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Total Rip-off Tuesday: Christmas and Easter Catholics

Wherein I "rip-off" another writer on the web. Not taking credit, just sharing good stuff. Today's choice is Randy Hain, discussing what my dad used to call the "Holy Annuals", or as Hain says "C&E Catholics": those folks who show up at Christmas and Easter.

I admit it: I love Disney World.  My parents took me as a child and my wife and I have taken our kids a few times.  We have visited Disneyland in California the last two summers since my sister-in-law moved near there a few years ago.  The theme parks make me reminisce about the fun adventures I enjoyed as a young boy and I experience a degree of nostalgic longing every spring for my family to experience Mickey and friends once again.

Hey, wait a minute!  Isn’t this supposed to be a blog about “Catholic” stuff?  Indeed.

I shared my somewhat embarrassing admission about Disney World because of an epiphany I had at the end of 7:30 a.m. Mass on Easter Sunday.  As I looked around the packed church filled with faces I had never seen before, I wondered what drew these “Christmas and Easter” Catholics (as I have heard them described) to our parish on Easter?  All of our Masses were packed that day, just as they were at Christmas.  What draws this group of people to Mass these two days each year?  I believe they are experiencing a nostalgic longing similar to the one I feel every year about Disney World.  The Christmas and Easter seasons still register for them as important days to attend Mass.  They are connected enough to their Catholic faith to realize the significance of celebrating the birth and Resurrection of Christ, even if they may not attend any other Masses the rest of the year.

I wonder why they no longer practice their faith and what made them fall away.  I am curious about why they make the effort on these two days to dress up and come to Mass.  Is it because they are looking for something or more importantly, someone?  Are their hearts restless and their lives empty?  Do they secretly long for the Church of their childhood memories the way I do about Disney World?

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