March 23: Learning to Listen

Day 20

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When you look at the different relationships in your life, you probably realize that some are going better than others. You might realize that some have become a little dysfunctional. You might realize that some are in a bad spot or in a bad patch. And there’s probably one or two of those relationships that you’d really like to see blossom in a new way; you’d really like to see them thrive at a new level. And sometimes, it’s your best relationships that you want to see go to even another level.

If you want to improve a relationship, one of the fastest and easiest ways to improve a relationship is to become a better listener.

Every relationship improves when we really learn to listen in a deeper way, in a new way, in a fresh way. And that, of course, includes our relationship with God.

If there is really a particular relationship in your life that you would like to see thrive and blossom in a new way, really focus on how you’re listening to that person. Are you giving that person your full attention? When you’re with that person, are you open to distractions and disruptions, or do you put your phone away and block off distractions and disruptions so you can give that person your full attention?

If we really do think about our listening, if we really do focus on our listening in a new way, I think that changes the way we experience Mass when we go to church on Sunday. When we go to church on Sunday, I think very often it’s easy to fall into a passive state. And in a culture obsessed with entertainment, it’s easy to fall into a passive state that is completely disappointed from an entertainment perspective.

That’s good, because we don’t go to church on Sunday to be entertained. We do go to church on Sunday to listen to the voice of God in our lives. We do go to church on Sunday to receive Jesus Christ truly present in the Eucharist. And so, our involvement at Mass should be much more active, especially when it comes to listening.

One of the things that has helped me become a great listener at Mass is the Mass Journal. I’ve been keeping a Mass Journal every Sunday for 17 years now. I’ve got a whole shelf of Mass Journals in my study at home where I write, and it’s an amazing source of inspiration.

It’s amazing to go back and take off the shelf 2001 and look at the things that God was saying to me in 2001. It’s astounding to see how, in 2001, I was making a huge deal about something, and it’s not a big deal. In fact, it was never a big deal. I was making a big deal out of nothing.

It’s interesting to go back and see the things I was really struggling with in 2001, and I’m not struggling with that thing anymore. God’s grace has come into that part of my life and liberated me.

But it’s also interesting to see that there were other things I was struggling with in 2001, and I’m still struggling with them today. And it shows that God’s voice in our lives is present, it is active, it is personal.

God is deeply interested in personally communicating with us in a very powerful way. The question is, are we listening?

Next Sunday when you go to church, go to church as a proactive listener. I think you’ll be astounded at the messages God is delivering to us every singly Sunday of our lives.

“Every relationship improves when we really start to listen, especially our relationship with God.”

Matthew Kelly, Resisting Happiness

Share this quote.


The most practical way to improve all our relationships is to continually become a better listener.


Make a conscious effort to listen to God and the people in your life. One way to do this is with Matthew’s suggestion of a Mass Journal. You can request one for free from Dynamic Catholic (just pay shipping).


Lord, help me to listen to your voice at Mass. I know if I do, I will go out focused, energized, and invigorated.

Today’s personal reflection features Dynamic Catholic team member Peter Garcia. Peter is our web administrator, coming to us from San Diego, California. Peter enjoys painting and drawing, wants to travel to Japan, and delights the Dynamic Catholic team with his baking skills.

How do you approach Mass?

Let us know in the comments!

We encourage you to comment on this reflection. All viewpoints are welcome, but we ask that you remain on-topic and respect other members of the discussion. Please remember that we are trying to help each other become the-best-version-of-ourselves. We reserve the right to make editorial decisions regarding comments, including but not limited to removal of comments. Be Bold. Be Catholic.®

  • jddimi

    I too have found the more active I participate in the Mass and listen to the Priests prayers throughout, the more I have learned how it all flows together. The readings from the Old Testament, the Psalms and the New Testament all share the same theme along with the prayers in the Mass and it all follows the Church seasons of either Ordinary time or Advent or now Lent. It is so much more beautiful then I ever remembered as a kid listening. I get so much more out of every Mass just by fully listening.

  • Jim Snyder

    I try to read the readings and gospel before Mass as well as listen to the Daily Readings audio and watch the daily video reflection at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops website. I find this gives me a better understanding, puts the liturgy in context, and encourages me to really listen to the priest during the homily.

    • Jean

      That’s what I do as well, for me it is a big help. I find true peace when I am at Mass.

    • roniquebreauxjordan

      ..this was recommended to me when I participated in the “Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Mission” book group…I’ve been incorporating this habit since…#readthereadingsbeforeMass…take time to reflect …apply..

      • Jim Snyder

        Thanks for the affirmation. I admit that I can do better on the application side of the equation.

  • Susan A.

    I love mass! I especially love Sunday mass. I sit in the same pew, take a few deep breathes, close my eyes and focus on Jesus and I give thanks for my blessings. I sing along with the choir, pray with the assembly, listen to The Word, ask for forgiveness, pray for my family and our world, receive the body and blood of Christ,
    write a few words in my journal and leave with “marching orders” for the week. Mass fills me up! I love mass!

  • Jane Deutschlander

    Active participation is also important to me – I attend a mass that has incredible, upbeat music and I sing my heart out in praise. It doesn’t matter that I don’t have a perfect singing voice because there is so much spirit at this mass that everyone joins in. I make a conscious effort to participate in a meaningful way – not just passively. I pre-read the readings before mass and then just listen to the word of God and try to notice what stands out to me. As Ilisten to the Homily I reflect on my life over the past week and try to take something that I can apply in the week to come. I absolutely love attending evening mass on Sundays – It sets me up for living my best life in the week to come.

    • Alice Ann Hengesbach

      Jane, it is written “make a joyful noise!” LOL! I love it when others near me at Mass also are singing. So sing your heart out … I’m glad you do.

      • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

        Hi ,Alice Ann, thanks for saying this ! You remind me of your Auntie Alice both in looks and this comment ! So love having found YOU here . *_* K

        • Alice Ann Hengesbach

          Thank you, Karen. Such a compliment. My aunt was a fantastic person who brought God’s grace to so many including me. : )

          • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

            Alice Ann,could you fill me in on the later yeas of her life . I’d love to know more . I really hear her in your comments . Two dolls for sure ! Love. K

          • Alice Ann Hengesbach

            Karen, I would be happy to but not in this forum. If you would like to correspond, please go to my Facebook page and send me a message with your mailing and/or email address. It will be my pleasure to share Auntie’s story. Blessings.

          • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

            Alice Ann , I’ll be glad to .*_* K

    • Adrianna

      This is exactly what I do too! I realized something in my heart was missing when I switched parishs. I joined the choir and have been singing with my new parish choir for 5 years now. It’s amazing how much music helps me focus through out the mass. Especially going to Tuesday night practices. It prespares me for Sunday’s mass.

    • Elaine Cooper

      Ever see the Christmas movie Prancer? It’s my favorite. The little girl loves to sing but is off key haha, everyone looks at her always. It never stops her, she sings her little heart out. I’d be voted right off American Idol, fast! It won’t stop me either. At home they say , God mom can you not? That’s when I sing louder. Love your remark. 🙂

      • Trudy Ray Parmarter

        Singing in Mass has always opened up my heart and ears to take in what God has in store. When I was young a pastor said.”If you have a beautiful voice sing out so God can hear the voice He has given you; if you don’t have a beautiful voice sing out so God can hear the voice He has given you.” LOL

  • Margie Suarez

    I find that if I become AWARE of what is going on in the Mass, and if I am open to God, He speaks. I try to be reverent in my approach to receive communion. When the priest says, “Let us pray.” I use prayer body language. I come into prayer with the priest by listening to the prayer that he is putting before God. It has taken me time to get to this place. It is easy to fall back into the looking around, the day dreaming, but always try to pull back into the Mass. This morning I am going to daily Mass.

  • Michael Baur

    I approach the mass by shutting down all outside thought and give al of my focus to the mass. I have learned activley listen to what god Is saying through the mass in more out of it. If I let outside distractions in, I loss parts mass.

  • Lynn Nguyen

    I love mass! I close my eyes during most of mass to eliminate distractions, and try to sit as close to the front as possible.

    When I listen to the gospels, I try to imagine myself in the story, as a participant or a fly on the wall, or put myself in the shoes of the person in the story. For example, when Jesus was washing the feet of his disciples, serving them, showing us how we should serve others, if I were there at that moment, I ask myself, how would I feel, what would I do, and how would I behave or react if I was there in person. It changes my whole experience of the mass. It’s truly life changing.

    • Jennifer Haeussler Brewer

      That’s a good idea.
      I get so distracted by the children. I LOVE watching them that I miss some of the prayers…
      I have been going to daily mass because there are fewer people and no children; I can concentrate better.
      I’m going to try closing my eyes this Sunday!
      Thanks for sharing that

      • Lynn Nguyen

        Jennifer, I used to watch children during mass too! They are so beautiful! I open my eyes and try to focus on the alter but once I start feeling distracted, I’ll close them again. It works so well 😊

        • Chris Rudd

          Wow! So many perspectives on positioning oneself at mass. For me, I prefer the middle because I feel a sense of peacefulness surrounded by the community of faithful believers at my parish. We are gathered in Christ’s name. Peace and blessings to all.

      • colleen

        Jennifer, we ARE the distraction I’m afraid! And we used to go to daily Mass with the children all the time. Honestly, I get distracted knowing we are distracting people from prayer. Fortunately we are in a wonderful parish, and have only had positive input from other parishioners about our children, but I am still self-conscious about it. Our kids are well-behaved for the most part, but they are still kids, and the sheer number of them is a distraction all by itself! I’m glad, though, that you enjoy watching the children at Mass. I hope we are not distracting people at the daily Mass, since my kids are usually the only kids there when we go.

        • Trudy Ray Parmarter

          The children at Mass bring joy to my soul. Thank you.

        • Beverly

          Jesus always said “Let the children come”. Kids at Mass are a wonderful joy! Even when they are crying! Instead of being annoyed at kids maybe we could say prayers for their mom & dad who probably need them.

        • K. D.

