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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