I would like to encourage us to think more as a community when we are at Mass, rather than as individuals. In fact, we gather together at Mass to form a communion of faith for the praise and worship of God. That is why there can't be an app for Mass! We cannot do it alone. Since we are about forming a communion of believers at Mass, we need to be welcoming of all members of our community. In particular, I am thinking of the children and infants of our community. They belong at Mass as much as any other members of the community. They need patience and understanding (as do their parents) as they learn to participate in Mass appropriately. Sometimes they might need to go out from Mass for a break, but they and we are all God's children and belong in His house. It’s especially nice to see children sitting up front where they can see what is going on in the Mass.
Another way to be hospitable at Mass is to make room for others. In general, it would be thoughtful for those who arrive early to sit in the front and to move to the middle of the pews so that those who arrive later can easily find a seat. Sometimes it seems that we "stake out" spots in the back and on the ends! Being generous and flexible about where we sit at Mass is actually a form of evangelization. It literally makes it more inviting for others to come to Mass.
I also want to ask you to remain in your places at Mass until it is over! In other words, please do not leave the church before the priest does. We don't leave Mass when we have gotten what we want out of it. We are participants in Mass, not consumers or spectators. The community needs you there, whether you realize it or not. Your presence matters.
Una de las cosas que estoy aprendiendo a medida que me involucro más en la comunidad hispana de Santa Rosa es el espíritu generoso de la comunidad que forma parte de la Misa. Nos reunimos como la familia de Dios en la Misa. Todos somos hijos de Dios, incluyendo a los niños entre nosotros. A veces, los niños pueden necesitar atención durante la Misa, pero es bueno que estén presentes.
Espero que siempre podamos tratarnos como hermanos y hermanas con amor y respeto. Pueden surgir desacuerdos, pero la paciencia y la comprensión son siempre la respuesta correcta. Aunque estoy limitado en mis habilidades en el idioma español, experimento la aceptación de la comunidad. Espero que siempre mostremos tal aceptación a todos en la comunidad.
¡Tengamos una buena y santa Cuaresma juntos!
el P. Baker