Dear Companions on the Journey,
For many “cradle Catholics,” Christmas exerts a powerful nostalgic pull. of walking to Midnight Mass as parents and children, Christmas tugs at our religious and sentimental heartstrings.
A new phenomenon has emerged over the last decade or so. That is, middle-age and older Catholics going to Christmas Mass with hearts heavy that their Millennial or Gen-X children choose not to accompany them. Or, out of loving care for parents, some who ordinarily do not go to Church accompany them on Christmas. How loving and generous!
What to do during these last Advent Days before Christmas? Of course, in prayerful discernment, it might be just the right time to invite friends and family to join you for Christmas Mass. Something like “Our family is planning on attending the 5pm Christmas Eve mass at the Paulist Center. Would you and your family like to join us?” Maybe you might – especially – invite your divorced or gay/lesbian family and friends to join you: we want to welcome them! Some of them mistakenly think they are not welcome. I say, they are especially welcome here! We are blessed by their presence.
Or, if you are a regular community member at the Paulist Center, Christmas is your “moment to shine”! That is, by becoming a special ambassador of joy and welcome on that night or day when you might (gasp) sit towards the center of the pew (if “your place” is ordinarily at the end)…or when you see someone new come in, you smile at them and say “Merry Christmas! I’m a regular here and I’m delighted to welcome you this evening!”
What do you think?
And let us pray for/with one another.
The Paulist Center