Why would anyone in their right mind leave the Catholic Church?

08-12-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

A few days ago, I was having a brief conversation with a priest friend about this and that in our lives as pastors who have just recently taken over parishes. Something he said about adoration during that conversation not only shocked me but also made me sad, and got me thinking. He said he had replaced the full day adoration schedule in his parish with Mass at noon because he didn’t want to give people the reason to leave the church because of adoration! To leave the Church because of adoration? What a pity! To leave the Church because of adoration would mean that even if those people he is trying to retain come to the noon Mass, they most likely have no idea who they are coming to encounter or receive. If they did, they would never have enough of Him let alone leave the church because of Him being exposed for adoration. Moreover, those who want to leave the Church will still find other reasons to leave the Church no matter what. Therefore, pampering to those few denies the many the opportunity to spend time with the Lord in adoration. However, an excerpt from Matthew Kelly entitled “Beautiful Eucharist”, gives a very good perspective to this issue of leaving the Church. Matthew Kelly says:

“I was asked once: What would have to happen for you to leave the Catholic Church? I thought about the question for a long time. I combed through the lowest moments in Catholic history, testing each to see if one of them would have been the breaking point that made me leave. But after thinking it through I decided I could never leave the Catholic Church. The reason is because I believe that Jesus is truly present-body, blood, soul, and divinity, in the Eucharist. Where else can I get the Eucharist? Sure, some other churches might have better music, but in the whole scheme of things music is trivial compared to the Eucharist. Other churches might have more engaging preachers, but these are trivial compared to the Eucharist. When we go to Mass on Sunday the danger is in thinking that the music and the homily are the most important things. Don't take the trivial and make it important. That's the way of the world. Get clear about what's really important, what matters most, and life will be a lot simpler and more joyful.

At Mass on Sunday, the homily could be in a language I don't understand (or in an accent difficult to follow, emphasis mine), the music could be a complete train wreck, there could be kids running up and down the aisles screaming at the top of their lungs, throwing crayons, and eating snacks (or eating crayons and throwing snacks), and that's OK because the moment when I receive the Eucharist is a pivotal moment in my week. It's a moment of transformation, a moment when I get to receive who and what I wish to become. And I could never leave that. It doesn't matter how good the music or preaching is elsewhere; I cannot leave the Eucharist.”

Dear Friends, I completely agree with Matthew Kelly that is why it is precisely for this reason that we are adding rather than reducing opportunities for us to encounter the Lord both at Mass and in adoration here in our parish. That is why our focus here in our parish is going to be more and more on the Eucharist. It is also the reason why we are in the process of soon building our Divine Mercy Perpetual Adoration Chapel to amplify these opportunities. On a positive note, in that regard, we are making a good progress with this project. We are at the stage of approvals of the documents by the City of Tempe. So, please, still join me in praying for the speedy success in this stage so that construction may commence soon.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Pray for us. I love you!