          I love that children sit around us (ours have grown up so we love having little ones beside us)…if it gets kind of wild, I offer up a prayer to God that we are just a big mixed lot of old, young, coughing, sneezing, wiggling and giggling people who love Him and that we ARE all please accept us and love us as we are. It’s important that we remember how Jesus admonished his own disciples when they were trying to keep the children away from him:

          Luke 18:
          15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

          We must welcome the children, we must love them into the Body of Christ…But, if they are being too disruptive, then respectful parents should remove them until they can more quietly return. We are all one big family…that includes our children!

          • Mary

            Long ago, I took my 3 little boys, (ages 1, 3 and 5 at the time) to Mass while I was on a long car trip without my husband. My middle son was always very active, and this day was no different – he kept running up and down on the wooden pew seat with his little wooden soled sandals. I had my hands full with the baby and was really just overwhelmed. A kind, grandmotherly stranger moved over and sweetly wrapped her arms around my little terror and hdelped him fold his hands and pray.

          • K. D.

            although you look at it as her helping you out…wrapping her arms around your little one probably made her day! No accident that God had placed her right by you for a reason…and maybe that reason was an blessing for both of you!

          • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

            K. D. AMEN ! was the Mom with 5 youngsters and my husband was with me all the time . Older people love being able to help that way sometimes .Now with 11 grandchildren (only 2 near and are older) I love it !

          • K. D.

            me too! if we want our children (all children are ours) to love the church and continue into their adult lives, it is important to love them into the church. Too many are leaving the church when they become adults…

    • Mog

      I sit up the front, because I am in a wheelchair. This has been for about 3 years now. It is great to take away all the distractions. I like to sit with my eyes closed for the same reason. Only problem is I have 2 hearing aids & the loop system hasn’t worked for ages!! I have politely mentioned it several times, it’s supposed to have been checked out & working…I try to cut off & pray but find it very hard or read what the priest has written on the newsletter, he sees me too. But am still searching for a way to hear & not feel cross about it, for the last year. Moving churches isn’t an option for several reasons.

      • Lynn Nguyen

        Mog, I’m sorry that you’re not able to fully experience mass because of a technical issue. I pray that they find a solution. But just your being present at mass even though you can’t hear, God sees this and will provide.

        • Mog

          Thank you for prayers.

      • Erin

        Mog, I am also praying that your church resolves this issue. What is the name/location of the Parish? I am happy to call in and give an anonymous tip 🙂

        • Mog

          Thank you, Prayers will do! It is hard to push things too much in my position, but all the kind comments, make me realise I need to keep pushing. I know there are others can’t hear!! A couple are elderly & accept it as their hearing. I got up to Westminster Cathedral last year & it was lovely to hear with the loop system. There is another lady was pushing it, but I rarely see her as we are at different Masses, she is very frustrated.

          • Shannon Nettles Gonzales

            As someone who also wears two hearing aids, I understand your frustration. Please continue to let those in charge know what is going on. No one should be deprived of the Mass for what is likely an easy fix. I will pray God will give you the words to get your message across.
            A mass journal is helpful in these situations, too. I started one because one of our priests has an accent that makes it hard for me to understand. The journal keeps me focused and prevents me from zoning out.

      • Elaine Cooper

        Next mass , roll right up to the Altar entryway. When they try to move you, politely say, I can’t hear anything! It’s your speaker system, I’ve reported it several times, but it’s still not working. Do it for as many masses as you need to, until they fix it.
        Squeaky wheels get the most oil, yes even wheelchair wheels. 🙂
        Good luck to you.

      • Lea Novak

        Our church has a problem with the sound system, but they’ve tried everything, even bringing in sound system people who handle large cathedrals! The voices still can get quite garbled in the middle and back portions of the church. I’ve suggested the idea of hanging cloth banners next to all the windows, to absorb some of the echoing reverberations, but nothing has been done about that yet. I hope they can fix the problem for you!

        • Mog

          Thank you, the frustrating part is that it used to work!! So I know it can.
          But I am very aware of limitations for disabled everywhere…
          I often feel a second class citizen, I have had to come to terms with disability fast, over past 3 years. I will pray for all people and their churches struggling to hear with sound systems.

          • Ma

            Have you tried talking to them on a week day vs Sunday, just a thought! 🙏🙏

      • faithnhope

        Maybe you could look up the readings before Mass time. I try to do that so I can think about them, particularly the Gospel. Sometimes I’m not able to hear the person doing readings or there are other distractions that prevent me from getting the full message. But if I do the readings ahead of time, I still know what it’s about for that week. 🙂

        • Mog

          I read Mass readings every day. As I go Saturday night to Mass I haven’t read Sunday readings. Thank you I will make a point of reading them in advance, I do sometimes manage before Mass begins.. but would prefer to do it earlier.

      • Estelle Palmer

        Last Sunday I looked around and saw several people with hearing aides and wondered how well are they able to participate in Mass? I have been to churches where the songs and liturgy are on a big screen captioned…too bad more parishes aren’t aware of the issue especially with the aging population. As a lector, I try to speak clearly and use the microphone.

      • mjtav240

        Hello Mog: I work with Deaf/Hard of hearing children as a teacher consultant. I’m guessing you’ve tried talking to your audiologist or ENT doctor about this? They should be able to troubleshoot the problem, or give you equipment that actually works. I’m familiar with the loop system and it seems that technology is wonderful, but only if it works! If there’s anything you think I could do to help you, please let me know. This is an area that I’m passionate about, especially for Mass! Hopefully, we can make it happen for you!! God Bless You !!

        • Mog

          Thank you so much, I hadn’t thought of audiologist! It is only the church that I am really affected by, but the Mass is the most important part of my life. It’s another option to try.

      • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

        Mog My husband and I can REALLY understand your pain . By following the Mass parts in a little missal (plenty to choose from !) this helps . The homily is an enormous problem for the hearing impaired . Boy, what a gift a written transcript would be . Anybody working on it ? I gotta’ work on this somehow . We may not get all the little humorous bits on a transcript but would get the salient points and maybe a 15 sec. few words for the week ahead .Where are all those techies when you need ’em ? The missal IS doable now though. Love . *_* K

        • Mog

          I do follow the readings on news sheet, but missal a great idea. Thanks

    • Ronda Jewell

      Lynn, beautifully said. Amen

  • BR

    One thing I’ve done is to change where I sit. I used to sit in the back or on the side. Someone suggested that I try sitting up front. I did and it made quite a difference. I can see all of the actions of the priest better, I am less distracted by all of the people in front of me (because now there are very few), I feel more connected to all of the scripture readings and I’ve become a more attentive listener. Give it a try…you may be surprised at how much more you will get from Mass.

    • Connie McFadden-Chase

      I also sit up front and this helps me remain active in the mass and I seem to drift away in thought much less often. I also feel closer to not just what is happening but to the purpose of the Mass.

      • Elisabeth Young

        A small 4×6 book- with commentary on one side and a blank page on the other- set up for 52 weeks plus extra pages in the back. You take it to Mass and listen for the one thing God is telling you for the upcoming week- it might be in the prayers, reading homily-

    • Karen in FL

      We started sitting in the front row when our daughter was little, to help her not be distracted. She’s now 32, and my husband and I still sit there, so WE focus better!

      • Carl

        Thank you for bringing back a precious memory and putting a smile on my face! Reading through the comments today, it did not dawn on me how, why, or when I started sitting up front at Mass – until I read your comment. My grandmother went to the 6:00 AM Mass every day and “Her” seat was in the front row on the Epistle (right) side of the main aisle. On the rare occasion when she was not early, her seat was left for her. When we visited her, it was our family “row.” Now, almost 72 years later, I can let my wife know how it came to be that we sit up front.

        We also close our eyes (just as my grandmother did) as it helps us to focus better and listen more intently – but open them wide to read the hymnal and join in song.

        • Scott Varnum

          Thanks Carl for sharing…someone in High School a peer had shared with me their practice of closing their eyes during the readings and homily to listen more intently and block out potential distractions…it’s a practice I still do today now in my 50’s to help me be more present and a better listener to how God is speaking to each of us.

    • Up front

      Up front and center is where I’ve been since I was a little girl. In fact, I don’t understand why people would have it any other way. It’s awesome up there.

      • Janet Marusiak

        Oh for sure, I have sat in the back if I am not feeling well but it is like you are an outsider. When people go to see a play or band do they want to sit in the back row, no way and so all the better in church as we are in heaven in the Mass. Getting involved as a reader or usher or just singing, makes you connect and enjoy our precious Mass.

      • Lifeisgood

        Well we can’t all sit up front. There is not room 🙂 Personally I feel too “self conscious” sitting up front. Like everyone is watching me. I feel more centered and quieted and focus more easily sitting in the middle area. The back is too far away. Perhaps it also depends on the layout of the church??? I can’t help but think that sitting ANYWHERE at Mass is so much better than NOT being at Mass 🙂 God bless us all!

        • Kathy

          I love to sit up front for all the reasons stated above, but I loved what Kathy Burns said about her perspective! Best of all, though, is your statement that ANYWHERE at Mass is so much better that NOT being at Mass. Bingo!

        • Wilfred Gienger

          This is my answer too.

        • Elephant


        • Bev

          So well said. We can’t all sit in the front row. I also have visions of some individuals in my church taking on the role of Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory–“You’re in my spot.” I think it is awesome that Matthew has everyone thinking of & sharing ideas on how to be more engaged in mass. God bless you.

          • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

            Bev Sheldon ! You really gave me a good laugh ! Perfect analogy , too . OOOh that was good .

          • Bev

            Thank you, Karen, for sharing my sense of humor.

        • Genny

          Life is good has a good reason and also my conscious tells me that the “first will be last and the last will be first” so just to be “safe” I sit at the middle I closed my eyes to listen and not get distracted…sometimes I drift away…and I remember little Saint Theresa of Lexious that said…I’m a child of God…

    • Teresa

      I’ve been sitting up front since I had kids. They paid better attention and I did too

    • Kathy Stenard Burns

      It does help to change your seat. I used to sit in the front pew, not because I’m so holy but it had more leg room (I’m tall). It wasn’t until I was sitting in the back pew, center aisle at daily mass that I saw the direct connection between the priest and the corpus. They both had their arms outstretched! Father was praying the Eucharistic prayer and Jesus was hanging on the cross suspended above the altar. Wow! Sometimes a little distance can give one perspective. Try a new seat this week-see what’s new.

