US archbishop categorises people who come to Mass

An American archbishop has categorised people who come to Mass and has spelled out to clergy how best to speak to them.

In a letter to priests and deacons, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit stated: “Many people have been sacramentalised, but never evangelised.”

Such people “knew about God, but they didn’t know him”.

Another group of people in the typical Mass congregation are the “practical atheists”, Archbishop Vigneron wrote.

These people do not reject God outright, but compartmentalise their faith and spend most of their lives in a “secular, consumer world”, living as if God did not exist or had no meaning in their lives.

Other people come to Mass “biased” by media, entertainment and academia, which tell them that faith is incompatible with reason.

Also present at Mass are the “seemingly dead”, who arrive late and leave early, do not pay attention or participate, and do not seem to want to be there.

Then there are “the bored and the blasé”, those who have seen only a “dumbed down and neutered” version of Christ and the Gospel.

But deep down, Archbishop Vigneron said, everyone at Mass wants the same thing – an encounter with Christ.

It is the priest’s responsibility to help facilitate that through his preaching.

Sadly, Archbishop Vigneron noted, many people in the pews have heard the phrase “God loves you”, but have not internalised it.

Without encountering the love of Christ, “the faith simply looks like rules and regulations”.

Ultimately, priests and deacons foster an encounter with God when they preach Christ crucified, he wrote.

“The cross is the single greatest demonstration of love ever seen. Help them to understand it. Repeatedly call their attention to it. Help them to understand God doesn’t simply tell us he loves us; He shows us.”

Among other suggestions the archbishop offered were occasional series of themed homilies, preaching using examples from the preacher’s own life and applying the readings to the “concrete situation” of the community.


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News category: World.

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