The weekend before Christmas, the Washington area was hit by 20 inches of snow. When I went to Mass that weekend, attendance was down considerably, probably only about 20-30% of a usual Sunday Mass.
I’m sure that many people could not make it out of their streets that day, but I couldn’t help but think of that low attendance when I read this story:
Despite its being a working day in China and even with the obstacles created by heavy snowfall in recent days, it was with great devotion that Chinese Catholics celebrated Epiphany on January 6. The heavy snowfalls in recent days have not yet ceased and in some areas it continues to snow. The condition of roads is still very critical, but yesterday morning, very early, churches, chapels and other places of habitual prayers were filled with faithful attending the Mass of the Epiphany.
The pastors of Beijing had recommended for older people to remain at home and pray, because of snow, but they found the church full of older people for the first Mass in the morning, at 6 am, as usual.
In the early Church, going to Mass was a subversive action – attendance could be a death sentence. Yet if those courageous first Christians had not gone, we would not have the Faith today. It appears that believers in China are continuing this tradition.
It seems to be a truism that the more one must suffer for his faith, the more sacrifices he will willingly make for it. Let us pray that we in America recognize what a great gift the Mass is and will be willing to make sacrifices to participate in the Holy Sacrifice.