Wait!…The Mass ain’t over!

Dear friends,
“Houston, we have a problem!” These past few months I’ve increasingly observed something happening in this parish that has become so glaringly obvious that I feel compelled to say something about it . . . yet again. This is something over the years that has completely baffled me and also makes me sad. When I celebrate the Mass, I notice that after Communion there seems to be less people than when Mass began. I really notice it now that we have an Associate Pastor and I actually watch people walk past me to leave after receiving Holy Communion. “Wait!” I want to say . . . “The Mass ain’t over.” The other day a gentlemen saw me walking in the church building as he was making his way out after Communion and before the final blessing. He must have spotted me because I noticed that he did an abrupt “about face” and headed the other way. I am going to assume that many people do this because of ignorance and not because of any malice. All the same, I feel compelled to inform people that leaving after Communion and before the final blessing is just plain old bad practice. It is completely disrespectful to everybody in the congregation, to the celebrant and ultimately to the Lord. It bespeaks of a lack of love and reverence for God. I realize that folks may have a good reason to leave early . . . such as work
obligations, or sickness, etc. But for the rest of us . . . If we can’t stay through the whole Mass then we’ve got serious problems. If we can’t honestly meet this very minimal requirement than how can we possibly live the demands of the Gospel? To those who are leaving after Mass for no good reason please know that I am seriously concerned about your soul and I would invite the opportunity to speak with you personally about the underlying motives for your decision. In all seriousness, how can I be of help to you? If I see you leaving early don’t be put off if I ask you “Why?” I would really like to know the reasons behind this.
Finally, I would like to thank all the folks who do stay which, “Praise God,” outnumbers those who leave early. Please join me in praying for the conversion of those who persist in this most sad behavior. May I suggest the Pardon Prayer which was given to the 3 Fatima visionaries by the Angel of Peace:
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.

Peace and God bless,
Fr. Christian