By Stacy Charasidis
At times, the last thing anyone wants to do on a Sunday night is go out, again, even if it is for yourself, an hour of peace in an otherwise hectic weekend.
There are many things I would not go out for, but I find myself making an exception when it comes to the Late Night Mass on Sundays, even though it is dark and cold out right now.
For many parents, going to mass can be a burden. The demands on their time are never-ending on weekends: housework, homework, extra-curricular activities, shopping, socializing…often that one mandatory hour at church is not seen as much of a blessing.
Does the running ever end? Will I ever sleep in again? No, not even on Sunday morning!
As a parent, when my kids joined Faith First (now Be My Disciples), and like many parents before and after me, I was horrified to learn that Mass attendance was compulsory for my children to participate in the program to get their sacraments. Go to Mass?
Participate in my community? What new reality was this?
After 10 years, and now the proud parent of two successfully confirmed kids, I am the advocate at registration saying, “Mass is essential! How else will your children learn about being a Catholic and living as one if they don’t go to church? These experiences must be lived.” Then I usually smile, but I don’t always get a smile in return.
Of course, my response doesn’t make it any easier for parents who are tired and juggling a pretty packed schedule. They feel trapped.
Mass times can also pose a problem despite the two or three options available on Saturday evening or Sunday morning. Hockey! Family events! Sleep! Priorities, here! It’s a common lament for many families, a fact Bishop Thomas Dowd has known for years and one of the reasons why the Late Sunday Mass was born.
The Late Sunday Mass (or The Last Chance Mass, as Bishop Dowd lovingly calls it), is the perfect Mass for many families with seemingly impossible schedules. Set on Sundays at 8 p.m. in Our Lady of Fatima Parish at 850 Boulevard Marcel-Laurin, it is that last opportunity, that last chance to attend a weekend Mass at a time that won’t interfere with most busy schedules. For sure by then everyone has eaten and is dressed! No rushing around beforehand, and most likely all your activities for the weekend are finished.
Having been to the Mass a couple of times now, as it fits into my two-job, mother, wife, sister, friend, volunteer schedule, I was able to compare it to the regular children’s Mass at my local church.
One thing I have to say is that it’s peaceful.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the Sunday morning children’s mass. With all the kids there the church pulses with life, and it’s a joy to behold. But it is noisy!
When you walk into Our Lady of Fatima, it’s quiet. You kneel to pray and you can hear yourself think. There is usually some music playing while the Bishop and his aides setup quietly. There is even a priest ready to listen if you want to go to confession.
There is no choir yet. The sung parts of the Mass are handled by the celebrant, but even without a choir, the Mass is beautiful. Of course, listening to the Bishop’s homily is always a treat as he ties scripture to real life.
You can take a breath and…relax…feel the presence of God. No planning a day that is now over and no making mental lists in your head.
It’s a peaceful way to start another hectic week in the life of a family.
Stacy Charasidis works in the Office for Faith Education in the Diocese of Montreal.
Last Night at the Gayete
The Centaur Theatre's - season is drawing to a close with its final production of Last Night at the Gayety, a musical comedy by Bowser & Blue which runs until May 22nd.