      • Hannah Briseno

        I really appreciate your comment about sitting further back than directly up front. I love sitting in the very front row because it helps me be less distracted. But then I thought, not everyone can sit in the front row so what about them?? I never really considered that someone might like the back seats because it gives them new perspective on the celebration. Thank you for sharing this!

        • Chelsea

          One morning, I got to Mass right as it was starting, so I had to sit in the back under the choir loft. I couldn’t hear the music, words, or Priest very well. After that, I made sure to sit up closer… and get to Mass on time!

      • Linda Jewett Pierson

        Hi Kathy GREAT to see you on here. I too sit always in the front. I am easily distracted and the celebration is way more intimate for me. It’s interesting that everyone has their own take. It’s great that we can celebrate together no matter the seat or row.

        • Carmen Villalba

          Beautiful how we celebrate TOGETHER. I knew that but hadn’t thought of it that way before. I started reading the book Resisting Happiness, and I started bringing a Mass Journal to church with me in Sundays. It was hard at first, but it really keeps me focused and I noticed that other people have one too! God bless

          • Chelsea Pittman

            Do you know if the Mass Journal from this site is just blank pages to jot ideas down on? I’d like to start doing this.

        • Cherie Succheralli

          I too am easily distracted and that’s why I like to be about the middle and I love when no one sits in front of me, because I feel like the priest is talking directly to me.

          • Karen Guye

            Cherie…I feel the same way…I sit in the middle and i don’t want anyone blocking my view bc when the priest is talking I feel like he is looking at me.

      • Joyce W.

        When I sing in the funeral choir, we are up in the choir loft and we can see the priest and the whole congregation. It is a very different perspective. I do find it hard not to be able to see the elevated Host from this distance, though, but good to see how we are part of the whole, which is not obvious when one is seated halfway down the church.

      • Rosa

        Wow I never thought of that! I like to sit up front because I’m very short and cannot see when there are people in front of me. Our chapel has a glass wall behind the altar that’s opt to the church. Sometimes when I cannot see the altar I see the priest in the glass so I see it ad orientem. I think I will try the back…beautiful image. Thank you!

      • Joyce Lamb

        I like that idea too. What fun to experiment in a positive way!

      • Jeff Peck

        Some new things my wife and I do that also have changed us dramatically.
        1. When the priest raises his arms – raise your arms – this will be difficult at first but soon it becomes automatic and we need to raise our arms and voices in mass – it will change you.
        2. When the priest or deacon bows to the book of the Gospels – at our mass – they will then show it to the congregation – my wife and I did as the priest or deacon did (bowed to the book) and that is another game changer. Again it is different but it changes you -guess what now many others are doing the same.
        3. All of these actions came from the bible – not sure why they are not prevalent today. Lets be game changers and show others our faith and courage to be active.
        4. Much Love and Grace to all – God Loves You

        • Huguette Tanis

          Huguette,. Thanks fr sharing, I do the same at the mass. Love to be part of the celebration.

        • Linda

          Two things I have done
          1. I read the bulletin part about the Sunday readings online ( it’s easy to get)
          2. Since my church has recently lost several good homily speaker priests I listen to the Mass online. If it is noisy I plug in ear phones. Close my eyes and hear every word
          If it’s a powerful message I can listen again to be sure I got every word

        • Sandra Batard

          Jeff, I do all of the above. It has changed me and has enriched my experience. I hope more people would try it. Don’t be shy…you are in church and the only one who truly counts is right there with you. The very first time I lift up my arms, I did it because I felt as if someone was pushing my arms up. W hen I did, I felt as if Jesus was holding my hands. After this amazing experience… I always do.
          One more suggestion to Jeff’s things to do:
          If you are taking communion and if you can’t or wont take the wine, please show reverence to the blood of Christ. Pause and bow your head. Small gesture from our part to someone that gave his life so we can have an eternal life. Please don’t just walk by.
          God bless you

          • Frances Peterson

            A Capuchin corrected us from bowing towards the chalice holding the Precious Blood after having received the sacred host. He explained that we do NOT need to do that. its bad theology. Well that got our attention! I was intrigued.He said once you have Christ in you under the form of bread, you are a tabernacle. You no longer need to bow as you pass either the chalice or the tabernacle. He said if we really believe Christ is present in us in the Holy Eucharist, then we should show it by knowing that the entire Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity was in us after reception of the Host.

          • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

            Frances Peterson,I wish I knew him . What a great teacher ! Lucky you ! Very sound…makes perfect sense . Love it ! *_* K

          • Chris Robbins

            Frances, yes as a Catechist, this is taught to our young and adults preparing for Eucharist. Good catechesis!
            Thank you

          • Caey Riley

            So interesting! I never knew that and I always genuflect in front of the Altar just after receiving Communion. I guess I shouldn’t do that. Thanks for enlightening me!

          • Gumbo Lilly

            Thank you for the reminder to not just walk by the offering of the Blood of Christ. I don’t receive and have felt awkward “just walking by”. Now I won’t!!! I will bow…..then walk on. I love how God allows us to teach and support one another.

        • Judy Twomey

          Like this! Brave souls! Catholic….giving praise!

      • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

        Kathy Stenard Burns It can be a whole lot different on a busy Sunday ! Maybe not a front row seat , I think anywhere in the front ,closer area works . If you’re short that can be better or vertically challenged…like me . HaHa! Daily and Sunday can be night and day in some places. *_*

    • Jennifer Haeussler Brewer

      I sit up front too, because I feel more connected to the alter and what is happening during the celebration

    • NancyB

      Great idea! Thanks

    • Clare54

      Sounds like me. I sit in the same area, back or side. I will have to give a try to sitting up close. I want to hear everything! Thanks for sharing BR.


      That is exactly what I had done. When I sit in front I feel more a part of the Mass. I can look upon the Eucharist and the chalis during the consecration and fully share in the experience of the Last Supper, the transubstantiation. It is as if for a moment the world no longer matters for I am in the presence of God and receiving a most prescious gift. Sometimes when I’m with someone who just won’t sit in the front and we sit in those last few rows, i am amazed how much the experience changes. It takes so much more effort on my part to stay focus on the moment and not become lost in ones thoughts.

    • Kj

      Good for you, BR! You are an inspiration….

    • Mom916

      Me too. Moved closer to front. Feel like I am part of the mass instead of just a spectator. Also respond with a strong but not too loud voice. It amazes me when people just sit there. I want to ask them why they even come to church. What a lousy example for their children.

      • Bev

        The individuals who aren’t responding may be reflecting in their personal relationship with God, saying a silent prayer thanking God for their children, they may be seeking God’s peace & strength as they are mourning the loss of a loved one–or a million other things. They may be soaking up the beauty of the mass. When I am personally engaged in the mass, I am not paying attention to those around me. Godask us to not judge others–we have no idea what storms He has asked them to walk through & He is happy & pleased they are at mass!

        • Mary Edwards

          Amen. Very well said.

        • Mom916

          True, but a full church and a handful respond and our aux bishop has to respond because he can’t hear a response is rather sad. Of course I know not everyone can respond for many reasons. I understand that. I’m definitely not focused on the people around me and I am not judging anyone. Why are there responses if not to glorify the word of God?

      • Sam Adams

        I am one of those silent ones. Sometimes, the Mass just moves too fast for me and I am still reflecting on what has been said and I’m not ready to move on. I rarely sing because I have so much I want to accomplish while I’m there. I like to remember names of loved ones already called, I like to adore Jesus on the Cross and ponder his wounds. I wish Mass lasted longer!

        • Lisa

          I started looking at the readings and the gospel each day before I attend Mass. That way they are more familiar when I hear them a second time. It’s easier to process and listen to what I am supposed to hear. And then if I get distracted, I don’t miss out.

    • JC

      My husband said it best. Every Sunday we approach mass (with our 4 young children) as a reset button for the upcoming week. A way to focus on our faith and start the week on the right foot. It can be difficult with the hustle and bustle of the week to focus on the positive sometimes. We make it our mission to be there and be present (with our 4 young children : )) Oh and we always sit close to the alter. It helps all of us to be more present during mass.

    • Lea Novak

      I like sitting up close too! When I was little, my mom always brought us to the front, so we could see, it as a teenager, I started sitting in the rear. This continued when I got married, as my husband felt shy about walking up to the front. When we moved and started coming in a different door, we started sitting closer to the front, but on the side. From there, it was an easy step to sitting in the front off the main aisle, especially since I had started as a lector, and needed to be able to get up to the Ambo quickly. I like to sit close to the front, because I can see better and hear better.

    • Jackie

      BR..what a great suggestion! I always sit in the back..but starting next Mass which will be tomorrow, I will sit up front. Have a blessed day..🙏

      • Diane Grohn

        BR, I like to sit 3/4 to the right back side. I go alone but recently met another single women to share Mass with. Then we can talk about the readings after Mass. It is nice to have that Soul and Mind connection. I like being Catholic, and think it helps me to improve myself.

    • Lynne

      Oh I sit up front/on the St Joseph side – & every Sunday pick something to remember from the homly. This has made pay more attention to the Mass. Have a good day.

    • Joyce

      I agree that changing where you sit can help focus on the Mass better but another thing I have found to listen better is to close your eyes as you listen to what is being said…the sermon, the readings, and the prayers. With my eyes closed I am not distracted by what is around me and I can stay more focused on what is being said.

    • JJ Roon

      I think that the layout of the church really makes a difference in where I sit–My husband and I had a certain area we always sit in. But the new pastor changed the position of the lectern to the front of the altar–It was horrible–Couldn’t see the altar!–Isn’t that the reason we go to mass to be part of what is happening. Mentioned to priest but he obviously hasn’t ever sat in that part of the church to see how separating that lectern is. When we attend that church, we sit in a different part of the church, for now. But why would a priest do that?

      • Carolyn Orsi

        I’m sorry that this has happened. I, too, don’t think that anything should separate us from the Mass. I’m old enough to remember pre-Vatican II, when the priest had his back to us during the Mass while he faced the altar. Vatican II changed that so that we, the members of the congregation, felt more like we participated with the priest. Is this priest elderly? Do others feel the same way that you do? I’m not the type to sit back and be silent; however, if you’ve already approached the priest, and he doesn’t understand your point of view, then I suggest that you pray about it, and listen to what God tells you to do.

