This season is when our parishes
are packed with "Creaster"
Catholics - those who seem to
only attend on Christmas and
Easter. Although this can be frustrating
for parish leaders, youth
attendance reflects a hunger for
We should attend to two
practical issues for liturgical celebrations
to be moments of evangelization
and faith. First, Creasters
often don't know what to do at
Mass. They might be unsure when
to sit, stand, or kneel. This causes a degree of self-consciousness
that hinders their active participation during Mass. Furthermore,
their confusion prevents their understanding or appreciation
for the mystery unfolding in the liturgy. Here are some ways
Print instructions in the worship aid. If announcements
are made before Mass, mention the helpful information these
brochures contain regarding posture.
Ushers and greeters would do well to be attentive to
strangers and unfamiliar faces. Direct the newcomer's attention
to the directions that are included in the worship aid.
Cantors and presiders help the assembly through gesture.
A motion can inform to sit or stand, and eye contact welcomes
participation in song and prayer.
Second, in addition to not knowing "how" to celebrate,
Creasters may not really understand "what" is being celebrated.
Presiders should not make assumptions about the catechetical
training that families have received. They come to Mass at
Christmas because they intuit the significance of the birth of
Jesus. This provides an opportunity to reflect on the doctrine
of the Incarnation. We are reminded that all of life and creation
is sacred, and that as God became present to humanity, we are
challenged to be present to each other, to be Good News in the
flesh for others. This Christmas, with a little attention, our parishes
will be good news for our young Church.