Canceling Mass because of the Super Bowl

A reader alerted me to the following from northwestern.com of Oshkosh, WI… which Google maps informs me is less than an hour south by car from Lambeau Field… Green Bay, WI.

This is from the first part of a letter to the editor:

On Friday I found this notice posted on a door at my parish: “Super Bowl, Sunday (February 6, 2011), No 6:30 p.m. Mass. (Because our Green Bay Packers are in this year’s Super Bowl, we have cancelled the 6:30 p.m. Sunday Night Mass that night. We assume that most would be in agreement … (unless you are a Chicago Bear fan).”

Catholics who do not take their Faith seriously will not object to the above notice. But to those who believe that we should place the Mass above any worldly pursuit like watching a football game, it is an insult.

[…]

Okay.  Let me play devil’s advocate here and argue the other position.

Is that the only Mass on Sunday at that parish?  The parish is certainly not canceling all its Sunday Masses because of the Super Bowl.

Get a grip.  People can go to Mass on Sunday.

People who can’t make adjustments for something that is as important as Mass are not blameless in this.

Besides, who says evening Masses are good?

Mass in the evening was never the Church’s tradition.  Until just a very short time ago, Mass in the evening was hard to imagine.  In view of the Church’s tradition this is something very new and the jury is still out.  Well… it’s out for some.

Sure, for some who work late Masses are good as “last chance” Masses.  But still… is that good?

The writer was worried that football was being placed ahead of Mass.

If people are working, aren’t they placing work before Mass?  If they want to have the whole day to themselves and go to a late Mass on Sunday, aren’t they putting everything else before Mass?

I am bringing these things up to put it all in perspective.  I don’t have a dog in this hunt.  I’m from Minnesota.  Moreover, I have my devil’s advocate horns on right now.

Also, I would rather people stay at home and watch the game rather than come to Mass with their hand helds and radios etc., listening to the game during Mass.  That would be a real insult.

Another point: considering that there may be just a little alcohol involved among the fair denizens of Oshkosh that day – weren’t there ‘overalls’ by that name? –  and the roads may therefore be a little sporty perhaps it is a good idea that Mass at that time was canceled! As a matter of fact it is an act of pastoral solicitude!

Finally, if the Packers lose I am sure that Father will ring the funeral toll in the bell tower, set up the catafalque with the helmet on it and put on his black vestments, the one with the little Gs.   All still able to stand will rush to the church for the exsequies.

Solution to the Mass cancellation?   Go to Church in the morning.  Can’t do that?  Go Saturday night.  Can’t do that?  Go to another parish.  Can’t do that?  Your are relieved of your obligation.  The priest who canceled the Mass can sort things out with God.

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77 Responses to Canceling Mass because of the Super Bowl

  1. Pigeon Street says:

    If the priest is cancelling Mass so that he can watch the game, then he is putting the game before the Mass, and that is unfortunate, but not surprising.

  2. Pigeon Street says:

    I should say also: we have this problem in Ireland. The priests will crack jokes at Mass about Gaelic football games. They won’t give us reverent liturgy, nor will they preach faith and morals, but they will crack jokes during Mass about sports. :-(

  3. xgenerationcatholic says:

    For Pete’s sake, let the poor priests watch the game! They do enough for us. Yeah, I’d rather he cancelled Mass than ran back and forth from the sanctuary to the radio in the sacristy to check the score.

    I can’t remember but I might have been at a Mass one where the priest announced the score of some game in the middle of Mass.

  4. A. J. D. S. says:

    I agree with Father’s assessment here. The campus ministry at Duquesne University (Pittsburgh) has cancelled its 6:30 p.m. Mass on Super Bowl Sunday; this seems to me to be a prudent and realistic move.

  5. Centristian says:

    One might be tempted to imagine that the pastor cancelled the Mass because he, himself, didn’t want to miss any part of the game, or because he had accepted an invitation to a Super Bowl party. That’s one possibility.

    Another is that the pastor, knowing his flock, has calculated that nobody will show up at that Mass because they’ll all be watching the Super Bowl.

    If this were the only Mass at the only parish within a 50 mile radius, there might be an issue. Not the case. No big deal, practically.

    But is it unseemly just the same?

  6. FrCharles says:

    I agree. I spent a lovely year in Wisconsin in our old novitiate. I get what it’s like there. Even if the Mass were celebrated, Father would have to use the Ordo Missae cuius unum tantum minister participat and only that if he was lucky.

    Super Bowl is to religious life what Christmas is to the world. An obligatory party with a traditional menu, and indifference to the event at hand.

  7. What if they cancel the Mass once the Packers win?!?

    I honestly don’t have a problem with this because it is the late Mass. There is no *NEED* for it; it is simply a convenience for folks who like to come late. Sure lives are on schedules… but a little disruption is good. Variety is the spice of life right? If the priest was smart he would have moved the evening Mass UP A bit… and then had a Super Bowl viewing party AFTER the Mass… raise a little money :)

  8. Centristian says:

    “If the priest was smart he would have moved the evening Mass UP A bit… and then had a Super Bowl viewing party AFTER the Mass… raise a little money :)”

    Now somebody’s using his noggin’. Praise holy priests all you want, clever ones are needed, too!