    • Kathleen Henshaw

      I like to change it out. I don’t have a specific place I like to sit. By changing it out, I get a different perspective of the Mass and what I hear from God. I let Him guide to where I need to sit…sometimes I have found that there are people who need something from me, perhaps just the feeling that someone would actually sit with them. It also helps me…I learn something new from the people around me all the time.

      • Joyce Lamb

        Love this! Thank you for that idea. I’m going to try it.

    • Joyce Lamb

      Yes BR, I did the same thing several years ago. What a difference it made. I have started doing Matthew Kelly’s idea of a prayer journal as well. I forget sometimes but it definitely keeps me more attentive at Mass. I listen harder.

    • Colleen Nolan-Dahlstrom

      I agree, both myself and my husband find it less distracting if we sit in the front, plus it is the best seats in the house of God.

    • Carmen Daniels

      I agree. I like sitting closer to the alter. When I am in the back I feel that I am easily distracted and I don’t feel as satisfied when I leave. I find that the fifth and seventh row work best for me. That way I’m surrounded by others and close enough to focus on what message God is trying to make me aware of that day/week.

    • Norma Van Amberg

      Up close and personal definitely helps limit distractions and makes you feel as though you are participating to the fullest extent possible.

    • Sharron

      This is a great idea. My mind wanders all through the homily.

    • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

      BR Hi,Brandi , it’s me , Karen, your invisible neighbor . That is what we did with 5 kids and all it entails and it works ! It really is the best seat in God’s house .Now, I’m stuck in a wheelchair section but the first row .LOL (That’s all there is…1 row . It sort of works, it is farther back than I like and I know my Joe would love to hear better ( quite hearing impaired even with high-tech aids that cost as much as a car) .But, neither of us is crazy about the setup. It is the best that can be done . Up front WORKS . The back of the church is often like being on another planet ! NOT lol .You are the best ! *_* K

    • Gemma Pereira

      I use the Missal (now on my mobile phone). It helps me be attentive during every part of Holy Mass.

    • Elizabeth Brumann

      When I watch the mass on television at home I sit up on the couch and this has made quite a difference because hear the words of the priest better and I can see of the actions of the priests and I am less distracted by everything that goes on around me because there are very few distractions and I feel connected to all of the scripture readings the psalm and the gospel song before the gospel and the gospel and the homily the creed and I pray the words the creed out loud and I read the words to the creed in the magnifcat and in fact I pray both of the creeds and I am to the petitions that are being offered and the Eucharist to the body and blood of Jesus and to the Eucharistic Prayers and to the Our Father and the Lamb of God and the communion prayer.

      I feel closer to god when I sit up and I stand when I hear these prayers being said at the mass. I feel that god is talking to me through these prayers and I also read all of the prayers in the magnificat and meditate on all four of the Eucharistic prayers I-IV The first Eucharistic Prayer the Roman Canon. I pray all for these prayers in my heart and I feel closer to god when I reflect on the entire mass. I follow the entire mass in the magnifcat and I read and reflect on the words of Jesus. I do this every day to feel closer to Jesus and to understand all of the teachings and messages of Jesus in my daily life and how I can become a better person to others and to take care of myself and others. I pray for guidance and strength from watching the mass. When I watch the mass I feel closer to god. The mass brings me much closer to god the Father. I feel a conversation when I watch the mass on television every day because god is speaking to me on the television. God is speaking to me from the magnifcat.

  • Laura

    I am glad the mass is long. It takes me about fifteen minutes to settle in and drop all the distractions I walked in with. Usually by the second reading I am beginning to focus. I tried the journal approach and it really helped get me focused earlier. Of course, rushing out the door last week meant I forgot to take the journal with me! But I will get into that good habit soon, I hope.

  • mrcpuhead

    One thing that stuck in my childhood memories is our monsignor coming by during daily mass for our grade school St John the Evangelist (Winthrop MA), and noticing we weren’t singing. He said “God gave you that voice. Give it back!” So to this day I sing as well as I can – which for me sometimes means switching octaves mid song as my range is poor. I have tried to influence my family to do the same during mass.

  • Alice Ann Hengesbach

    The Mass Journal!! I can’t believe I’ve forgotten all about it. Years ago when I first became acquainted with Dynamic Catholic, I kept a Mass journal and it was a fantastic experience. You become so much more in tune with the wisdom of that day’s Mass than you could ever imagine. Golly gee … I just might want to experience that fulfillment again … ya think. Blessings to all of you during this 24. : )

    • Teresa Foster

      I’ve never done this. I’m going to try it. When I go on retreat I always journal. It never occurred to me to do this for Mass.

      • Kj

        You will find great joy in it. I plan to get back doing it!

    • NancyB

      I journal in other areas of my life but have never done a Mass journal. What a great inspiration. I ordered one from Dynamic Catholic just to get me started.

    • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

      Alice Ann, NOW you are Auntie Alice ! I could almost hear her voice . Really a great reply . XO

  • Daniela D.

    We have a prayers group at my parish, I joined them a little over a year ago, we read the upcoming scriptures and watch a video from FORMED. It brings so much joy to discuss in advance trying to decipher what the message is, how it touches each of us personally. We share what words spoke directly to us and sometimes, when we cannot see it clearly we do some research, and and go back to it after mass in our next gathering. This helps me focus, because I can listen instead of trying to understand and getting distracted by my own thoughts.

  • Pat Dodd Polito

    I love the Mass. i am blessed to be part of an amazing Parish Community. Mounted screens give us the words to all the prayers and songs making it easy to respond and participate and be actively involved. In listening to the homilies there is always a message that hits me personally. At any time I feel distracted I simply close my eyes and listen. Sometimes that simple action allows me to hear and experience more closely.

    • Connie McFadden-Chase

      Pat – I have never heard about the Mass journal and am intrigued. Can you share more details?

      • Karen in FL

        If I might answer this…I read the description in the comments after finding the book on Amazon. It’s apparently a journal with Matthew’s comments on one side of the page and room for your own comments on the other.

      • Mary Ellen DeSantis

        The mass journal is a small, hardcover book that fits nicely in my purse. When you open it, the left page has a quote and the right is lined for notes. I love it and find it focuses me even more.

      • NancyB

        Dynamic Catholic website has one to try. I’ve ordered but not yet received. Just a thought!

      • Elaine Cooper

        Even if you don’t order it, try this. Another good idea from Mr. Kelly, get a small notepad, assignment book at a dollar store, when you go to mass let one word stick, you’ll know it when you hear it. Everyone’s word is different. Whatever grabbed your mind, one word. When you get out of mass put the date on the top of the page, write the one word that stood out for you. Nothing else to write, just the one word. That’s your word for the week to try to improve on in your life, or to just reflect on. Next mass again, new page, date, one word. In this busy busy world, it’s a great way to take a piece of the mass with you. Maybe months down the line you can flip thru “your words” See how you did working on them or even just to remind you of Masses. It’s pretty easy thing to do, you won’t feel bad that you set yourself up to keep a journal and find it blank later. One word is very doable. Good luck, I now have 6 words 🙂

        • Bev

          I also went to the Dollar Store & purchased a package of 4 small notebooks for $1 and they work great for this activity.

      • Pat Dodd Polito

        Connie, I take a small notebook to Mass with me. I simply start off with a simple prayer before Mass, asking God to please help me to know what it is I need to do to be the person He wants me to be. I use this journal to write down anything I feel God might be saying to me. It may be something the Priest has said in his homily, a few words from one of the hymns sung during Mass or a few words from one of the readings. Just a few simple words can make such a big difference. I hope this helps. Give it a try!

  • Sherry McCollum

    How I approach the mass is simple; sit in the front, pay attention and really listen to the readings and homily. When our son was small, one of the priests suggested that we sit in the front of the church and that way the children will see what is happening on the altar and will be inclined to pay attention and listen. And it actually worked, our son listened and learned about God and now is an altar server and sacristan for our parish. So if you have small children, consider sitting a little closer to the altar and you may be amazed.

  • Ethel L

    I love mass! I look forward to it especially singing my heart out with little dancing. I learned that if you want to be a happy person join the choir. I did since I was in 4th grade and it’s infectious! Still having fun after 40 years!

  • Kevin D

    The best thing that I do is to prepare for Mass. I enjoy reviewing the readings for daily Mass and trying to think more deeply about the messages. As I drive to the church, I remove distractions and try to focus on those messages (and my driving, of course!). It has truly increased my participation and enthusiasm. This has definitely been the best Lent ever – thanks for your insights, my friends!

    • Alicia

      I agree that preparation is a key for great Mass participation. It makes a huge difference if I have read the readings by myself prior to arriving at Mass. This way I am not hearing them for the first time and I can better focus on their particular message for me.

  • Rae S

    I too like to sit up front, arrive a few minutes early to “warm up”. In my pre-mass time I pray to God that I hear the message intended for me!

  • John L. Kemmis

    I remember one Sunday, many years ago, the homily Father Mike gave. Great message, but by the time I shook his hands on leaving church, I had forgotten it. So I started the next Sunday to journal notes of the homilies. Now I have a small box full of them. They are full of God’s voice. It is a blessing to listen to Him now and again by reading them. A true source of inspiration knowledge. Thank you Lord for your voice through paper and pen.

    • Erin

      I love picturing a box filled with all of these notes from times when you were in tune with God’s voice. What a precious possession. What does He tell you most often?

      • John L. Kemmis

        Funny, I took a picture of that box this morning but couldn’t post it here. And while rifling through the box, I found a book on Copernicus which was nestled within that I bought in high school. For Mass journaling, I use a Write In The Rain, 4″x6″ hip pocket spiral notebook, and a Staedtler Marsmicro 0.5mm pencil. If using ink, I recommend a Pilot G-2 o5. It seems to lay down the best but will still smear if not dry. The weatherproof paper is different, but the notebook keeps its shape during the 9 months I drag it around, surviving the abuse on the kitchen counter top. The point being, use what _you_ feel comfortable with. What does God tell me during Mass? Everything. Always keeping me on edge, wanting to know more. A wanting to feel and touch him. A wanting to listen. For I tend to whine and complain in my prayer about my selfish desires way too much. My Mass journals are just that, my notes of homilies and reflections. Great insight and love. I started writing on the margins and edges of the Church bulletin and it has blossomed to this. Go for it with whatever pencil and paper you have. Check the sharpness of the pencil first though! lol! May you continue to have the Best LENT Ever, Erin!

