyes too.  Admittedly, although my parents raised me with a strict adherence to weekly mass attendance, in my college years, my record for attending was abysmal.  I suspect that our adult children are thus far following that model. My wife, however, was not raised in a church going household or with any organized religion.   As my wife and I considered getting married though, she agreed to go through the Catachumenate program and to become Catholic, like I professed to be.  It was odd, how
This resembles me in church as a kid
with virtually no interaction with religion, she as an aspiring wife and eventual mother, had an instinct telling her that this was of value both for her marriage and for child-rearing.  I took years more to come to this conclusion, and it started with her taking the classes.  She'd attend each week but inevitably come home with more questions that could be answered in an hour class, so she'd ask me.   This was the start in our relationship of my wife vastly overestimating my listening skills and my acumen on a variety of topics.  The result was that I had to study right along with her.   Then one day on my way to work, I ran across a particularly disrespectful neighborhood kid and I 
Dear God, please don't let me raise a kid like this
pondered on how people would raise a kid like that, but I had no experience with that, I did, however know how my parents raised us and being a fan of myself and my siblings, I decided to copy this model.  It started with weekly mass attendance. I think it's fair to say that with our two older children and prior to this year, our mass attendance was a solid B.  We'd miss one here or there, but those kids gained the benefit of weekly mass attendance, just like my siblings and I did.  Then came this summer. 

     Our favorite mass at our favorite church is the 9 am mass at St. Mary's in Canandaigua.  We live about a half an hour away, so A.I.S time for church is 8:30 am.    That comes pretty early when you come in or stay up past midnight on Saturday 
on a regular basis.  This weekend, for example, we went to bed at 3 am on Sunday morning, and slept well beyond our A.I.S. time.  When we do get up we talk about going to other masses, but don't know when they are, where they are etc.  A very lame excuse.  We missed so many this summer that we ended up creating a habit of not going.  Incidentally they say that it takes 21 days to either create or break a habit.  I'd roughly estimate that we've got about a 33% attendance rate for the summer to date, not an impressive score.  So knowing that we find value in it, and knowing our excuses for not attending, how are we making this course correction?

     We'll start with a firm commitment to attend mass on at least a weekly basis.  I say at least because I ran into a peer a few weeks ago who had downloaded an app for his Iphone that showed him where the nearest Catholic church was and the times of their masses.  He had been making some daily masses early in the am, and I was impressed with his commitment to improve himself in that manner.  I'd like to do the same, so I'll download the app too.  For home, we are going to make a chart of mass
My Mother's original archdiocese, what a shock to see.
times.  I'd guess that in my area the masses for Sunday obligation start somewhere around 4:00 pm on Saturday and finish around 7 pm on Sunday.  That's over a 24 hour period that it gives us to make sure that we attend.  We'll chart out each one, and with a quick glance at it, we can insure that we can plan to make mass.  Our youngest child, Nolan starts high school this year, and my wife and I have discussed making our goal not to miss mass during his high school years.  We think that making that firm commitment will not only help us, but help Nolan too with what promises to be some challenging years.  My mother used to say that God only asked for a single hour each week from us, as it related to mass, and looking around at all our blessings, that seems like so little to give back.  The rest of the plan is simply executing it until we habitually are going to mass each week again and then to repeat the process.  It truly is that simple, and to finish this missive on mass, I'll just say...... see you in church.



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