  9. Leonius says:

    How does this help the priest fulfill his mission to sanctify souls?

    What will this priest do if he gets a sick call during the Superbowl? [He goes on the sick call, of course, if it is an emergency. He goes while reciting the little known verse from Genesis: “And on the eighth day, while God was resting and seeing how good it was, created the DVR, and saw that it was very good.” And you drive to and from the sick call with the radio off.]

    I sure wish I could just take time off at work to watch the Superbowl or any other time there is something happening I would rather be doing, as do many Americans all over the country working tonight do as well I’m sure.

    In a time when secularism and worldliness are destroying the importance of the sacred in the hearts and minds of the American people this action is just one more surrender to the enemies of souls by the very men who are supposed to be leading the fight.

  10. Pater OSB says:

    It is also worth noting that this is a SUNDAY EVENING Mass, not even a Saturday evening Mass. It has always been my experience that when it comes to Sunday evening Masses the priest [sometimes including myself] is already past his legal limit of Masses said in a day… sometimes this is the third or fourth Mass in a day for a priest – especially in these days of ‘clustered’ parishes, etc. I say give the guy a break – in fact tell him only to offer Sunday evening Masses once or twice a month [if that].

  11. Tim Ferguson says:

    Leonius – I suspect that, by cancelling Mass, the good Father will be better able to respond to a sick call than he would if he was celebrating an evening Mass. I think you’re getting a bit too dramatic in calling this Mass cancellation a “surrender to the enemies of souls.”

    It is, and I say this not just as a fan of the Green Bay Packers, a reasonable thing to do. People in Oshkosh have multiple opportunities to attend Mass this Sunday. Those whose schedule would *only* permit them to go to the 6:30 Sunday night Mass are likely a very small group. A quick check of the internet shows 5:00 p.m. Masses in Oshkosh at Blessed Sacrament and St. Raphael.

    Not every accomodation with the realities of modern life is a portent of the great apostasy.

  12. DavidJ says:

    Implying that the priest would not respond to a Sacramental emergency in the appropriate manner is unjust and uncharitable.

  13. Flambeaux says:

    Father is right. Hysterical emailer is wrong. There are alternatives. And the Super Bowl is making a mess of my front lawn (metaphorically — I live within site of that hideous stadium).

    Most of the Sunday evening Masses around here are being cancelled for the plain reason that no one will be able to navigate the streets or find parking.

    –Flambeaux, who really does live a few blocks from the stadium

  14. Leonius says:

    There are very good reasons the Church has evening masses on a Sunday, in these unchristian times many Catholics have the choice of either working Sunday mornings or not working at all. The Church in her mercy recognized this and so now provides evening masses.

    Once priests have adequately sanctified society so that Sunday morning work is no longer asked of Americans it would might be ok to stop evening masses, we are a long way from that point, taking the evening off to watch the Superbowl moves us even further away.

  15. Leonius says:

    “Implying that the priest would not respond to a Sacramental emergency in the appropriate manner is unjust and uncharitable.”

    This action by the priest is what implies such, the attitude to the sacrament of the mass displayed by such actions leads to such questions.

    Failing to provide the Catholics who have provided the priest with living conditions that make it possible for him to watch the superbowl with the sacrament of the Mass is the true injustice.

    The refusal to provide souls with the opportunity to receive the graces that would have been received by attending that Mass is what is truly uncharitable.

    Time does not stop for the superbowl and we all will have to answer for our use of the time given to us by God, especially priests.

  16. pfreddys says:

    For me this brings up a question about evening Mass in general…..isnt it better if you have an evening Mass to have one on Sunday evening rather than Saturday evening? Yet the overwhelming number of evening Masses are on Saturday night….I have always wondered about that.

  17. Unfinished says:

    Let the priests watch the game.

    It is not from the devil to want to enjoy football. Most of the holy priests I admire and respect can’t wait for the Superbowl.

    Mass was canceled ONE time during the year, and it was an evening Mass at that. It really just isn’t worth throwing up a bunch of fuss.

    Did the priest also cancel noon Masses during football season so he could watch all of the Packers games? I doubt it. In fact, I bet he missed several of the games because he was serving the people of God on Sundays while we were all home after Mass enjoying the football. In charity, let the poor priest have this one. He deserves it.

  18. Just last week I was discussing my experience at Sunday evening Mass her in North Carolina when the Panthers were in the Super Bowl. The 7:00 PM Mass – which usually has upwards of 200 attendees – had about 20. So maybe the priest in question here wisely anticipates that the handful of people who may be there are better served altering their schedules that one day.

