Saturday, March 22, 2008

Why I Won't Be at Easter Mass

On the eve of one of the holiest days in Catholicism, I am feeling more than a bit of Catholic guilt. You see, we will not be going to church on Easter Sunday. And, we don't go to church on Christmas. We opt out of two of the most holy, joyous days of the year. The Christers (who only show up to church on Christmas and Easter, and then act as if they own the place) finally did us in.

We tried to go to family mass for Christmas when the girls were two. They put on their matching plaid Christmas dresses and we headed out. The girls were so excited. When we arrived at the church, about 20 minutes before mass started, we couldn't find a place to sit. It wasn't that the pews were filled with people -- rather the pews were filled with coats. A few people from a group arrived early and saved the entire pew (or pews). We walked up and down the church looking for seats. Some people merely ignored us. Others were rude to the girls. Some told us if we wanted seats we should have gotten there earlier. It was a charming display of Christmas spirit. Instead of going to mass, we went to my sister-in-laws for dinner. We were about an 90 minutes early, but no one was rude to us.

I haven't gone to Easter mass in years. The twice-a-year people who attend this mass tend to be more obnoxious than those at Christmas mass. I try to avoid ending the Easter season with a desire to hit people by attending Easter vigil mass. I always enjoy Easter vigil mass, but this year I just didn't feel like attending. It's been a long, tiring week and I'm not feeling well. I just feel like I'd be a hazard on the roads if I drove when I'm this tired. Yet, I'm struggling with the feeling that it's an obligation and I should be there.

I know it's not just our parish that struggles with the Christers. I hear similar holiday horror stories from friends and family -- no matter what their faith.

So, now we have our own Christmas and Easter traditions, which revolve around friends and family. We celebrate Christmas as Jesus' birthday. We haven't really discussed Easter as a religious holiday yet. Death and resurrection are pretty deep topics for four-year-olds.

Next week we'll go back to mass and be grateful for "regular" Sundays again. Until then, Happy Easter to everyone.


Julie K said...

We call them C&Es (Christmas and Easter) attenders. We haven't run into the rudeness, but the pews are full (when the church is nearly empty throughout the rest of the year). My husband is an usher when we attend and was the only usher to show for the 6:30am service this morning (good thing he went... though he said it wasn't that full... I expect the C&Es slept in for the regular 9am service). We also are developing an alternative holiday tradition... my son has the uncanny timing of getting sick at the holidays. He was throwing up yesterday afternoon, so I told my husband last night to go to church without us (I wasn't chancing having him 'spew in the pew' as it were). We've been in an emergency room on July 4th when he needed stitches in his forhead after a fall, an ER visit on Jan 1st with croup when he was two (new deductible, thank you very much)... doctor's visit Dec 24th a couple of years ago for dual ear infections. The bummer today was that I wouldn't let him eat any of his Easter candy (though I snuck a few without him looking).

Anonymous said...

I'm not Catholic but I used to go to a Baptist church when I was in high school. I loved it there. They were all so friendly. I even took my grandmother to church one Sunday and she loved it. Everyone greeted and welcomed her as they always do with everyone.

Then one Sunday my mother went with me and was completely ignored by everyone in the church. The pastor and his wife didn't even say a word. I never went back!!