I know there are many, many things that hold up a family getting to Mass on time. I know it’s always just as you buckle up the car seat that the baby does that enormous poo that you’ve been expecting for a week, and then you find your 8 year old son is wearing trousers meant for someone half his size and you just remembered that bag of clothes you said you’d bring for that family. There are many possibilities that can set you back a good half hour in the mornings.
There’s also the illusion that Sunday is a day of rest. Now, I know it is a day of rest in the proper sense, but in practice it is a day requiring effort and diligence like any other day. This can be hard if you’ve been going out to work every day this week and you would like just one morning to sleep in. Or if your partner has been up early every morning this week and you would like just one morning when he or she can lend a hand making breakfast and getting the kids ready. The reccurrence of the word “just” should ring alarm bells here.
Firstly, I don’t get to the church on time – at least, not when I hope to get there. I hope to get there an hour before Mass starts in order to get the music ready, and we’re usually twenty minutes late. But twenty minutes late for being an hour early is still forty minutes before Mass starts.
My kids kick a ball around to burn off some energy. About 10-15 minutes before Mass we round them up and settle into the pews, ready for Mass. And then people start arriving.
That hour before Mass would be an ideal time to practise the music. Anyone complaining about music after Mass would be better off getting there before Mass and lending a hand. Possibly coming along for a Thursday night practice would be better still.
So, how to get to church on time?
It’s just like arriving late, except you do it an hour earlier. Say Mass is at 10am – tell everyone we’re going to get there at 9am and work towards that. If there is dissension, then sweeten the deal with something for after Mass – Sunday is a great day for having fancy food.
An hour seems like a long time. What will I do all that time?
You can spend some time just like you do after Mass – talking outside, buying raffle tickets in the Maternal Heart Car Raffle, finding out if there are any particular differences about Mass today, see if anyone needs help setting up. You can even go into the church and pray!
But the chances of actually arriving with a whole hour to spare are so slim that I wouldn’t worry about that at all. Just pick your target, take aim and enjoy having time to get settled in the church before Mass starts.
* The picture is one of my husband’s drawings with prints, posters and postcards available via redbubble