    • NancyB

      Do you journal during Mass when it is most fresh?

      • John L. Kemmis

        For me, there is no other time to journal than the present. And calling what I do ‘journaling during Mass’ is a bit of a stretch in that I write down notes from the homily. Rarely do I journal my own thoughts and feelings during Mass and then only as an observation of the homily. Thinking about journaling, that is writing down my thoughts, observations, etc., I would consider the quiet time before or after Mass to write. But that might be distracting in that I tend to write down selfish desires and whine in my journal entries. During Mass I try to focus what is happening and be present for it. For the most part, Mass only happens once a week and I need to be present. Otherwise, I will miss Him. Now, grab your favorite pen and paper or pencil and paper and take notes of the next homily you listen to. And then at home in a quiet place, reflect on those notes. Sometimes reading the Mass readings again is helpful. And while reflecting, journal your thoughts. They are all God’s thoughts, his voice. May you enjoy the Best LENT Ever, NancyB!

        • NancyB

          Thanks John. I appreciate your comments. I will try this at my next Mass. God bless you.

  • Kirk Ilenda

    I had been approaching mass like exercise, it was a chore to get there and go through mass, but it in the end, I felt stronger, renewed and connected to my faith. Recently, I revisited Rediscover Catholicism’s Chapter 14 The Mass and learned about every part of mass. I visualized being at mass and felt that I was comprehending the parts of mass in a deeper way. I was still overwhelmed trying to focus on all 22 parts of mass as identified by my friends at Dynamic Catholic. So, I’ve reset some attainable goals of bringing in one part of the mass to focus on each Sunday. I’m proud to say, it’s working for me. I enjoy mass more, appreciating each part more and more.

    • Ev

      I read the book Rediscover Catholicism and loved every chapter in the book. I too reread Chapter 14 and the chapter on reconciliation. A great great book.

    • Karen in FL

      I am SO glad you mentioned this book!

      I’m embarrassed to say, our pastor gave each family one of these books last Christmas…but after reading only a few pages, I put it on the shelf and forgot all about it! I’ve now marked the chapter on The Mass and will read it…and the rest of the book!

      • Erin

        Not embarrassing at all Karen, we all have information coming at us from a million different direction. God must have wanted to give you a gentle nudge to return to it, and you were clearly listening. Pretty wonderful in my book.

      • NancyB

        That book was a game changer for me. I hope you do get to experience it!

        • Brenda M Bourquardez

          Me too! It started with reading Matthew’s book, Resisting Happiness (a gift from our Parish this past Christmas). And I enjoyed that so much, I then ordered Rediscover Catholicism. AWESOME book! You will never approach Mass the same way again! I started keeping a Mass journal (actually a little notebook from the dollar store, don’t be delayed because you think you need to have the exact Mass Journal, anything will do!). This has made a TOTAL difference in my life! A BIG thank you to Matthew Kelly and his entire team for rekindling my faith in Catholicism!

          • NancyB

            Thanks Brenda! I’m looking forward to trying this new practice!

      • Elaine Cooper

        They gave them away to my entire parish. Mine is still next to my bed, 7 mos. I think, don’t feel bad. Recently someone at church handed me a cd of Matthew Kelly’s, “the 7 pillars of catholic spirituality ” if you havn’t started to read yet, like myself. Try listening to that. It’s an awesome cd. It has me looking at the book now, I stuffed it in my purse to start reading. Probably not a good idea as my purse is “the land of the lost” but hey I’m trying 🙂
        Have a nice day. You can utube the 7 pillars.

        • Karen in FL

          Thanks, I’ve heard of that one. I’ll look for it!

  • stacey oleary

    I like to read the readings ahead of time so when I hear them again I feel I better understand them. God bless

  • Mary B.

    Our parish is blessed to have a professional opera singer who sings beautifully at our masses. Only downfall is that we all listen and no one participates in the singing. I personally feel disconnected and often visit other neighboring parishes because even though I can’t hold a tune, I do enjoy singing familiar hymns during mass, especially the ones I’ve heard sung all my life (Prayer of St Francis, On Eagle’ s Wings, Hosanna etc)! I realize full participation at Sunday mass is essential in my life!!

  • Jacob

    I became for of a listener. When I was younger, I never could understand the mass now I can bring it by heart and spiritual. I was the music and how it can get included.

  • Larry Caffrey

    I have been listening but not hearing anything. Been begging for help for years and no answers.

    • Nancy D.

      Here is a story a priest gave to my church congregation several years ago. I hope it helps you. There was a man who was stranded on the top of the roof of his house during a flood. He pleaded to God for help. A boat approached the man and asked if he wanted help, and the man replied no, I am waiting for God to help me. So, the boat leaves. Next another rescuer comes and asked the man do you need help. Again the man says no, he is waiting for God. Finally, a helicopter comes and the rescuer asks the man for help, and again he says, no, he is waiting for God. The man dies in the flood, and is up in Heaven with God. The man asks God, why did you not save me. God told him that he sent three people to save him and he declined all of them. So, many times God is answering our prayers, but we are not seeing what is really in front of us. The priest continued by saying that many times people that are close to us are telling us what we need to hear, but we try to listen and we just don’t hear it. The priest says that many times someone not close to us will say the same thing and finally we hear the message. The priest does not know why we do this, but it is fairly common in all of us. I will pray for you.

      • Deb Duncan

        I like this story Nancy. It helps me and reaffirms what I am becoming more aware of. Thank you 🙂

    • Ally

      I hate the feeling of waiting on God or unanswered prayer. Are you sure He’s not answering in a way you’re not listening for or tuned into? Sometimes that’s the case and learning a bit more about all the different ways God speaks can help. So can getting into the Word, and so can changing how we pray or even making a point to shelf that thing we keep praying for and instead focus for a while on praying for other people or for spiritual gifts the lack of which may be clouding our relationship with God. These are just suggestions- of course I don’t know your situation. But I will say a prayer for you!

    • SanctusSanctus

      STARVATION PROBLEM: What we’ve been told is that faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
      We hear the Word of God by listening (and chewing on it) to the sermon which is to be Holy Spirit inspired through a priest or deacon that has given his time and prayer toward developing a message that with the help of your prayers, is the understandable voice of God. So, what I do is pray for priests to re-dedicate themselves to prepping properly to provide the homily and to give more than 5-7 minutes. So many are losing FAITH and unable to HEAR the WORD due to this “starvation”. We are to be fed by the Word of God and the Eucharist during each Mass. Have a great day!

  • Solange Hooks

    I’m a busy mom of small children. I love everything you guys teach but a lot of your advices I cannot practice. Sometimes I feel like the mothers are forgotten. I have not been able to listen to mass, attend daily mass, or sit in silence. How are some of the ways I can grow spiritually when I am consumed with raising and caring for small children.

    • Ally

      Hi Solange- I can understand not being able to attend daily mass when you have small children, but please try to remember that your relationship with God has to be more important than anything else in your life, including your children. Moms struggle with that a lot, understandably. When you are at mass on Sunday, do try to listen to the readings and homily at least, and prioritize your day so that you have at least ten minutes to spend with God. Maybe wake up a little earlier or wait until the kids go to sleep? I think you will find that those moments quickly become necessities and will recharge you for the rest of your day.

    • Mary Ann Kwiatkowski

      Solange, is there anyone, another mom perhaps, who could watch your kids one morning while you attend daily mass, and you watch hers another morning so she can? I also had an older woman “pay it forward” by watching my young ones so I could have a little time for me.(Not often, but yet I remember her gesture so well.) Perhaps there is someone at your church who would do this for you? Good luck and God bless!

    • Karen in FL

      You don’t say how young your children are, or how many you have, but I’m thinking of a friend who has four and is due with her fifth very soon. She and her husband “divide and conquer”–attending separate Masses, each taking some of the children. Looking over the readings ahead of time also helps, if that’s possible. For the older children, even if they’re not old enough to receive Communion, try to include them by talking to them ahead of time about why you’re there. See if they can listen for a word that they will remember for your after-Mass discussion. Know that you’re not alone…I remember thinking when our own daughter was little that I’d NEVER get to hear what was said by the priest! “This, is on, shall pass” was my motto for many years!

    • Karen

      Your comment strikes me as it rings in truth. I have experienced the same feeling of disconnect at the mass when my children were young. Two thongs that Matthew Kelly has presented that you might try: 1. Turn all your loving work for your family into constant prayer. My mom once had a priest advise her to pray daily in silence for 20 minutes, she was greatly offended as she was raising six kids at the time and he suggested that she just get up earlier to get this in. Hers wasn’t resistance as much as it was her thinking that every act in her 12-14 hour day was her prayer. It is a beautiful thought to give all that you do as a thankfulness to God simply by making effort in your life to mindfully say three words as you work: Thank you God; or Lord have mercy.
      Or Help me Jesus. The point is that you are fulfilling an important role in your families life, say it silently through ought your day or outloud so your kids hear your prayerful words.
      2. The mass: I usher and see families weekly wrestling with their crying kids. I did the same when my kids were small. Very tough to follow the mass journal idea, particularly if you are holding a baby! But if they are old enough to manage a journal of their own and a crayon, it might be fun to engage them in drawing the alter, or the priest, anything that focuses them on the altar, so that you might catch just part of the liturgy. Perhaps you will have moments which you could actually enter the journaling concept. Perhaps it becomes a way to settle them into active participation with the mass at a young age and provides you some level of peace a mass, I wish I had tried it.

      • NancyB

        Good words, I wish I had thought of any of this when my kids were little. To all moms out there, as I grandma, I for one find crying, chatty, wiggly children at Mass, God’s angels reminding me of the gift of children to us all. Though I may be momentarily distracted from 100% focus on the Mass, I just remember how Jesus loved the little children and jump right back into the Mass. God bless you for bringing your children to see Jesus!!!!

