Weekly Sunday Mass participation is now under 25% among U.S. Catholics, irrespective of fallout from the COVID-19 restrictions. For American adults in general, religious membership has fallen under 50% for the first time in more than 80 years. And among younger adults, “nones” have increased markedly, including because of growing dissatisfaction with traditional morality.
What to do?
When people won’t seek out God, bring the Savior of the world to them.
In sports circles, strategists will argue that the best defense is a good offense. Keep your opponent off-balance and on the defensive, and you’ll more likely score and keep them off the scoreboard. Similarly, when Jesus says the “gates of hell shall not prevail against” his Catholic Church (Matthew 16:18), he conveys that we should go on the offensive in storming the strongholds of our spiritual enemies (see Ephesians 6:12).
Continuing the sports analogy, don’t expect success when you keep your best player on the bench. And when the MVP of your team happens to be the Word who “became flesh” (John 1:14), the God-man himself, all the more reason to take full advantage of his skillset.
Yes, the Sacrifice of the Mass is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324). But when the vast majority of Catholics aren’t making Mass every Sunday, and most Americans have never personally encountered Jesus, we need to bring Christ to them. We need to get the Lord on their radar, and his reality as Eucharistic Lord in particular, if we want to evangelize and draw them to (or back to) his Church.
Given our religious liberties in America, what better way to do that than regular Eucharistic processions throughout our nation? Do we really believe Jesus is truly present body, blood, soul and divinity in the Blessed Sacrament? Do we really believe he’s the New Covenant Passover Lamb whose one self-sacrifice we not only offer anew at every Mass, but partake of as well? (see 1 Corinthians 11:23–30).
Then let’s act like it.
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