Why is the program changing to emphasize Sunday Mass attendance in all the grades?
Vatican 2 said that the Eucharist - the Mass - is the source and summit of Christian life. If we are not attending Sunday Mass, the classes we attend are out of a context of Faith and connection to Our Lord and His Church. It would be like learning the alphabet without applying the letters to words - it doesn't make sense. The #1 priority of the week must be planning the time for Sunday Mass attendance, celebrating the Eucharist, and receiving Jesus - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity - necessary food for our souls.
Do we really have to go to Mass every Sunday - even in the Summer?
Yes. The 3rd Commandment, "Keep Holy the Lord's Day," applies to every Sunday. If you are traveling during the summer, there are Catholic churches everywhere in the world. To find out the Mass schedules in your vacation destination, go to www.masstimes.org
What if I or my child is too sick to go to Mass?
The Church does not require you or your child to go to Mass if you are sick.
Why do parishioners of IA have to go to Mass every Sunday - and other parishes do not?
This is not a rule particular to IA! The Holy Roman Catholic Church sets Mass attendance on Sundays as an obligation, and to miss the obligation a serious sin. For the past 2016 years, since the first Easter Sunday, the Eucharist - the Breaking of the Bread - has been celebrated with no interruptions. Jesus said, "Do this in my memory." It is a command... not a suggestion.
Isn't it between me and God whether I go to Mass - not your business?
Yes, most definitely. The task of submitting the Mass slips and tallying them is simply a reporting of the facts back to you. So often we think no one notices if we aren't at Church... You are missed! The Church needs your presence, and when you don't come, there is a void that cannot be filled by anyone else.
What are the consequences - in terms of the religious ed program - if we miss a lot of Masses?
As far as the younger grades, the Mass tally will be reported on the bi-annual progress report along with class attendance. For Confirmation, regular Mass attendance is one of the measures taken to determine whether the candidate is ready for the Sacrament.
Can't I pray with my family at home on Sunday if the day is very busy with lots of sports, etc., commitments?
No. The Church teaches us that it is an obligation to attend Mass, and to miss it is a serious sin.
Can I attend Mass at another parish?
Yes, just bring in the parish's bulletin to your next class.
Can I attend a non-denominational, or protestant, church?
Attendance at another denomination does not fulfill your Sunday obligation. The Eucharist - the Body and Blood of Christ - is understood and celebrated in a different way. Our Catholic tradition has the fullness of this great gift of Jesus to us, and that is not contained in the other denominations. There are other reasons, but that is the fundamental one.