  19. frhumphries says:

    It also seems wise, just and charitable to assume the best intentions until otherwise assured. To automatically assume the worst and darkest intentions of others is simply not virtuous. It would seem there are ample reasons given (safety, attendance, etc) for the cancellation and ample alternatives (of which the pastor is undoubtedly aware) to make the decision entirely justifiable.

  20. Bender says:

    Our priests have a very simple policy.

    If a Mass is regularly scheduled, the Mass will be said. Period. When we twice got two-feet of snow overnight last year, the Mass was said. Nothing comes before the Mass. Not even football. Not even whether it is one person or one hundred who attend.

  21. Tim Ferguson says:

    Leonius, what is your basis for presuming that the priest has not provided for his faithful? How many Masses does this priest offer each week, each weekend? How many of the

    And you have not responded to my comment that a priest watching a football game is much better prepared to attend to a sick call than a priest who is offering Holy Mass.

  22. Jason Keener says:

    Watching football is one nice way that families and friends can enjoy some rest and relaxation together on a Sunday. I don’t see anything wrong with the priest cancelling this evening Mass for the special event of the Super Bowl so long as other opportunities for Mass are available. Of course, Catholics these days usually have many options for fulfilling their Sunday obligation.

    Go Pack!

  23. APX says:

    I don’t watch the NFL, so the Superbowl doesn’t apply to me, but I do watch the CFL, so I’ve run into this issue for the last 3/4 years during the Grey Cup. Personally, I have to agree with Fr. Z on this. Really, it isn’t a big deal. There are other Masses to attend. Even if the priest cancelled Mass so he could watch the game, I wouldn’t hold it against him. Priests are people too.

  24. NCtrad says:

    Every Mass is the re-presentation of Our Lord’s sacrifice and wins graces for the whole world and for the souls in purgatory. Cancelling Mass for a football game is disgraceful. I am surprised how much support this decision has found here. Protestants cancel their services when they anticipate nobody showing up because the minister will have no one to preach to. A mass said with 2 people in attendance still has value.

  25. JoAnna says:

    Our priest cancelled Sunday evening Masses over the summer because they were the most sparsely attended, and he wanted to save money turning off the A/C and lights after the 11am Mass was over (we’re in Arizona, and it costs a lot to cool the church in the summer). I suppose the e-mailer would be hysterical at the thought of Fr. putting money matters ahead of Mass?

  26. eiggam says:

    At least he let people know that Mass would be canceled. BTW if the bulletin is posted online and it still has the evening Mass listed in the week’s listing, I think the Mass should be offered. It’s difficult when coming from out of town and finding out the schedule was changed..

  27. Bender says:

    There is a VAST difference between merely not having a Mass, on the one hand, and cancelling a Mass, on the other hand.

    Merely not having a Mass at a given time of day presents absolutely no problem, moral or liturgical, whatsoever. But CANCELLING a Mass for purely worldly reasons, and rather base and vulgar reasons at that, exhibits a disturbing irreverence for the Lord.

    Even here in “hostile to tradition” Arlington, we understand that.

  28. Stephen Matthew says:

    Who runs off to the editor of the secular paper regarding a problem with their parish? That doesn’t seem very Christian. I seem to recall if someone in the church offends us we are to first confront that person directly but privately, then confront them with witnesses, and then take it to the elders of the church (the bishop in this case). Yet it seems we all to often run off to the news paper or the internet or the congretation at the Vatican instead of even trying those things.

    If I were a priest, being that I don’t care a fig for the Super Bowl, I wouldn’t have a personal stake in the matter. That said, I know very few will come to mass during the game. If an evening mass is needed that day, move it before or after the game and this will remove the temptation for some to watch the game and skip mass. Plus you can then have a parish Super Bowl party, something that makes for a decent activity for the youth and others, too. In college the Newman ministry had the campus mass scheduled for Sunday, early even Eastern time, thus we would finish the mass just a bit before kick-off and Super Bowl party would be held. We also had Sunday night dinner most weeks in any case, often simple soups.

    As to the question of Sunday night vs. Saturday night, the above priest poster provides pertinent pointers about that. There is a canonical limit to the number of masses a priest is supposed to say in a day. Generally they can say only two on a week day, and three on Sundays and holy days. This gets rather tricky once you factor in priests covering multiple parishes or adding a wedding or funeral into their usual schedule. Also, there is a long tradition of Vigil masses and the liturgical day always begins in some sense the evening before, so a Saturday evening mass has some historical basis (but Saturday afternoon in full day light does not, I think, and thus the 4:00 PM Saturday masses bother me a slight bit). Also as a practical matter, if someone is at a job that does 12 hr or longer shifts, it would be easy for that person to be working through the Sunday morning and Sunday evening masses.

    As to the question of sanctifying society, doesn’t Vatican II seem to put the leadership in that effort on the laity?

  29. AndyMo says:

    I played the organ for a 7 PM Mass on Super Bowl Sunday for the last 3 years. Believe me, no one shows up. I’m in the Pittsburgh area, too, so that means this year even FEWER will show.

