If you were in St. Petersburg, you could have attended a “Mass of Belonging”.
From The Tampa Tribune:
Sacred Heart Catholic Church celebrates inclusion with ‘Mass of Belonging’
TAMPA — Frank Sammartino and Don Sullivan said they did not feel welcome at Catholic churches in New Jersey.
At first, the men, both 72, said they didn’t feel wanted at several churches after moving to Tampa. That changed in 2006, they said, when they first attended Sacred Heart Catholic Church on North Florida Avenue.
On Sunday, Sammartino and Sullivan were two of hundreds of parishioners who attended Sacred Heart’s “Mass of Belonging,” held at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.
The event was held several days after the conclusion of Pope Francis’ widely-covered first visit to the United States.
A gay couple who have been together 45 years, Sammartino and Sullivan said they were grateful to have been accepted at Sacred Heart.
“By the time we reached here, I had just about fallen away from the Catholic Church,” Sullivan said. “I couldn’t find a parish where I felt I belonged.”
“From Day One, they opened their doors up to everybody,” he said.
Sunday’s mass — which saw members of each of Sacred Heart’s six congregations under one roof — celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Franciscan Friars at Sacred Heart Parish and the birthday of St. Francis of Assisi.
Father Kevin Mullen, provincial minister with Franciscan Friars Holy Name Province in New York, […]
I don’t know a church anywhere that “excludes” anyone. At worst… or perhaps at best… there are places where nobody pays any attention to you at all. That’s not so bad, unless you are so used to being cooed over and affirmed in your wonderful just-the-way-you-are selfness that not being the center of attention makes you feel uncomfortable.
I fear that “welcome” is now code for “Even though you know you are in the state of mortal sin, go to Communion anyway!”
Reception of Communion has shifted in meaning.
If people don’t feel welcome, it’s not because of the Catholic Church. If people feel “unwelcome” (whatever that means) it’s probably because of the guilt (even residual) they feel because of their sinful behavior. They know they shouldn’t go to Communion because of their own sinful behavior.
But no one is telling them that they are not welcome. On the contrary! Even the formally excommunicated are supposed to attend Holy Mass.
In more and more places, as catechism weakens and the acid marinade of shifting mores unbinds the fibers of our Catholic identity, Communion is not the reception with awe of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ the Savior, but rather “You’re okay!”
Communion has come to mean, “They put the white thing in your hand and then we sing the song!”
I will return to my cantilena.
The only true renewal in the Church will take place with a revitalization of our liturgical worship. If that isn’t at the heart of a program to renew the life of the Church, we are wasting our time and distracting ourselves from the true goal of heaven.