This week, we asked our members about missing church services on Sundays prior to their becoming Catholic. Was attendance a non-negotiable, even if you were running a fever? Did you take a break from going to church when your family went on vacation? Or was your commitment to Sunday service attendance somewhere in the middle? Here’s a sampling of the responses we got to this week’s community question:
“My views on attending church on Sundays fluctuated between thinking it was essential to non-essential. The biggest thing that changed when I became Catholic was what I thought I was doing on Sundays. As an evangelical, it wasn’t always clear what was useful about church. Insofar as a sermon with the purpose of teaching me theology to help me in my individual relationship with God was the centerpiece, I often thought I could learn more about the faith reading a book at home. As a Catholic, however, I’m participating in the Church’s highest worship of God, something that I can’t do alone.”
Brantly Millegan, ChurchPOP.com
“I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin so there was always work to do even on Sunday mornings. If we missed Sunday worship, it wasn’t a big deal. It was treated like a pious devotion, as opposed to a genuine encounter with the living God. Truly understanding the Eucharist makes all the difference.”
Deacon Joel Schmidt, thepracticingcatholic.com
“I would have thought it was a very big deal to miss church on Sundays. My wife and I were married (Episcopalian) on a Saturday and everyone at our church was surprised that we were in church on Sunday morning. I think I always knew that you can’t skip Sundays. However, the missing part was that Catholics believe that we ‘hallow the day’ by receiving Communion. So that part is new and enriching as a Catholic.”
Dr. Taylor Marshall, author, “Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages”
“At home, going to church on Sundays growing up was non-negotiable. If we were on vacation, we were a little wary of the theology at churches we’d not been to, and would from time to time hold Bible studies as a family on Sunday mornings. While very important, it wasn’t the same sense of urgency that I have now when it comes to making sure Sunday Mass is on my schedule now when traveling.
These days, when my family goes on vacation as a large group, although they’re all pretty committed Christians, most stay home on Sundays and opt for private individual Bible study. Vacation is one of those few times when I actually have the opportunity to go to daily Mass, which is something that I consider a force for renewal in my life- although it elicits the occasional funny look from my non-Catholic family members who don’t understand why I’m not sleeping in!”
Matt Swaim, Communications Coordinator, The Coming Home Network
“I always looked forward to going to church because I was usually serving in some capacity such as teaching, preaching, singing, etc., and because looked forward to the fellowship, instruction and worship. I considered church as not something to miss without a very good reason. And I believed in the church as part of God’s plan and important for spiritual growth and community.
When we traveled we often stayed with family and friends and would attend their churches with them. At the same time we didn’t trust all churches but applied our litmus tests for orthodoxy and whether we thought the pastor was walking with the Lord. We thought a lot of them were out to lunch theologically and biblically.”
Howard Hampson, CHNetwork Community Forum Moderator
What about you? Prior to becoming Catholic, what level of importance did you give to attendance at Sunday worship? Has that developed or changed any along with the development of your understanding about the meaning of the Eucharist? Please share in the comments below, and be sure to check out this and other great conversations taking place in our Community Forum!