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Why Sunday Mass

Every year in the month of October the archdiocese asks all the parishes to count the number of people who come to Mass on Sunday. I am always a little nervous about the “October Count” because it gives us a clear indication of the level of participation of our parishioners. Just a few weeks ago the number of registered families in our parish crossed 5,000. Even though we are probably the second largest parish in the archdiocese, I wonder how many do come to Mass on a regular basis. It is not enough that we have so many people as part of our parish. They should be active members.

 

In order to be intentional disciples, we need to put ourselves out. We need to make the effort to participate in Sunday Mass. Both as individuals and as families, let us make Sunday Mass a non-negotiable duty.

To help all our members make this commitment, I am offering below what I consider are the valid reasons for faithfully participating in the Sunday Eucharist.

  • When He gave us the Ten Commandments, the Lord said: “Thou shalt keep the Day of the Lord holy.” Unfortunately people do not hesitate to break this commandment even though they would feel bad about breaking any of the other commandments.
  • We are truly community at the Eucharist, just as the family becomes family around the dinner table. Sunday Mass makes the Church as one. The Fathers of the Church used to say: “The Church makes the Eucharist. The Eucharist makes the Church.”
  • We need to give thanks to God for the numerous gifts He grants us. There is no better way to give thanks to the Father than to offer the Eucharist.
  • In our everyday lives, we are moved by our own desires and live by our norms. When we participate in the Eucharist, we allow ourselves to be challenged by God’s Word in the context of the community. We consent to live by the community’s expectations and standards. Let us remember that there is no cheap grace. There is a cost to our discipleship.
  •   We go to the Eucharist in response to Jesus’ summons: “Take and eat… Take and drink. Do this in memory of me.” If Jesus were to appear to us today and ask us to do something, will we say, “No”?
  • The Eucharist is the food for our journey. Just as Elijah was fed by the Lord, just as the people of Israel were nourished by the Manna, we are fed by the Eucharist. Doctors tell us that we should not skip a meal even if we want to lose weight. Why would we deprive our soul of our heavenly food?
  • At the Sunday Eucharist, we can enhance and build up each other’s faith. God creates us as a member of families and communities, and He saves us as members of a community. The Eucharist is the meal par excellence of the community. You strengthen my faith by your participation at Mass just as I hopefully strengthen yours.
  • Even from a practical perspective, to be able to sit quietly and be centered is a luxury most moms and dads can’t afford. Parents with little children cannot enjoy this luxury. Sunday Mass supplies that privilege.
  • We are at the Sunday Eucharist because that is our tradition and it goes back to the Israelites and to the Early Church. Immediately after the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples gathered in homes to “break Bread” together. What we do today comes from an unbroken chain of tradition. In 1918 the Code of Canon Law set down in explicit terms that each Sunday of the year was a “holy day of obligation.”

The Second Vatican Council in her document on the Sacred Liturgy had this to say about Sunday Mass:

By a tradition handed down from the apostles, which took its origin from the very day of Christ’s resurrection, the Church celebrates the paschal mystery every eighth day, which day is appropriately called the Lord’s Day or Sunday. For on this day Christ’s faithful are bound to come together into one place. They should listen to the Word of God and take part in the Eucharist, thus calling to mind the passion, resurrection and glory of the Lord Jesus, and giving thanks to God who “has begotten them again, through the resurrection of Christ from the dead, unto a living hope” (1 Peter 1:3). The Lord’s Day is the original feast day, and it should be proposed to the faithful and taught to them so that it may become in fact a day of joy and of freedom from work. Other celebrations, unless they be truly of the greatest importance, shall not have precedence over Sunday, which is the foundation and kernel of the whole liturgical year (SC #106).

Laws are made for the spiritually immature. Laws are constituted to punish the lawbreakers. The Church makes Sunday Mass an obligation because people have not discovered the value of the Mass. Once we are spiritually mature, then we will go to Mass not out of a sense of obligation, but out of love.

The Eucharist is the greatest gift that the Lord has given us. It is a privilege to be invited to dine with the King. I pray that all of us will come to a deeper appreciation of the greatest Gift that the Lord has given us.

Mission Statement: As children of God, living in a Catholic community of faith, we are united by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Aware that all we have is gift and grace from our Heavenly Father, we strive to give of our time, talent and treasure to build His kingdom on earth. We live this mission, challenged by the Word, nurtured by the Sacraments, and enlivened by the Spirit, to serve our brothers and sisters in peace, justice and dignity. All are welcome on this journey.

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Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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Phone: (847) 825-7605
Fax: (847) 825-5186

Mass Schedule

Sunday

7:30 a.m. - Upper Church
9 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
10:30 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
12 p.m. - Upper Church
5:30 p.m. - Upper Church

Monday - Friday

6:25 a.m. - Upper Church
8:30 a.m. - Upper Church

Saturday

8 a.m. - Upper Church
4:30 p.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel