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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Catholic Quirks

This evening at dinner over a recipe called "Italian Stew" which I made, not quite following the directions, but don't tell anybody as the other brothers didn't seem to mind. My rule is if you've never had it before, you can't tell me I made it wrong.

Anyway, we were talking about Lenten traditions and I thought about how more people went to Ash Wednesday services, even though it wasn't a day of obligation than go to other days which are obligatory for Catholics. Our general theory is that at Ash Wednesday you get something for free. So, even if it is a forehead covered in soot, it's free so it's for me. It's also obviously pretty unique, perhaps the offering of the Body and Blood of Christ is seen as too ordinary. Still, ashes vs eternal life, it seems that the second should be much more desirable. I have another theory and it has to do with Catholic guilt. I think that the ashes serve as a public sign that you went to Mass on that day so that if you decide to skip out that day, everyone can tell who you are. This is why people go to great lengths to keep their ashes on for the entire day, even if they went to Mass at six in the morning.

So, I think I have an idea to help encourage more people to go to Mass, especially on those obligatory days that fall right in the middle of the week. Give everyone a sticker that says, "Be nice to me, I received the Eucharist today" like they do at blood drives. The priest/eucharistic minister could simply incorporate it into the normal Communion line - "Body of Christ, here's your sticker". Not only would it appeal to those seeking free gifts, but it would also motivate that Catholic guilt as no Catholic would want to be seen without their sticker.

What do you think? Should I tell Rome?


Blogger Karen said...

Hello Jeff, this is your cousin Karen. (Ask your mom if you can't place who I am). Your post regarding getting something for free on Ash Wednesday reminded me of the stickers they hand out when you vote that say "I voted". I really like getting and wearing the sticker as it gives me an opportuninty to feel important...

Anyway, I'm glad we can comment now.

An avid reader,


7:51 AM  
Anonymous Gerry H. said...

Father, I really think you have something there. I would bet Mass would show a significant increase in attendance. I know I would be more inclined to go to Mass more regularly if there was a chance people would ask me where my sticker was. lol

7:37 PM  

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