That’s a great question and I’d love to know the answer. I know I’d have the tendency to sleep in, veg out and maybe play with the dog. I’m sure parents spend more time with their kids (I hope) and maybe they teach them a bit about what it means to be a human person of integrity.

Paul Snatchko took up this question the other day on Patheos and had some insightful things to say including this panacea for the problem:

But, for the Church to thrive everywhere in coming years, a case should be made to Catholics who have stopped practicing their faith. Regular Mass-goers need tell their family members and friends about the power of prayer and the sacraments. Church leaders need to regain the credibility that has been lost.

We must let the Holy Spirit work through us — to be, as one homilist said, “fishers of men, not keepers of the aquarium.”

We must show the world that Sundays can be about more than sleeping in.

I would agree. However, I would also say that the performance of ritual might also play a role here. Do we give care to the mass? Are our lectors story-tellers who make the word come alive (Including our Gospel-readers, priests and deacons…)? Do we really offer something of ourselves at the offertory (maybe taking 10% of our collections each week for a particular cause and then also committing 10% of our time to it as a community)? Do we stand together as one body after communion–not just adoring the Eucharist individually but showing our collective belief in Jesus together?

Are our homilies interesting and engaging as well as theologically sound, revealing timeless wisdom? Do we give our feedback to our priests and deacons about how they are and are not speaking to our experience?

If we can’t think about how we are giving people the best experience for the one hour a week that they might think about interacting with us–then we shouldn’t have any expectations about the other 2/3 showing up at all and perhaps we shouldn’t have expectations about the 1/3 that presently comes by staying for a bit longer to get more involved.

0 thoughts on “What do the 2/3 of people who don’t go to mass do on Sunday?”
  1. I don’t want to shock any of your readers, but I often go walking on a Sunday morning. I listen to the birds sing, and the sounds of running water in streams; I notice the clouds in the sky, the changes in the seasons, the variety of trees, the way the sunshine falls on leaves. And I speak to God out there.

    1. Nice stuff here, Margaret. Thanks for sharing that experience with us.

      Some serious questions: Do you ever engage in these kinds of experiences with others? And if not, why not? And would you think that they would engender more spiritual insights for you?

  2. Sometimes I do walk with others, -sometimes on organised club trips, or with friends- but it depends who else has time to walk then. I walked the Camino – 1600km or so- mostly alone to start with but more with others later on. I quite like ‘alone’ to think and notice and appreciate the environment- for me that ‘noticing’ is a ‘spiritual experience’. But it was also good to share the experience- the joys, laughter and hardships- of the Camino with others. On my ordinary Sunday walks I tend to prefer the quiet.

  3. My family may or may not qualify as Catholic, depending on your perspective. I was born into a non-practising family (no mass, even on holy days) but was nonetheless baptized and sent to a Catholic school (albeit for largely secular reasons). My wife self-identifies as Catholic but was never baptized and doesn’t attend the mass.

    The better part of my weekend is spent catching up on domestic tasks we don’t have time for during the week – laundry, shopping, baking and so forth. Four children also take up a lot of energy; most weekends we visit their cousin, take a trip to a playground (and maybe a library) and the three boys usually do the shopping with me.

    I’m unsure how things might change in the near future. The eldest will be starting at St. Joe’s in the fall (while his twin moves into the school age program at Cantalician). We’re not conspicuously religious, but we’re not entirely bereft either; so he does exhibit curiosity on the subject, knows not to blaspheme and has a habit of quoting scriptural verses he’s heard (how many four year olds admonish their pets with Proverbs 25:16?)

    With the more structured and consistent exposure at school, I expect he will yearn for more active participation, which will lead to the family becoming more active as well. (My wife has already expressed some interest on her part in becoming involved in the parish, but our discussions thus far have been fairly shallow.)

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