    • Sandy D

      Solange- when my girls were little, we hauled them both to church. The youngest was a wiggly child, who was always concocting an idea which always ended in trouble! We began sitting in the very front row, so that she could see what was going on. One Sunday, after she had dumped the entire contents of my purse on the pew, tied the belt of my coat to my purse, poked, pushed, and bothered her sister, ( who also was wiggling, and giggling), the mass finally came to the end, when the priest, who was a retired Monsignor, looked at our family and said,” keep bringing those children to church! They are the future Catholics, and you as parents will receive many blessings from bringing them!”
      I can’t tell you that it got any easier, but we kept bringing them, every Sunday. Both girls are young adults now, and still attend mass with us when they are home. The front pew has become our Family pew!
      It’s incredibly difficult to bring the littles to church, and it’s almost impossible to pay attention, but I believe there are many many Blessings in doing so, even if you can’t tell what they are!

    • Sandra Pope

      Hi Solange, I am so glad you spoke up as a busy mom of small children! I remember feeling similar when my children were small. I didn’t realize so much then, but bringing my children to mass and helping them to learn as they were able was really one of the greatest jobs I could have been blessed with. I believe God is speaking to you and your heart and blessing you in your special gift and mission as a mother. Do find little moments to help nurture your relationship with God. I believe he is closer to you during your busy chores and can speak to you in the smallest of things. I know you are definitely not forgotten! This is the best time in your children’s lives to be introducing and building the start of their relationship to God. I hope you feel how special you are in the middle of this very busy time in your life!

    • Shelly Dickinson

      Solange – as a mom of lots as well, I completely understand and agree with you that it’s definitely different at this season of our lives. God meets us where we are😊 I think a few moments in the early morning with a devotional or the Bible; maybe it’s just getting to the Gospel for that day. We do what we can do when littles are our focus. Maybe it’s just a few moments after kids’ bedtime. You can also read the saint of the day with your children. Bottom line, you are doing an amazing job and fulfilling your vocation. Making all the daily chores a prayer for God also draws you in. God’s blessings!

    • SanctusSanctus

      Mass Play at home: when I was a kid, my brother used to play being a priest. He used to offer Mass in our home and at Eucharist time, the bread was offered to our dog who’d sit up and “beg”. (He was also Superman via the kitchen towel cape!). Now this may sound bizarre, however, it’s a manner of introducing the complex within home first with what kids do; they “play”!
      Kid videos of Mass are available and an incredible way to learn the Our Father prayer.

    • Jacqueline Shukla

      Solange, remember that you are receiving grace just because you are at mass. I remember many times that I was with my children at mass when they were small and I felt like I had not been able to concentrate on anything that had gone on that day. But I was present, and my children were present, and we were blessed. We were doing the best we could do and God knew that. I also would ask God throughout the day to help me with caregiving tasks. I would offer my “busyness” to God. Society does not value the work that mothers do, but God does. And this season of your life is relatively short and when your children are older you will be able to experience mass in a more focused way. You are being blessed and growing closer to God by taking care of your family. Just dedicate this work to God and ask God to guide you. Start and end your day with prayer, and offer it up whenever else you can. Strive to be cheerful and grateful. Live with love. God bless you.

      • NancyB


    • DB

      I understand what you are talking about. I have lived it. So for now at this stage in your life when there is very little quiet time maybe just go for something on a smaller scale. Just taking the time to listen and reflect throughout the day on from Best Lent Ever …why you already have morning routine established. At night maybe take 5 minutes to read from a devotional book like Living Faith or Our Daily Bread. Both are inexpensive and thought provoking and SHORT. I often tear out pages that especially touch me so I can reread or pass on to adult children, friends, or those I write notes to at times. Someone wrote about reading Kent Newburn and the cab ride. I stopped to read it and thought about it all day. So maybe when reading responses as such look for little things you can do. Just making the time to start and end your day with 5 minutes of time with God will make a difference. It has for me. Baby steps are ok. Good luck and don’t beat yourself up.

  • CathyYM

    I read the Mass readings ahead of time so I know what the “theme”‘ is. It helps me connect the readings to each other and feel more connected to the homily. It makes me a better participant at Mass in that I’ve already reflected and Mass can be a true prayer about what God is trying to say to me.

  • jesspinosa

    On New Year’s Eve 1995, I was by myself in my apartment, waiting for the clock to strike midnight. As I was thinking about the events of the past year, I picked up a pen and paper, and started writing. Thus began my daily journal. It has become a special part of my evening prayer, and what makes it really special is because it is my conversation with Jesus. I start with “Lord…” and I continue from there. When something happens in the day, whether joyful, sad, upsetting, anything at all, I can’t wait to sit down at my computer and share it with my Friend. Like Matthew, I enjoy reading previous years’ entries and seeing wonderfully answered prayers. Lives of family and friends are much a part of my journal, and it is sad when I see that people I have been praying for for a long time are still suffering from the same conditions and situations. My journal is like a diary, Bible study, examen, my political platform and a thank-you note combined. I can be judgmental, irritated, angry, spoiled like a child and corny (yes, I joke with Jesus sometimes), but always, grateful. I can be me as I am and still feel loved.

    • SanctusSanctus

      Loving this: joking with Jesus! You really have a “relationship” with Our Lord! You have made my day my friend! I delight in the Lord…. He does make us smile with His jokes too.

    • Elaine Cooper

      Journals are awesome, good for you. They may be a legacy left behind one day. May I add my Mom recently divulged to me she had been praying for 25 years for her children to return to God, she specifically prayed to St Monica. I was the first answered prayer. I’m glad she never ended her request, I am home.
      Poor mom 3 more kids to keep praying this request for. Mom’s 89 🙂 I’m helping her pray this request now. Glad you have never given up, just as my mom never has. God bless you and my mom.

    • Ma

      I also laugh with God, I know he has a great sense of humor! After all he created me!!

  • Alicia

    One ot the things that has helped me to be a better Mass participant in the last several years is taking the time to study and learn about the Mass. What the parts of the mass signify and why the words and actions are expressed in the ways they are. This was especially helpful when I began attending a traditional Latin Mass on first Saturdays. I purchased a book called, “The Latin Mass Explained” that went through in detail each part, word, and action of the Mass. Although it focused on the traditional Mass, I could clearly see the connection to the Norvos Ordo. My Bible study group also did a study several years ago prior to the Mass changes that came with the third addition of the Roman Missal. With a greater knowledge and understanding of the whys and hows, I found it easier to emerse myself in the liturgy. Mass is never boring if we understand what it truly effects in the here and now for us.

  • Laura Doerfler

    We saw Matthew in Omaha this past summer and I took his advice to write one sentence about what I took from the readings that day. Wow what a difference it has made with my focus on Mass. Thanks Matthew:)

  • Godlistens

    I grew up in a parochial school where daily mass in latin was a norm! I love the solemnity of the mass. It wasn’t until I truly had a relationship with God that I truly embraced the mass with a different light. I start my day with prayer and preparing myself by reading the readings for that day with a study bible, then listen to the priest’s reading reflection from USCCB. I pray to the Holy Spirit to guide me throughout the day, that what I do for that day is according to the Father’s will. I wanted to hear every word the priest had to share and follow along with every part of the mass. I no longer was bored if I didn’t understand the priest’s homily. Embracing the Lord’s prayer as a simple template to prayer. I always enjoyed the Eucharist, but now I truly received the Eucharist in a different light. I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for the Eucharist of the Father’s love reminding us of the Body and Blood of Christ who died on the cross that we may be redeemed and rise with Him at His resurrection in a new life with a clean heart and renewed Spirit. Being transformed back to the Father’s image and likeness. And, that the Eucharist would guide me throughout the day to see what He wanted me to see, to listen to what He wanted me to listen to, that all the words I speak will be edifying to the Spirit, to guide my heart to love and care. More importantly to Love the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with all my heart. Love, Maria💕

    • SanctusSanctus

      THANKSGIVING PRAYERS! I love this; we give Him thanks! This is a unique contribution within this dialogue; we’ve so much to be thankful for… “… and in all things be thankful.” (St. Paul)

    • Elaine Cooper

      Very cool, Mass in Latin. You don’t see that anymore. It wasn’t done when I was a kid in Catholic school. I played a hymn CD with my mom recently, she’s 89. One song was in Latin, she started singing it! I said oh my God, mom you know Latin?!?!
      She said well no, but as a child this song was always done in Latin, I guess it stuck. Your not kidding Mom haha.
      The song was “Sancta Maria” performed by Charlotte Church, a singer from Wales. Nice post, you brought my Mom to mind, always a great thing. Have a nice day.

  • Rebecca

    When I go to mass, I pray to God and ask him to help me fully understand the readings and engage in what is happening. I have found that since I started doing this, my mind doesn’t wander as much. I really try to listen close to the readings and the homily. I try to speak to God and not just follow the motions of the mass.

  • Nancy D.

    Mass use to be a chore for me. As I got older, I realized that there is a lot of value in Mass. We just need to be willing to listen.

  • Kathleen Cranford Kelley

    Peter, you brought up two great points today. One was going to Mass with the “spirit of discovery” and the second point was being an active participant at Mass. This Sunday I will make it my goal to discover and to actively participate in the Mass celebration. Thank you!

  • Tom Holland

    Consistency…… that is the obstacle to me. I drive two ladies to 5:00pm Mass on Saturday and also serve as a Usher. All those responsibilities often distract me from full participation in the liturgy. Some Saturdays are fine, but they are the exception rather than rule. How do I participate fully every Sunday? Any ideas… please help!

    • Jacqueline Shukla

      Tom, maybe you could ask God to help you be more fully present. Also, give yourself some credit about the wonderful things you are doing to serve and thus you are participating in a special way by ushering and transporting. Ask God to accept your gift of service as part of your participation. You are a part of the liturgy with your service.

  • AH

    My staff and I do a Lenten reflection each Wednesday after school. Yesterday, we were just discussing the idea of taking one thing from our pastor’s homilies and writing it down. We even thought this would help our students stay more focused during the Mass. When I watched this post this morning, I knew it was God’s way of telling me to start this initiative of a pocket Mass journal at our school and then hopefully it will catch on with other parishioners as well. Thank you Matthew Kelly, Dynamic Catholic and God for such a wonderful idea!

