Tell us: Are you going back to Mass yet? Why or why not?
As vaccination rates continue to rise across the United States, some Americans are beginning to resume in-person worship, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.
Have you started going back to Mass? Whether your answer is yes or no, what has gone into your discernment?
Join the conversation in the comments section at the bottom of this article. Selections from these comments appear below:
We have not returned to Mass, for a variety of reasons. One is that we have discovered a fulfilling and vibrant Zoom Mass community led by a priest we know well in another state, and we are loath to give that opportunity up. Will people like us who have found physically distant communities see our commitment to our local parish weakened? I think that will remain an open question for some time.
I haven’t and I’m still trying to figure out why I don’t feel compelled to get back in the practice of attending in person. It’s more complicated than just being cautious about being exposed to/spreading the virus. I regularly stream Mass on Sundays, but haven’t been as faithful to that as when I physically attended. I’m chagrined to say I don’t really miss the Eucharist. I still pray the rosary when I take a daily walk and managed to fairly faithfully pray the Divine Office during Lent. I don’t feel far away from the Lord—in fact, I feel sometimes that I have drawn closer. Perhaps this is a desert experience that will produce a renewed devotion to a vital part of our faith.
I have not started regularly attending Mass. My husband and I have kids that range in age from sullen teens down to wild toddlers who try to vault over pews, lie on the floor, roll under kneelers and occasionally lick the walls. Pre-Covid, Sunday Mass was purgatory. When I saw the re-opening guidelines, with all the safety precautions that require detailed following of directions and keeping one’s hands to oneself, as well as the removal/barricading of all our former timeout spaces, I knew our family as a group was going to be unwelcome for a long time. While the online Mass has many drawbacks, we can attend together as a family, even the dog.
I went back to Mass in person on the first Sunday of Lent. I had been watching an online Mass every Sunday prior to that, one that was as spiritually as satisfying as a virtual Mass could be. I felt the lack of receiving the Eucharist though, and was glad for the opportunity to attend in person once I was fully vaccinated. My parish follows all the recommended protocols about masking and seating, so I feel relatively safe. Anne Kiefer
My family has been going to Mass weekly since our parish reopened in the Fall of 2020 with a bunch of precautions—advanced reservations, spaced seating, masks, hand sanitizer at entry and before reception of the Eucharist and designated entry/exit locations. We felt a disconnect without that physical presence (ours, and that of the Eucharist), but we knew we could still attend online, and God would still be there.
Our parish opened up again on Pentecost weekend of last year. They had good protocols in place, and people were pretty good at following them. We felt safe returning. It had seemed like a long 11 weeks that we were without Mass.
I am going back to regular Sunday Mass and daily Mass since I am now fully immunized. I feel safe that if I do catch the virus the effects will be less severe or hopefully nonexistent. I will continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing.
For the most part, our parish has done a wonderful job. Two blessings have come from the pandemic. First, I have been able to serve as a eucharistic minister to fill a critical need. Second, I have helped our priest distribute “drive through” Communion. Never have I felt closer to my fellow parishioners, who need not only the Body of Christ, but human connection. As much as a sacramental need, there is a hunger for a familiar and friendly face.
Our family of seven has not returned. Our parish has taken zero precautions and no one wears masks or is asked to. Things have rolled on as if nothing at all has happened. We are all vaccinated and immune (we had Covid in March) but it’s hard to imagine returning to a parish that seemed to think our health unimportant. We have been devout daily Mass-goers and homeschool types for years—very involved in the parish—but I’m not sure we fit in the church anymore.