All of us have surely noticed the jump in Mass attendance at Christmas. Many Catholics who don’t attend Sunday Mass regularly, make it a point to attend either a vigil Mass on Christmas Eve or a Mass on Christmas Day, in an attempt to add a spiritual dimension to their celebration of Christmas (and rightfully so!).
“Think about that for a second. Someone (many ‘someones’ in fact) who rarely enters your church will be visiting to celebrate Christmas. These folks are infrequent Churchgoers – but they don’t need to be! Ask yourself: What are you doing differently this year to make a guest at your parish consider visiting more frequently?”
To be sure, certain things objectively occur at any Mass, irrespective of the numbers present or their active participation. But if we’re smart about things, we can use Christmas as an opportunity to persuade people who don’t go to Church too often to return the following Sunday, or at the very least, more regularly. An analogy I once heard was how there are two ways to serve a piece of meat. We can either take the meat out of the freezer and serve it rock-hard on a plate, or we can throw it on a grill, season it and then turn that same piece of meat into a perfectly cooked mouth-watering steak. It is the same piece of meat, but how we present it can sometimes make all the difference.
This post is part of a two-part series addressing parish hospitality and the liturgy itself at Christmas, two broad categories which, if addressed well in your parishes, could help open your guest’s eyes to what they are missing out, both on the faith and the fellowship fronts at your Church. Obviously, things would need to be tailored to your specific parish circumstances. This also isn’t an exhaustive list of ideas, but I challenge you not to feel afraid of doing things differently. Keep in mind that this Christmas could be the only time till next Christmas that some people may visit your church, if ever again at all...