  • Alice

    I approach Mass by trying to engage fully in the prayers and listen during the gospels and homily. Sometimes I struggle and catch myself (must be resistance) to get back in the present. I try to feel God’s presence and when I take communion feel God is there for me. I want to get more out of mass and I agree with Matthew Kelly – to try to focus on becoming a Proactive Listener. Maybe I should take notes. I like what Peter said this morning – approach the mass with the spirit of Discovery. I need to figure out some of the things about mass that I don’t understand. Today – I want to refocus on being a better listener.

  • Teresa Foster

    I love being a Lector. I always had issues connecting with the Liturgy of the Word. Well I discovered by Lectoring I pay attention and pray over my readings. I find the meaning in the gospel better because I reflect before Mass. it has helped me see the meaning in the Word, not just the Eucharist.

  • Christine Overkamp

    I approach mass listening to the readings and doing my best to relate them to my life, today and now. I read the daily readings on-line before mass so that I will be aware of the topic of the day. I am a lector and that give me great joy. I am also an EMHC and am involved in other aspects of our parish and community. Involvement is a key element for my spiritual life. My husband is a Deacon and a Canon Lawyer for our Archdiocese and I often go to him for strength and discussion about particular readings. A great gift to be able to share God’s Word one on one. I am off to mass not at a neighboring parish who needs a lector for the T and Th daily 7 a.m.mass. We only have 3-7 people in attendance on those two days but it is so peaceful and the pastor always gives such powerful connections to the readings and our daily lives. It is a wonderful way to start these two days of the week. THe other days I often meet a friend at our home parish for the 8:15 mass which often has a full house with parish school students in attendance…another experience of participation with music, students reading, and general community spirit in prayer. God is SO GOOD.

  • Jacqueline Shukla

    I often ask God to point out to me what God wants me to hear that day. I also ask God to make me worthy and then to join me to the sacrifice of the mass. I also sit in the front because I am short and a bit hard of hearing. One day there was a woman who was rubbing her husband’s back nonstop and the sound was loud and distracting to me. I asked God to take away the annoyance I was feeling about this distraction and to let me engage fully in the liturgy. I was given that gift, and I think I learned even more about God that day.

    • LosmanPO

      Jacqueline, your story reminds me of the unplanned distractions that happen each and every Mass. I love and enjoy the peace and quiet in the church. But, I also love to hear young children and babies during Mass. Every time I hear a child voice or outburst, a wonderful feeling comes into my heart and I smile for seemingly no reason. It brings me back to a time when my children were babies and were fussy in church. I remember it created a lot of stress for me and my wife because we didn’t want to distract others. These outbursts are shared experience for me with those parents and acknowledgement that life still continues, even in and during the Mass.

      • Jacqueline Shukla

        Yes. Have you ever heard the saying that if at church you don’t hear babies cryin’ (and laughing and playing), then your congregation is dyin’?

  • John Hanson

    I love when I prayerfully prepare over the readings and truely seek God’s understanding in my life in the moment. God always reveals the truth, my part is to listen , accept fully, and apply lovingly in the direction God leads me. Thanks be to God forever

  • Angie O’Mara

    I approached Mass with love and reverence, after all I am in God’s house!!! Sitting where I can truly experience the Mass, is helpful and insightful too!!! When you are jnvited to dine at someone’s give, you give that person your full attention, so shall it be when dining at the House of Our Lord. Sing, prayers and give praise to Him, who gives His all to us.

  • Peg

    When my five children were little, at time I would get discouraged because I did not have the ability to listen the way I felt I needed to, especially when I was alone with them. One day, God spoke to my heart and showed me that if I came to Mass each Sunday, he could do in a few minutes what it takes the rest of the world an hour to do. After that, I did not worry about listening perfectly, I showed up with an expectant heart and always left with whatever I needed to hear.

  • Ed

    Do you fill out the journal during mass or at the end? Also no matter how hard I try to stay focused my mind drifts to different parts of my life…any suggestions on how to maintain better focus?

    • Seeker

      The Mass Journals are free through Dynamic Catholic and include suggestions as to how to use it. Another of the free Dynamic Catholic books, “Avoiding Happiness” talks about it. The Mass Journal is not meant to be used throughout the liturgy to take copious notes. I got one back in January and am finding it helpful. On a couple of occasions I’ve missed Mass and used the journal to explain why. In writing the excuses seem pretty lame… Good luck and good lent!

      • John L. Kemmis

        I noticed them earlier this morning and ordered two of them. Ordered them on faith of the description, “Mass Journal”, and the cover image. I assume it has pages to write on. 🙂

    • Donna C

      I’ve never kept a mass journal but now want to start. I’ve seen people journal during the homily–maybe that would help in keeping better focus? Also, I used to, and still do at times, get distracted during mass, thinking about any number of different things in my life. It helps to say a little prayer as I kneel before mass, letting God know of my intent and desire to be fully present and actively attentive during mass. I certainly believe this is a pleasing thing to Him, even if I fail! What I also will do whenever I become aware of the fact that I’ve been distracted, is I ask the Holy Spirit to help me, simply saying come Holy Spirit. This has really helped me and now I rarely find myself distracted and greatly enjoy the mass!

    • John L. Kemmis

      I started years ago with just the Sunday bulletin and a “borrowed” pencil, writing in the margins and edges. The following Sunday I took a sharp pencil, and a blank sheet of ruled paper. The notebooks followed shortly thereafter. And to maintain better focus? Journal _only_ notes of the homily. Journal your own thoughts and reflections of the readings and homily later in a quiet place.

  • Rita Smith Wade-El

    I usually go to Mass everyday, at least five out of six days besides Sunday. Should I keep a daily Mass journal?

  • Jennifer Haeussler Brewer

    I used to keep a mass journal. I would write notes in the Magnificent. I could see what the readings were and what God was saying to me at that moment, but then my husband bought me a ‘real journal’. I need to get that back out. I enjoy journaling. It helps me put things into perspective

    • SanctusSanctus

      I’m picturing the Apostles at the last Supper with note-taking! Ha, ha, cute!
      Writing it upon my heart, “I love you Lord”.
      Have a super day!

  • Rebecca C. Winston

    I experience the mass by preparing my mind using a great book “In Conversation with God “. That reflection opens the eyes of my heart to better understand the message of love God has for us and helps me understand my response to that love.

  • Jean Walton

    I sit close to the front so there are less distractions and I can pay closer attention.

    If you are a back seat Catholic, try moving up in your relationship with Christ.

  • Nan

    My husband and I are both lectors, so we prepare by reading and practicing the readings in the week before our day to read. But even when we are not reading We like to read the readings ahead of time, and reflect on them before we get to church. This helps to pay attention better during the readings and enter into the homily better.

    • kalanty33

      Where do I find the readings ahead of time?

  • Jean Walton

    SILENT and LISTEN have the same letters – not a coincidence!

    • Blaise Burkhard

      I’ve HEARD this one before; thank you for the reminder!!!

  • Janet Marusiak

    I love the idea of a journal and why am I resisting to go buy one and start? Maybe I think people will wander what I am up to and think I am some kind of spy. Don’t laugh now. I try to get to Mass early and to make sure I quiet myself at least 15 minutes before Mass starts. I like when we say the rosary before mass as it keeps us all focused on why we are at the mass and not a social occasion. We all come in communion with God and heaven in the Mass so we must remember to consider the one next to us that wants to stay quiet and pray. I have on occasion got into a chatter with someone I have not seen for awhile but it is not the time for that as we are ignoring the Lord.

  • RD

    When I go to Mass, looking to meet Jesus or spend time with God, this is when the experience is most alive; most insightful; most comforting. The Mass has become more personal over the years, a gradual unfolding–the Scripture really does have messages for me; Communion really is an opportunity for union with God, the Creator of the whole universe and the lover of every soul; the prayers of Mass are said along with all the members of my parish present there, and mysteriously with all the Catholics in the world that day who are also at Mass, and somehow with the saints and angels in heaven too. When I take the time to be aware of these concepts, this is when the Mass is powerful. It becomes a nourishing experience, something truly awesome.

  • Donald Marquez

    In 2014, I took up Matthew’s invitation to take a Mass journal to the celebration, and it has had a huge impact on my experience at Mass. Every so often I turn to past journal entries for guidance or to see if/how I have grown spiritually.

  • Maureen Gomes

    As a young child & through adulthood going too Mass on Sunday i just went through,yes i felt good but did i truly understand.looking back no.i now understand how truly beautiful listening & participating.each day before going too work i watch Mass on Net TV among other programs for it has open my eyes,my Mined & Heart.I Thank God for this & all the blessings.My Prayers for World Peace & all nonbeliever & those of us who have gone astray.Amen

  • Joan Richards

    I am loving this program so much! Each day we are getting very real and concrete ways to become better versions of ourselves.
    I sit closer to the front in church. I close my eyes when I feel my mind wandering to focus on listening. I try to arrive early so I can pre read
    the readings. I close my eyes and try to imagine myself in the room during the last supper. To hear, smell, feel, taste and see within my head what is really happening. It can be overwhelming sometimes, in a very good way.

    • Mike

      Joan, I love your comments about this program (totally agree) and how you approach the mass. I’m going to combine Matthew’s and your suggestions (especially the part about imagining the last supper) and apply it to how I approach the mass. Thanks.

  • terri crespo

    I take notes during the homily. This helps me to follow and not get distracted.

  • Kimberly

    Sometimes I close my eyes. I can listen differently that way. I close out the distractions, breathe softly and take in everything around me. This includes a crying baby, a wheezing older man, the lectors voice. I can experience it better sometimes if I take in all in with my ears only.

  • NancyB

    Since I ‘Rediscovered Jesus’ a few years ago, and most importantly, truly grasped the magnificence of the most Holy Eucharist,[as much as humanly possible for me] I look forward to each Mass as a wonderful way to renew myself, body, mind and spirit. Today’s lesson reminds me of the cliché- God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. Today especially, please say a prayer for a family member who is a kidney transplant recipient, now unresponsive in the hospital, with pneumonia and other complications. God bless you all.

  • Celeste Landry Ragas

    Every since our 4 kids were little, we always sat up front so they could see and not be distracted by all the people. Little did I know, we would benefit also. Now that our kids are young adults, they too like to sit in the second pew. We don’t have to look for each other, we know right where to go, God is waiting.