    It has also been my experience that the 7PM Mass is the “last call” Mass — everyone who had every opportunity to go in the last 2 days, but waited until the last minute. Surely not all are like that, but the numbers of people to come in late and leave early are far greater than any other weekend Mass.

  30. frjim4321 says:

    Interesting topic. I concur entirely with the Reverend Blogmaster’s response. There is no need to become hysterical about the adaption of a mass schedule to the needs of the community. In fact, it would stand to reason that such schedules should be flexible in the interest of evangelization. Here we have a 9-month schedule and a summer schedule for Sunday morning masses. Is moving the 11:30 mass to 11:00 in the summer a matter of convenience? Maybe . . . but it results in greater attendence and a higher communion count. (Also, we have PSR between the masses during the 9-months, thus a larger gap between masses is necessary.)

    That being said, I do agree with the posters who find annoying references to sports teams during the mass. “The mass is ended, go in peace, GO BROWNS!” I have heard that stuff and I hate it.

    On the other hand, knowing the people includes being aware that sports are a big part of life for many; and to puposely ignore that seems arrogant.

    Oddly, today was a historic day here. It was the first time EVER that no one showed up for daily mass. (Dramatic ice storm here.)

  31. Dr. Eric says:

    I don’t have a dog in this fight. My beloved Rams haven’t been to a Superbowl since the 2002 Superbowl which was totally rigged!

    But, I do have a problem with Sunday night Masses. I assume that this parish has the usual 4 or 5 pm Saturday evening Mass. Even if it has a 6:30 pm Saturday Mass, it seems to me that the Lord’s Day has more hours than any other day. Something’s not kosher here.

  32. How about getting rid of the 6:30 pm Mass all together? Is it really (really, I mean, come on) necessary?

  33. Pigeon Street says:

    *frjim4321:
    That being said, I do agree with the posters who find annoying references to sports teams during the mass. “The mass is ended, go in peace, GO BROWNS!” I have heard that stuff and I hate it.

    On the other hand, knowing the people includes being aware that sports are a big part of life for many; and to puposely ignore that seems arrogant.*

    That is the problem: sport IS a bigger deal for many people than religion, and the priests do NOTHING to correct it. Sorry for the caps but I need to emphasise that. Sport is the idol of many people. They serve the sport. The sport is their true and proper worship (as far as they are concerned). It is a very real problem. In Ireland, it is fanatical, and many priests are worse than many laymen.

    Perhaps all the sports fans might read this: http://www.chastitysf.com/q_sports.htm

  34. Pete says:

    “Let me play devil’s advocate ” – that post has been abolished.

    “Besides, who says evening Masses are good?” – didn’t I Thomas Aquinas explained why Mass should be in the morning?

    “football was being placed ahead of Mass.” – its OK it is not real football.

    Baseball & ice hockey I can watch, but American football has to be the world most ridiculous field sport.

  35. Geoffrey says:

    “If a Mass is regularly scheduled, the Mass will be said. Period. When we twice got two-feet of snow overnight last year, the Mass was said. Nothing comes before the Mass. Not even football. Not even whether it is one person or one hundred who attend.”

    I think that is the best policy.

  36. APX says:

    How about getting rid of the 6:30 pm Mass all together? Is it really (really, I mean, come on) necessary?
    It is when you work Saturday afternoon/evenings, and then again Sunday morning/afternoon the next day, and don’t have the option of changing your schedule.

  37. frjim4321 says:

    “If a Mass is regularly scheduled, the Mass will be said. Period. When we twice got two-feet of snow overnight last year, the Mass was said. Nothing comes before the Mass. Not even football. Not even whether it is one person or one hundred who attend.”

    Seems a bit like magical thinking.

  38. Tim Ferguson says:

    That’s okay frjim, I’m sure the comment was made by someone who attends every Mass that is offered at his parish. I mean, the re’s nothing more important than the Mass, ever. Not work, not football, not anything. So surely someone who would be criticizing one of the Lord’s anointed about changing the Mass schedule is obviously someone who never lets anything interfere with his participation at Mass. Surely such a person would have heard Our Lord’s dire warning not to criticize the mote in one person’s eye without removing the plank from one’s own.

  39. ipadre says:

    Did you ever think that this priest might be the only one in church that night!

  40. Bender says:

    Seems a bit like magical thinking.

    No, not magic. And not snark or sarcasm either. That is reality. That’s what has happened. And that is what our pastor has stated will continue to happen — the priests will be there, they will celebrate Mass.

    But then again, our pastor is a Marine. A little hardship has never stopped him before, it isn’t going to stop him now.

    More Catholics need to be like that Marine. More Catholics used to be. Oorah.

