The Mass is Boring!
Dear Sean, Tony and Brendan,
I have been meaning to contact somebody in the Church for some time and just spotted a short article in our local paper about your forthcoming Conference on how to revive the Catholic Church. (She is referring to ‘Towards and Assembly for the South’) I note from the article that one of your concerns is the dwindling numbers that are attending mass and this is related to the issue that I wanted to highlight.
I have 2 teenage daughters aged 15 and 17 years old. My husband and I have always attended Sunday mass every week together with our 2 daughters but about 6 months ago my 17 year old decided that she will not be attending any more and this has rubbed off on my 15 year old who after a few weeks decided to do the same. They are of an age now where I feel this issue is for them to decide and I am not going to argue with them about it. The shameful incidents in the Church’s history in Ireland has not helped in my efforts to persuade them to keep going to mass but the main reason they are turned off is that they find the priest boring and unfortunately I have to agree with them about this point. I don’t want to identify our local priest for 2 reasons – 1. he is a very kind, sincere man who I like very much and 2. wherever I travel around Ireland I usually see the same problem at mass so he is not the only one. Our local priest has a very monotone voice and his sermons always seem to be off the top of his head, no clear structure, not very interesting and delivered without much enthusiasm but as I just mentioned, I usually find the same problem whenever I attend mass at another church. I very rarely come across priests who can easily hold my attention and say mass with enthusiasm. Whenever I look around the congregation in my local church I only ever see very small numbers of young people and I presume the ones who have stayed away must feel the same as my daughters. I think most priests badly need a refresher course in their speaking/communication skills at mass and maybe it’s something you and your colleagues might think about.