The first of the seven "Precepts of the Church" is this: "To attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, and to rest from servile works." As a precept and, in fact, the first of the seven, this directive should certainly be prominent in the mission statement of every parish or, at least, in the mission itself. A parish with many parishioners attending Sunday Mass and few parishioners attending parish committees is a better parish than one with the reverse pattern. This is not to say that attending Sunday Mass and attending parish committees are mutually exclusive. Nevertheless, I sometimes hear parishes described as "vibrant" and "active" and "alive," and yet only 25% of its parishioners attend Mass on Sunday.
Tomorrow I will review the three principal reasons why many pastors and parishes today are reluctant to say, "You must attend Sunday Mass."