  41. Bender says:

    FYI — This notice has been posted in our bulletin this winter —

    In the Event of Severe Weather Situations…
    All baptized Catholics are obliged to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. However, there are particular circumstances or conditions that may excuse a Catholic from this obligation. If you are ill, homebound, or if there are severe weather conditions that make attending Mass dangerous to your safety or that of others, you are excused. In such cases, the Church recommends making a spiritual communion & spending time in prayer. Our church will
    be open & our priests will say any scheduled Masses, no matter the weather!
    (bold in original)

    Like I said, there is a difference between simply not having a Mass and cancelling a regularly scheduled Mass. If you don’t want to have the Mass, if late Sunday afternoon is per se inappropriate, if there are other places one can go anyway, then don’t put that time slot on the schedule in the first place. But if it is scheduled, don’t be like those parents who think that their kids’ soccer games are more important and cancel.

  42. frjim4321 says:

    I guess there are schedules and there are schedules. There is the published weekly schedule and the ordinary weekly “template” or “slate” of masses. To me the weekly schedule printed in the bulletin is absolutely solid and mass would be celebrated if only one parishioners showed up. (Obviously not if there was no one there.) As far as a weekly “slate” of masses is concerned, that is adaptable to current needs. A particurly mass might be omitted from the weekly template/slate due to need and such would be published in the bulletin.

    For example, when I am on vacation we do not publish daily mass because there are no other priest here and there are churches ten minutes to the north and ten minutes to the south with masses. (Obviously if I am on vacation on the weekend we get help.)

    I may have interpreted that the marine pastor above was being anal about the “template/slate” when in fact he was being responsible about fulfilling the published schedule for the week; clearly two different things.

  43. Leonius says:

    It really does not matter whether anyone would have attended or not, or at least it should not to Catholics.

    The sacrifice would have still been acceptable to God, God would have been worshiped and glorified, graces would have been poured out into the parish, and both the Mass and the Priest would have fulfilled their purpose regardless of how many where in attendance.

    The priest by doing what he has done has sent the message that the Solemnity of the Superbowl outranks God’s Sunday Evening Mass. And in doing so he has reinforced the attitudes of Catholics who think Mass on Sunday is something they only need to do if there is nothing else they would rather be doing. And the message if even louder when it comes from an Archbishop as it has done in New Orleans.

    But its not like attending Mass helps to sanctify souls so who cares right?

    With leaders like this no wonder the importance of Sunday Mass attendance has been forgotten and regular mass attendance among Catholics has declined so much.

    What is happenign at the direction of the Archbishop in New Orleans is just one more surrender, nothing more nothing less and is yet more confirmation that Catholics from the top down do not have the respect they should have for God or the religion they profess and are supposed to be willing to die for.

  44. Joseph-Mary says:

    I was surprised that my parish cancelled the Sunday night (teen) Mass. It did happen to be the only Mass at our parish that my husband could attend this weekend as he has weekend duty at the hospital. Need to search out if there is a later Saturday evening Mass as he can not make the 4pm Saturday vigil at our parish either. This happened at Christmas when the Sunday evening Mass was cancelled as well and there was no Mass to be found for him that Sunday.

    My dog is not in the fight, so I could not figure out at first why Mass was cancelled. But it seems to be going nationwide.

  45. frjim4321 says:

    Leonius, that opens up an entirely different string and that is whether or not it is acceptable for a priest to say mass by himself in the absense of even one person/altar server. Meanwhile, you have no idea of what kind of leader I am nor how the mass attendance has changes since I have been here. So, what’s going on the NOLA?

  46. APX says:

    When we twice got two-feet of snow overnight last year, the Mass was said. Nothing comes before the Mass

    Wonderful! When we get two feet of snow overnight we’re instructed by the police not leave our house unless it is an emergency, or we absolutely have to such as essential services employees. Personally, I’d heed the advice of not leaving my house and risk getting killed in a car accident on my way to church, or have car trouble and freeze to death when it’s -45°C with the windchill, especially if I’m in a state of mortal sin.

    The Catechism makes exceptions for such instances, so I don’t think Catholics “need to be like that Marine” and put themselves in danger to make it to church.

    But getting back to what this is really about, canceling one evening Mass because of the Super Bowl. Appleton (which is where the letter originated from) alone has 8 parishes, and another 7 within reasonable driving distance, all with numerous Mass times. Canceling one Mass time likely wouldn’t put anyone out of fulfilling their Sunday obligation, nor is it putting football before church. When you think about it, it’s actually putting church before football. Don’t forget there will be plenty of people praying during those four hours as well.

  47. APX says:

    The priest by doing what he has done has sent the message that the Solemnity of the Superbowl outranks God’s Sunday Evening Mass. And in doing so he has reinforced the attitudes of Catholics who think Mass on Sunday is something they only need to do if there is nothing else they would rather be doing.

    How do you come to this assumption? Any time there was a football game on Sundays, Grey Cup included, I made sure I went to an earlier Mass. People are capable of going to a different Mass time.

