“Young adult” is practically a synonym for “mass-hopper” in my archdiocese. Ok, so I made that word up and some young adults indeed attend the same parish weekly. They sit in the same pew. They sit next to the same people every week. They park in the same parking spot.
I am not one of them. I’m a student working weekends. Mass is a priority that I attend whenever and wherever it fits.
I look forward to the opportunity to attend mass at the same time and parish every week perhaps post-college. But for now, I will cherish the lessons and blessings this season brings. Here’s a few:
1. I am surrounded
I live near a Catholic university which offers numerous mass times including one as late as 9PM. There’s even an afternoon mass in Spanish. Vigil masses on Saturdays happen at many parishes, too. Mass as early as 7:30AM on Sundays. There are literally dozens of other times. Masstimes.com makes this easy (I prefer the classic version), though I encourage you to double-check for accuracy on a parish’s website. Because I live in a relatively large city, these options exist. Other cities, states, and countries may not have this accessibility.
2. The Lord connects people
Becoming familiar with other parishes has allowed me to consequently meet their priests and parishioners. These connections are wonderful. The young adult in my community is growing, rejuvenating, and thriving. Many small groups are forming and draw from multiple parishes. It is exciting to visit other parishes and witness this alongside the cornucopia of other works.
3. People worship differently
The local Spanish mass often incorporates many aspects of Hispanic culture. My home parish engages the local African and Hispanic community regularly during mass and other celebrations including this weekend for Pentecost. Another parish offers both high and low masses in Latin. This puts the catholic in Catholic.
4. Parishes are reaching out and building bridges
Some parishes provide different adaptive tools helpful to older adults with hearing. Some of the parishes offer special seating with cushions useful to older adults who may experience a decrease in trunk support. Other parishes offer childcare during RCIA classes. Parishes are creating bridges that ease accessibility to the Church.
5. Parishes are growing
I may not have the numbers to back this up, but consistently attending multiple parishes for mass includes exposure to all the ministries and outreach. Parishes support local nonprofits and sister parishes. Young people invite their friends to mass and dinners. People are being intentional about relationships. Parish life is real and engagement is happening.