The fruits of being inviting

For your Brick by Brick file.

I have often suggested that you, dear readers, invite people to come to Mass with you. Be inviting. People like to be invited, even if they don’t accept. And you never know what will happen! In another post I mentioned that Fr. Tim Finigan, the mighty p.p. of Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen, the Supremo of English priest-bloggers, for the parish’s patronal feast suggested that people invite guests to come to the High Mass. I think it might have worked. Fr. Finigan told me that it was a large congregation that evening and there were faces he didn’t usually see at TLMs. Wonderful.

On that note, this comes from a reader:

From a reader:

I just wanted to let you know that you’re right about inviting people to the TLM, and that it might take more than one invite. Persistence is key!

My parents are visiting for the weekend and my mom decided she was coming with me, but my dad, who only goes to Mass on Christmas, after much persuasion is now coming too! I had to ask about four times (first he “doesn’t do that sort of thing”, then he had stuff he had to get done, and then he tried the nothing to wear excuse) until I got to, “what time does it start?”

So now both my parents are joining me for the TLM tomorrow. Hopefully it will go okay. Please say a prayer for me. Things didn’t get off to the greatest start when they got here last night and learned that I observe the Friday fasting and abstinence here.


Remember… this also applies to inviting fallen-away Catholics to any Mass and to go to confession as well… or some event at the parish…or … well… you get it.

Brick by Brick!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. DB1995 says:

    Father, I would like to second your post, and especially underscore the opportunity for apostolate that is presented in inviting folks to baptisms. Not only is it the most important day in the child’s life–sort of seems like we should celebrate it more akin to wedding festival–but I’ve found that people/coworkers view a baptism invitation as being easier to accept than a mass invite. And, when they come, they are exposed to the beauty of the church’s liturgy–whether EF/TLM or NO. At a TLM baptism last January, we had over 50 people present to witness the sacrament–and probably a third of them were either non- or fallen away Catholics. (Of course, we have to follow up with them in true friendship; but there was not one negative and generally only glowing positive reaction to the beauty and meaning of the Sacrament.)

  2. Alice says:

    Inviting people to baptisms is nice, but please don’t make people who can’t feel guilty. I have tried to have my children baptized as soon as possible after birth, which means that I am still weak and sleep deprived. Plus, my children have needed to be fed no less every two hours at that point in their lives, so the only reason we have been able to invite anyone outside the family is because my mother-in-law is a great party planner and hostess. We don’t have a lot of space, though, and not every baby has a grandmother who is able and willing to do that, so if a few of the ladies in the pro-life committee or the funeral luncheon committee or the religious education program or whatever wanted to start throwing Baptism parties with free use of the parish hall, it would be really nice.

  3. Ben Trovato says:

    Funerals are another great occasion for Catholic outreach. People will often want to come – and if you have a great liturgy (say the Gregorian Chant Mass for the Dead, sung well) it has a huge impact. At my late Mother’s funeral, we had the full works. Many who came were lapsed Catholics, many were protestants, and many were non-believers. All were profoundly moved. What the long term impact of that may be, I cannot tell; but in the short term it was massive.

  4. DB1995 says:

    @ Alice. I certainly sympathize as we’ve got 5 < 8, and my wife often gets nervous when I'm scheduling the baptism about 8 days post due date. (I'd prefer not to wait that long, but I don't want to risk scheduling it for before the child is born.) Hopefully, parishes are open to hosting receptions afterward, but I think arranging the reception is an opportunity for the godparents to take care of arrangements, details, etc. so as to relieve the burden from the mother and father in the days following a birth. At the end of the day though, the baptism is key, what if any reception is auxillary. Best regards.

  5. Midwest Girl says:

    Perhaps just as important is inviting others to the sacrament of marriage.

    My husband and I just got married three months ago. Many of our guests were practicing Catholics, but many “used to be Catholic” or never were. We had a gorgeous wedding Mass – no pew bows, no unity candle, no “fluff” – we just let the Mass speak for itself, and the fact we waited for marriage. Other than the fact we were very blessed to have 7 priests at the altar, we felt like we did nothing out of the ordinary – our priests just said the black and did the red.

    Our main celebrant spoke on the necessity of living out the sanctity of marriage – and spoke of the evils of living together before marriage, adultery, etc. with tact. That called out multiple people attending our wedding. He told it like it was.

    Out of everything at our wedding celebration, our guests commented on the beauty of the “ceremony.” This included one of the 70 year old monks in attendance (who did use the word Mass, by the way) who continued to speak highly of it several months after the wedding.

    My takeaway? Beautiful liturgy will change lives.

  6. Clinton says:

    I grew up in the deep South, and during my high school years I was often invited by my
    evangelical/Baptist classmates to attend services with them. It seemed to be the custom
    then for pastors to instruct the various youth groups, choirs, and societies in the church
    to invite guests in turn. I’d attend with my friends and sit with their family, be introduced
    around after the service, and usually end by having lunch with my hosts. I met a lot of
    lovely people. While I never seriously considered becoming a protestant, I do believe the
    experience of becoming familiar with my evangelical neighbors has inoculated me against
    buying into the gross stereotypes about them that are so common in today’s media.

    I really believe a similarly organized effort to invite friends and neighbors to Mass could
    benefit the Church for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, I believe many fallen-away
    Catholics are just an invitation away from coming back to the Church. I think that some of
    the less reverent behaviors we see at Mass might be dialed back a bit if people are aware
    that there are guests present and they’re making a first impression. My high school experience
    encouraged me to find out more about my own faith– more than I ever got in CCD– because
    of the conversations I was invariably drawn into with my protestant classmates. I think if
    Catholics found themselves having to answer their guest’s questions about our Faith, they’d
    likewise be encouraged to dig deeper in that catechism. And finally, I believe that even if our
    guests don’t end up in the Church for good, at least they’ll end up with a good opinion of us,
    and be less inclined to believe the nasty anti-Catholic stereotyping that seems to be on the rise
    these days. That’s a reservoir of goodwill that may be crucial to us in the not-too-distant future.

  7. NoraLee9 says:

    As a retired high school principal, the wife of a high school art teacher, and the mother of a 14 year-old girl, we invite teenagers to come to Mass (EF only) with us. Hubby is an altar server, and it makes a HUGE impression for the young men to see their teacher in a cassock, serving Mass. Although many of Catherine’s friends have joined us, Mike’s students are fascinated when they hear he serves a Latin Mass. We are very blessed. Not one of the kids I have brought to Mass has ever complained that it was unintelligible.

  8. Jennyfire says:

    We invited our Mormon friends to the baptism of our last baby. Who cares about any reception? Yeah it’s nice to provide others with food, if one is able, but ultimately, it’s the baptism ceremony that counts. It seems that many people, instead of having their baby baptized as soon as possible, feel pressure to plan and provide a reception and thus put off their baby’s baptism. It is kind and good to want to include and please others but naturally, baptizing your little one must come first.

  9. catholicmidwest says:

    As you may know, inviting a Mormon to a family baptism (or a beautiful wedding) can be a very powerful thing. Mormons undergo ceremonies in their temple around these events, called endowments, that many family members, even very close family members, are very often not allowed to attend. For some Mormons, even cradle Mormons, the experience of obtaining an endowment can be shocking and disorienting for many reasons, separation among them. To see the whole family together celebrating happily can be a revelation under these circumstances, even if they don’t say so publicly.

  10. Jennyfire says:

    Interesting, thanks. I already noticed that not everyone is invited to their weddings, as we’ve attended only receptions ourselves.

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