  48. Andrew Mason says:

    When I was in college, our chaplain (who was a die-hard football fan) would hold a special short Mass for the 7pm “student” Mass. He would say one or two sentences for the homily, just enough to say that he had actually said one, and would blow through the prayers at a record pace. Ultimately the Mass would last about a half-hour, maybe even a little less. Personally I think that just canceling the Mass would be preferable to treating it like that, back then I was a lot less traditionally-minded than I am now and even then I thought that it was a bad thing to do. If you’re going to say the Mass, you should take the time to say it right.

  49. Craig says:

    Hello,
    I’ll steer clear of commenting on the merits of cancelling a Mass for a football game…everything’s probably been covered well already.

    Just a short alternate take on Sunday evening Mass in general.

    My wife and I have 3 young children. Our 2 boys have significant special needs, and it is quite difficult for all of us to attend Mass together. I usually go by myself to Sunday evening Mass at a few different parishes.

    Just wanted to say that there are some folks who attend these ‘odd-hour’ Masses out of a logistical necessity and I am personally thankful that Holy Mother Church offers this option.

  50. Fr. Basil says:

    \\Besides, who says evening Masses are good?\\

    I greatly enjoy Evening Divine Liturgies during the week. The entire day works up to this high point when you can truly “lay aside all earthly cares.”

    But I still prefer the Sunday Liturgy on Sunday Morning.

    \\Mass in the evening was never the Church’s tradition. Until just a very short time ago, Mass in the evening was hard to imagine. \\

    Really? It was the Last/Mystical Supper, not the Last/Mystical Breakfast.

  51. eulogos says:

    I don’t care about football at all, but since some people do, if they want to cancel that mass once a year, fine, so long as they announce it at that mass the previous week, put it in the bulletin, and make sure the change is on the church’s website also.

    Please don’t say that evening masses are unnecessary. Nurses, for instance, have to work every other weekend. If they work 7-3 Saturday and Sunday, they need an evening mass. Some of them work 7a-7p every other Saturday and Sunday, and I don’t know what they do. A rare parish has a 7:30p but nurses seldom can leave right on the dot at the end of their shift; they are usually still charting. Those who work 7p-7a could go to mass before they go to sleep, but having done this after only a 11p-7a I know my level of awareness of what was happening was quite limited! Anyway, some parish in a city should be trying to accommodate people who don’t work standard hours.

    Priests who make sports references during their sermons are one of my pet peeves. Or TV references. It is like saying that people won’t pay attention unless you hook their attention with some bit of popular culture; they won’t really be interested in a plain exposition of what the scripture reading said. It is insulting and condescending.

    Susan Peterson

  52. Leonius says:

    “How do you come to this assumption? Any time there was a football game on Sundays, Grey Cup included, I made sure I went to an earlier Mass. People are capable of going to a different Mass time”

    No actually they are not always capable of doing that at all, their have been times in my life when due to the need to keep my job to provide for my family the only Mass I could get to was a Sunday evening Mass, and I was more than happy to make the two hour return journey to another parish do so, and I would be more than happy to miss the Superbowl to fulfill my obligation as well.

    Not everyone is as fortunate as you in having their pick of which Mass to attend on a Sunday.

  53. bookworm says:

    The priest in this case is canceling ONE Sunday Mass due to an extraordinary situation. While the Super Bowl happens every year, one’s LOCAL team doesn’t play in it every year (unless you happen to live in a city which currently has an unstoppable football “dynasty” going). The one additional thing the priest might have done to be helpful would have been to list alternate evening Mass times and locations in the area for those who still needed to attend a Sunday evening Mass. Otherwise, I don’t see what’s so awful about this. (If, for example, the Chicago Cubs made it to the 7th game of the World Series and it were being played on a Sunday evening, I imagine a lot of pastors in central and northern Illinois would do the same thing.)

    As for Mass in inclement weather, if the priest lives right next door to the church then there is no reason for him not to OFFER Mass, but he can dispense parishioners from their obligation to attend if travel would be hazardous for them. If he lives many miles away and has to drive through blizzard conditions to get to the church, that’s a different story, and he can (and should) actually cancel Mass for his own safety as well as that of his parishioners.

    During the last big blizzard I can recall that hit on a weekend (New Year’s 1999), I lived in a rural area about 6 miles from the nearest Catholic parish. The priest serving that parish, in turn, lived another 10 miles away at a larger parish. Mass was canceled for the smaller parish that Sunday (we wouldn’t have been able to get there anyway, as the highway between our home and that parish was drifted shut), while at the larger parish, Mass was offered but the parishioners were advised (via a recorded phone message) that they were not obligated to attend.

  54. MikeM says:

    I don’t like the way it looks, but some people could really benefit from relaxing about these things. I doubt many people would have attended, it would have been miserable to find altar servers and what not, and it’s not as if our priests don’t have plenty to do.

    As for Mass being most important and coming first, well, yes… but, we priests don’t spend every waking hour saying Mass, nor do we lay people spend all our time going to Mass… very few of us even go once a day. We do other things, too, and so do our priests.

