Matt Archbold graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 1995. He is a former journalist who left the newspaper business to raise his five children. He writes for the Creative Minority Report.
There are many benefits and dangers to attending daily Mass.
Spiritual benefits aside, one of the cool things is that when I walk in to our parish Church at 8 a.m. I'm pretty much the youngest person there by thirty years. It's pretty awesome. I feel like someone could call me a whippersnapper at any moment.
When I first began showing up intermittently, the daily mass-goer brigade looked at me with shocked expressions like I'd clearly just walked in the wrong door. Then they looked at me like maybe I was there to pick someone up.
When I genuflected and got into a pew they thought that this must be a dude who's hit rock bottom and he's turning to the Lord in his most desperate hours for prayer. But I wasn't at rock bottom and I wasn't there to pick up my mother. I just wanted to attend Mass more regularly.
But after I showed up a few times I was treated like a celebrity after Mass. Many of the folks came up to tell me that they loved seeing all my kids at Mass on Sundays and that they are all so well behaved. And even better, these are people who haven't even heard all my jokes before. It's like a whole new group that will think I'm funny for a few weeks...until I run out of jokes.
But beware. There are dangers to attending daily Mass. You are surrounded by the people who make the Church run. These are the people the pastor calls when he needs help. These are the people who run the bake sales. These are the people who sell raffles. They teach Catechism classes. And you know what happens when you hang out with responsible people. You get responsibilities through sheer osmosis. That's why I've made it a practice to hang out with irresponsible people my entire life like my brother Pat.
The thing is, it all starts so innocently. At first, they send the sweetest and frailest member of the group to just ask if you could possibly help them lift something heavy in the food cupboard in the basement of the rectory. Sure, you say. Then they ask you to help decorate the Church for Christmas season. Soon you find yourself talking to the parish secretary on a regular basis and she knows your name and manning a table at the Christmas bazaar.
It happens a little bit at a time. Be warned. In time they'll give you so many responsibilities you'll find yourself with bags under your eyes, your back out from lifting boxes, and sitting in the front pew for the daily rosary.
One day in the future I'll see someone young walk in to daily Mass and think, maybe they're here to pick up his grandmother. And then when they stay I'll shuffle up and ask for help with a particularly heavy box in the food cupboard.