Saturday 24 February 2018

Irregular Mass goers and Communion

Dear Madam,

How wonderful to see the Churches full of people over Christmas, joyfully taking part in the ceremonies and greeting each other with friendship and happiness.

Yes, many of those present are not regular Mass goers and may have a great variety of reasons for attending.

Whatever their reason for making the effort to attend Mass, it must be good.

Thankfully 99% of priests I know welcome with open arms the returnees, being fully aware of Jesus' story of the prodigal son and the wonderful welcome which awaits all who return to Him. These priests love to stand at the altar and look down at a full church and see young and old, healthy and sick, regulars and not so regulars, new faces and old, all present to welcome the Christ child at Christmas.

The Jesus I know welcomes all, He does not judge you by how regular your attendance is, He asks us all to think before casting the first stone, He welcomes the lowly and moves them to the top of the table, He goes out and brings the homeless in from the street, He condemns the hypocrite, He forgives the biggest of sins in the same way as the smallest, He asks that little children be brought to Him (even if by parents who attend Mass very irregularly).

The Jesus I know wants all to receive Him at Communion, He wants all to share in communion with each other. The Jesus I know accepts fully the frailty of humanity and positively welcomes back all, whenever they come to him. Nobody who attends Mass and presents for Communion is deliberately turning his/her back on Christ.

So thank you to all those irregular Mass goers who filled our Churches at Christmas, thank you from a regular Mass goer who is no better in the eyes of Christ than you are. We are all God's children, welcomed and loved.

I'm sure Jesus is present in such a community celebration of people praying together in whatever words they use and receiving Him in Communion even if for some, it is not a weekly or even monthly event.

Eileen Sheridan



Co. Sligo

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