    Give the priest a break on this one. Are we really going to accuse him of having “base and vulgar” motives because he wants to enjoy a notable celebration with his family and friends?

  55. Jaceczko says:

    Regarding evening Masses on Sundays.

    I recently attended an evening Mass with my wife (we don’t usually, but we had been out of town and spent all day getting home). It was a “Life Teen” Mass, I think, although I don’t really know what “Life Teen” is supposed to mean.

    The Priest processed in to much fanfare and a guitar solo. Then, standing at the altar, to begin Mass he intoned the following solemn words:

    “As we gather together to celebrate this Redskins victory…”

  56. Jaceczko says:

    So, you know, it could be worse…

    You could be in the DC suburbs…

  57. Jack Hughes says:

    A) The only Evening Mass I like is the 6pm TLM, and there is even talk of moving that to 12:30 so more elderly people can make it.

    b) Leounis can you please stop being so snarky; as has been pointed out there are many other evening Masses locally, also is the chaplin to my alma marta being ‘worldly’ by not celebrating the campus Mass today to go and watch the Cheltneham gold cup? FYI he is the area dean, has is own Church (which I’m sure he’ll be saying Mass at today), chaplin to 2 highschools, a university AND a hospital – I’m sure the man has earnt his day at the races.

    (c) Pegion Street: The guy who runs ChastitySF has a serious beef with anything remotely FUN, unless you are beating yourself black and blue with sticks and wearing a particulary uncomfortable Cilice with barbed hooks designed to cause infection then he probebly thinks that you are a liberal;personally I like a bit of friendly competative sports – CAN it become an Idol? Yes, is it intrisically bad? NO

    d) If (God willing) I’m ordained (assuiming Diocesan but maybe Religious) my policy on the Sunday Mass will be If you can’t be arsed to get here for the 10 O clock on Sunday then go somewhere else – Evening Masses are a bad idea full stop

  58. bookworm says:

    “ome parish in a city should be trying to accommodate people who don’t work standard hours.”

    Well, back in the pre-Vatican II days there were Masses offered in the wee hours of the morning, around 2, 3, or 4 a.m. for exactly that purpose. In some cities they were called “printer’s Masses” because many of the attendees were printers at major newspapers that published morning editions. In NYC’s theater district they were “actor’s Masses”. These fell by the wayside after evening Masses became common but perhaps there is still a need for them in some areas.

  59. Marcin says:

    @Jaceczko

    That’s why we leave our MontCo churches behind and drive to Tenleytown, DC or to McLean, VA.

    [I had my share of “Agnus Dei” (sic!) performed by a celebrant priest strumming his guitar at the altar.]

  60. PghCath says:

    Bookwork: The Pittsburgh home of the old 2:30 AM “Printer’s Mass” recently brought it back. As there aren’t too many printers left, I imagine it will be a “Party-Goers” Mass. It’s not in the part of town frequented by most Saturday night party-goers, however, so we’ll see how it goes.

  61. Jaceczko says:

    Funny that Marcin knew without my making it explicit that the parish was in MontCo.

  62. Sunday is the Lord’s Day because of the Resurrection. Pre-dawn Sunday morning Masses are traditional because Sunday was a workday in ancient Roman society. If you were a slave or a freeman, you couldn’t just take off from work. Since people fasted from midnight before Mass, they couldn’t just wait till evening. The Last Supper wasn’t a Sunday Mass, but a special Thursday one. :)

    In ancient times, on days of great festivity (secular), it was pretty common for the bishop to go back to the old days before parishes, and expect everybody in the whole diocese (including all the priests) to show up at the basilica for one single Mass. No Sunday Mass at all but that one. (Sort of a concentration of prayer.) There are still festivals (religious) in Europe where they do this. Thus it’s also common in some places for parishes to do the same on their big fiesta days — one Mass only for everybody. So sure, the Bishop of Green Bay could have ordered everybody to come to his Mass at 8 AM Sunday morning, if he’d felt like it, or the pastor could have canceled all the Masses but one. Don’t complain too loudly about what pastors do, or you might find out more about their powers than you want! :)

  63. Henry Edwards says:

    When I lived in Wisconsin during the Vince Lombardi heyday of Green Bay football, it would have been thought disrespectful of the Holy Sacrifice to schedule a Mass in conflict with a Packer game in the Super Bowl. No good Catholic would have countenanced such a frivolous attitude toward Holy Mass.

  64. APX says:

    No actually they are not always capable of doing that at all, their have been times in my life when due to the need to keep my job to provide for my family the only Mass I could get to was a Sunday evening Mass, and I was more than happy to make the two hour return journey to another parish do so, and I would be more than happy to miss the Superbowl to fulfill my obligation as well.

    Your original quote was,

    “And in doing so he has reinforced the attitudes of Catholics who think Mass on Sunday is something they only need to do if there is nothing else they would rather be doing.”

