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Good news in unexpected places

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Sep 02, 2008

 For the past 25 years I've been trying to get to Mass every day. My track record is very far from perfect, but I guess it's fair to say that I'm a "regular."

Over the course of those years, because of shifts in jobs, homes, and daily schedules, I've attended weekday Mass regularly at eight different parish churches and chapels. And at every stop along the way I've noticed something: The number of "regulars" at daily Mass keeps increasing. 

The increase isn't very dramatic, nor is it predictable. A single individual or a large family will begin showing up occasionally, then more frequently, and finally blends into the familiar daily congregation. A few regulars move away, but new arrivals take their place. During Lent some people will make an extra effort to get to daily Mass, and a few will continue that habit even after Easter. 

In the tiny little chapel where Leila and I attend daily Mass, there are only about a dozen pews. When we first began going there, nine years ago, we'd find maybe 10- 12 people in the congregation on a normal weekday morning. Now the usual number is closer to 25- 30, and some days we have to look twice to find an empty pew. 

Nobody is keeping score. But if you notice the size of a typical congregation this year, and compare it with last year, you'll see that the numbers are up. The numbers are always up.

At least that's my observation. I wonder: do readers have the same experience?

We hear so often about the problems facing the Church-- and heaven knows there are problems-- that sometimes I think we're slow to notice the hopeful signs. This might be a place to start.

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