Q&A: Many worshippers are leaving Sacred Heart Church early, in the middle of the last hymn…

All questions come from parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish or St. Joseph Mission and they are presented to you anonymously. Questions and answers were presented in the Series “Because You Asked” from 2016.
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Question:

Many worshippers are leaving Sacred Heart Church early, in the middle of the last hymn. We are Protestant converts, and this is not done in Protestant churches. Protestants take joy in singing honor and praise to God and see hymns as an essential part of the worship service. It appears inappropriate and disrespectful to God and to the clergy, and the entire worship assembly to leave before Mass is ended. If pilgrims visit our church during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, how will it look to them? I suppose rushing to get out of the parking lot first seems a good reason to some, and we do understand there can be valid circumstances. However, shouldn’t God be our whole priority during the whole hour of Mass, as well as out of it?

Answer:

I am not sure that much of an answer is needed here as you seem to have said it well. I would just add three brief thoughts however. First, there is a difference between Chronos and Kairos that should be considered. In brief, Chronos represents worldly time (think wristwatch) and Kairos represents God’s time or sacred time. Within the Mass that mysteriously involves time and eternity meeting on the altar. While I agree that some need to depart early due to medical emergency or crisis response, for the rest of us we are urged to give God his due. In order to keep these two concepts straight, I know many priests who will refuse to wear a watch while celebrating Mass. And I have been known to be challenging to those who engage regularly in timing the homily or the Mass. Giving generously of our time to God is part of the Biblical concept of tithing. Second, it should be noted that there was only one person who departed from the 1st Mass early and that was Judas Iscariot. Not many of us would desire to be grouped into his category if we really put some thought into it. Finally, the priest signified the end of the Mass in a very specific and clear way as he says, “The Mass is ended. Go…(with some variation of blessing)”. This is a sending and it is often said that, apart from the Eucharistic consecration itself, the sending forth is, in fact, the 2nd most important part of the Mass. We are meant to have been transformed by the Eucharist and then sent forward to evangelize and once again bring Christ and the Good News back into the world. If you leave early, you are missing this as well as missing the final blessing of the Mass.

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Mass (English)

  • Monday - Saturday: 8:30am
  • Saturday Vigil: 5:30pm
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280 N. 4th St., Jacksonville, OR

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