    Suggesting they (the football watchers) do not go to Mass when there is a football game on. This has nothing to do with those who work.

  65. CheezHeadChick says:

    Once upon a time I went to a parish that had 4 Sunday morning Masses. One day the pastor announced that the schedule would be changed to 3. His reasoning was that the Church / archdiocese expects the church to be filled. Since the pews basically had the ends occupied, he reasoned that this was not “proper” and could force a full church by eliminating one of the Masses. My current priest is considering eliminating the one weekday evening Mass because it only has 10-15 people on a regular basis.

    Now, how full do you expect a church within driving distance of Green Bay at the same time the Pack is in the Super Bowl? Heck this priest might even be a Favre fan and not even going to watch the game.

  66. Leonius says:

    “d) If (God willing) I’m ordained (assuiming Diocesan but maybe Religious) my policy on the Sunday Mass will be If you can’t be arsed to get here for the 10 O clock on Sunday then go somewhere else – Evening Masses are a bad idea full stop”

    I’m sure you will make a great priest with that attitude ;)

  67. In NYC’s theater district they were “actor’s Masses”.

    St. Malachy’s Church, the “Actor’s Chapel”, here in NYC still has a Mass timed for theater workers. It’s at 11 PM on Saturday night.

  68. Gail F says:

    Some people do not have enough to do, I guess, and so they fill their days making complaints like this. Sheesh, I assume that the priest decided no one would be at the mass to begin with, so why have it? If it isn’t okay for a priest to occasionally cancel a mass he has good reason to believe very few people will attend — of course assuming that there are other Sunday masses — then I can’t imagine when it is okay. This is not any sort of liturgical abuse or blasphemy!

  69. s_schmude says:

    I grew up in Oshkosh, and there are some circumstances of which people aren’t aware. The parishes in town recently consolidated, and one of the priests who was overseeing (I believe) two or three parishes that had consolidated was just moved, so they’re short-staffed big time. The letter-writer doesn’t specify which parish cancelled the Mass, but I can’t blame whatever poor, highly overworked priest is covering that Mass. It is guaranteed to be poorly-attended, and he might be sparing himself from having to run from another Mass at a different parish a couple of miles away.

  70. PghCath says:

    A local parish has canceled the 6:30 Sunday mass, noting that the attendance at that mass during the AFC championship game was only 30 (it’s usually around 100). The parish has a Saturday night mass and 3 other Sunday masses.

    I happen to like Sunday evening Mass, but the good Fathers deserve an opportunity to enjoy the game. Go Steelers!

  71. Andrew Mason says:

    @ Marcin:

    By Tenleytown I’m assuming you mean St. Ann’s, which is a wonderful Dominican parish where the Mass is always said in a reverent way. I loved that parish, and miss it terribly now that I no longer live in DC. There aren’t any parishes like that in my parish anywhere close to where I live, I’d have to go to the next diocese just to find that sort of reverence.

  72. Mike O. says:

    This story is pretty low-key compared to what professional sports have done to the U.S. culture over the past forty-plus years. For a real laugh, read the “rules” the NFL follows regarding scheduling games on Christmas Day. The NFL is, of course, being “charitable” to allow people to celebrate Christmas without the lure of a Big Game being televised until later in the day on December 25th. But the tide will turn eventually and even the Christian idea of Christmas will take a backseat to revenues generated by advertisers and the Professional Sports Machine. They’ve already ruined the idea of family togetherness at Thanksgiving with football games running throughout the day and night. Once they decide to poach December 25th for their revenue-generating ventures without Christian resistance, “What WILL Jesus Do?” There will be more than an inn that won’t have room for Him.

  73. catholicmidwest says:

    The priest just wants to watch the super bowl and he’s blowing off his parishoners to do it. Slacker.

    Similar things happen on December 31st every year when many parishes have mass at ridiculous times which can’t possibly conflict with what are probably some great parties. Some people have got to go to their New Years’ Eve parties, you know.

  74. Jaceczko says:

    frijm,

    What you call “magical thinking”, some saints have chosen to call “supernatural thinking”.

  75. PghCath says:

    Religion aside, “Superbowl Sunday” is a pretty stupid tradition. In light of the effect of intoxication on national productivity on Superbowl Monday, why don’t we move the game to Saturday? That will give people with Monday-Friday work schedules a chance to recover – and ensure that only anticipated Masses are in danger of cancellation.

    Go Steelers!

  76. catholicmidwest says:

    I despise football, but I like Super Bowl Sunday. The roads are peaceful and it’s a great time to shop because all the world’s morons are glued to the tv set. [Talk about retro!]

    I also usually go to mass during the Super Bowl because it happens on Sunday evening and sometimes I like to go to mass on Sunday evening. And there’s always people at that mass because not everyone cares about the Super Bowl. It’s only a stupid football game. Yes, yes, commercialized to the hilt, loaded with social pressure, rigged to get you to buy something, anything–but still only a stupid football game.