  • Cindy Bushinski

    I had heard Matthew on the radio a while back recommend finding one word during Mass that had special meaning that day and then jotting it down in a notebook. This helps me to be more attentive to the Mass, which also helps me to participate more fully.

  • Paul

    Mass has always been the most important part of my week. As a child of an abusive alcoholic father it always provided me with a safe haven for a few hours each week. As a teenager and young adult I often would miss mass but found when I correctly prioritized my life and went to mass the rest of the week was better. As a divorced husband, unable to receive communion, I usually sit in the back of the church to not impede others on their way to the altar. However once a month I pick up my friend Ernie, who is handicapped, and we sit in the front row. I personally understand “Lord I am not worthy, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” Mass is when I return to my FATHER’s house and am welcome by all!

    • Mary Jo

      Paul, you are not denied Communion because you are divorced. It would only be if you were involved in another relationship. Please see a priest and go to Confession and participate fully in the Body and Blood of Jesus if you are able. God bless you.

    • Pauline Overholt-Tait

      Hi Paul, YOU are worthy to come to the alter. If you don’t feel you can accept communion you can receive a blessing. God is a merciful, forgiving God. My prayer to you this hour is to give your sins to God and receive holy communion.

  • David

    Though I presently have stopped going to Mass after being raised and active in the Church, I still have my daily devotions that are supported by Scripture, consider myself as Catholic with no animosity whatsoever toward what I believe to be the one true Christin Church, while respecting and accepting the other worldwide religions without judgment except for those fundamental and evangelical churches who are anti-Catholic.. I have pray daily as well as read scripture, acknowledging our traditions and saints, feeling a special draw towards Our Blessed Mother, St Joseph, Padre Pio and the works of Fr Richard Rohr who is practical having read his books, listened to CDs, as well as attended numerous conferences on the transformation of men being leaders. I was fortunate to have been influenced growing up by a gifted and grounded parish priest as well as a mens prayer and fellowship group called Christians in Commerce.

    So why now after 60’s plus years, is it because I no longer feel it necessary to pay “fire insurance”, am disgusted at the pompous and arrogance of some leaders or the abuse priests did while those in leadership and power looked the other way. Or is it I prefer the quiet, embracing Our Lord’s first Church and Bible, the quiet and beauty of nature, that reveals every character and quality of the God I believe in and trust.

    • SanctusSanctus

      Whoa! Starvation here: so faith comes by hearing the Word of God…. (homily in Mass). You are chosing to not “eat My body; drink My blood…” I also hate the abuses within Churches, government, education programs, media, etc. So I do what Our Lord recommended, and pray for them. I’m not going to let myself avoid union with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament by re-entering into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
      Gosh, I hope you reconsider this my friend. I get what you’re saying!

    • Susan

      David, I will pray that you find the strength, courage and wisdom to go back to church. God wants us to be a family and receive the Blessed Sacrament. While I believe that everyone would agree that the church has some problems we need to attend mass, pray and be part of the solution, not hide in our homes and stew in silence.

    • Joyce W.

      David, I am an elderly convert and before Our Lord revealed that He was calling me to the Catholic Faith, I had left the Anglican church I had attended for over 17 years in our area, and although I read the Bible and prayed, I was rather lost and lonely for a long time, and wondering where God intended me to worship, never ever dreaming that it would be in the local Catholic church! What drew me to the Catholic Faith was being invited to Adoration with a friend, and learning that Jesus is actually present in the consecrated Host. I come across cradle Catholics who have left the church for various reasons and I am saddened that they have turned their backs on the one place where they can physically receive Jesus and be given strength for the days ahead until they receive Him again at another Mass. God bless.

    • Bev

      God bless you & may He be close to you on this journey. I am also frustrated with some of the things that happen in our church and am working very hard to refocus on the reason that I am there.

  • Paula Stevenson

    I have stopped reading along as the stories are being told. Most of us know the prayers between the readings… The readings have me listening, and prepare me for listening to the homely. One other thing I did with my kids/ grand kids, (sometimes to make them stop wiggling ) is when the gifts are being changed, Id say something like ” Its going to happen” ( whats going to happen? ) Me: ” the magic” ( where?? ) Me: ” Watch up there! Its going to happen…”
    They would be fine tuned in and quiet… watching…. After mass it lead to many wonderful discussions…

  • Lisa

    Singing is my way to bring me into mass. It is what brings me peace and I know that God is present in me during those times. In today’s video he talked about the notebook. Well, I can say I don’t have one, but once this fall I was so moved by the homily that right when I got home I had to write down what I took away. I even listened to the recording over so I could get the most from it.

    Have you ever heard of RIM?
    R-Relationship with God leads to knowing our I-Identity, which leads to knowing our M -Mission. That message was so powerful for me and came at a time I didn’t know who I was anymore.

  • Dorothy Cabral

    I thirst for the word of God, I make sure to arrive a few minutes early and prepare myself to prevent distractions. I book mark all the readings and songs so the mass flows smoothly and I am not distracted trying to do this while the mass is being celebrated. This allows me to focus on the word of God, to participate in every step of the mass and hence be a better listener of the message God has for me that day.

    • Jeff K

      Great comments, like most things in life if you come prepared you can expect a much richer experience.

  • Pat Ryder

    I sit 4th row on the left, and I am able to see all that is going on on the pulpit, I do tend to keep focused more. we have a lot of children come to our church and what I love is that no one cares if the children make noise during mass its all taken in stride. people continue to focus on the mass, I’ve never been to a church like that, no one making faces , parents not running out and missing mass, its wonderful.

  • Deborah

    I approach the Mass like it’s a precious gift, a safe haven. Think about it, is there any other place you can find reverence and joy and community in the truth of Christ without all the noise of the secular world? I love to sing so when I hear others singing around me, it’s like heavenly angels all singing together – participation not perfection. Please sing even if you don’t usually do it.

    • voteprolife

      I too love to sing at Mass (although not the best:o). But when I participate, I feel closer to the Lord. It has been said, singing is like praying twice!
      I will say I struggle with my teenage children who do not participate, or when they do it seems half hearted. I try to encourage them but get that look (you know the one where you don’t know anything). I just lift them up in prayer and hope some day they will participate.

  • Brenda

    I fully participate in the Mass; however just like others, I get very distracted sometimes. I feel my mind start to wander and have to reel it back in. I hate that. I am going to suggest to my husband that we start sitting further up in church. What a great idea!

  • Kim Rourke

    I started my own Mass journal after hearing Matthew speak. I also tend to sit in the same area at our church so my “neighbors” are used to seeing me jot down something during Mass. This habit helps me focus, but also inspires me as I look back over what I have written over past weeks. New thoughts and connections also arise. I am doing the same w this Best Lent Ever series keeping daily thoughts handy on my phone for later reflection.

  • Cathy Graham

    My best mass experiences are usually when there is GREAT music. Everyone connected and singing through great music inspires me throughout all the parts of the Mass.

  • Mary

    Some days I like to stop in at church to pray the rosary. When I am there, I try to go over the Sunday readings. This way, I feel more prepared for Sunday Mass, and I connect with the readings better. While I am not very good at journaling, at Mass I do try to “hear” at least one thing the Lord wants to put in my heart. Sometimes it doesn’t even come from the readings, it might be the responsorial psalm, or homily, or even the music. I find this is a good exercise to learn to be listening for the Lord in my life. I know my week starts out in the best way by being with Our Lord at Mass. God bless!!!

  • NE_lady

    Just go. Honestly, I work lots of hours and then come home and spend time with my family. It’s a wonderful life, but not a relaxing one. Sometimes I wake up on Sunday morning and I can’t wait to go to church. Other times I wake up on Sunday and I’m exhausted. There are times in my life where I’ve felt close to God, and other times where I’ve felt far away (my fault, I’m sure :p ). But I’ve always gone to mass. Tired or excited and anticipating the message. Just go. Mass is a wonderful habit. Why?

    What I’ve noticed is that sometimes God will knock me on my knees regardless of my mental state. Other times, I’m clearly supposed to do some work. But there’s always something for me there. Sometimes in the message, sometimes in the music, sometimes in the fellowship. It is a home for the soul. Just go.

  • BJ Jarvis

    I’ve only been a Catholic for about 8 years. Everytime I attend Mass I start out a new Catholic. As the mass progresses I become inspired. After the peace offering, I feel it! The energy from God, His inspirations, All that He has to offer. I have fallen in love with the Lord. Every mass whether it be the fail or the Sunday, It happens. Over and Over. I don’t know why it doesn’t seem to continue til the next mass? Sometimes it’s like I spend the week in Hell with Satan until I can get to Mass and obtain my love of God again. What could be wrong?

    • SanctusSanctus

      I think we are human and under spiritual attack as we seek God. So we just “put on the Armor of God” (Ephesians 6). Jesus I trust in You! (Divine Mercy). Hey! Have a great day!

  • Elaine Cooper

    Listening. I’ve been working on it for months, I’m making progress. It’s not easy. When someone starts talking about a subject you know, hard not to interrupt and start your own story. Guilty here. Back to my birds that help guide me. I started seeing an owl, their not easy to find. The owl found me, I saw it several times then it left. Next thing I knew I started hearing it only, every morning for weeks. Owls symbolize wisdom naturally, but also to be silent and listen. To your family your friends the world. Everyone we meet we can learn from, which brings wisdom. Not if you don’t listen though. If you haven’t Listened to Matthew Kelly’s, 7 pillars of catholic spirituality. U tube it. He speaks of listening at mass and keeping a journal. Each mass, one word will jump out at you. In the journal for that day, write that one word. Nothing else. Next mass new page, one word again. That’s your goal for that week, working on that word. The word will be different for everyone. You will know it when you hear it. It’s a great way to focus in Mass. Your going to want that word, once you start a book, notepad. Give it a try if you have trouble focusing on Mass. I highly recommend the 7 pillars of catholic spirituality. What a great teacher/ guide Matthew is. Just like an owl. Have a great day.

    • LosmanPO

      Thanks for the advice. I am an engineer and I have always struggled with personal listening. I am an active listener and hear every word that is said, but I listen to fix instead of to understand. This may have use in the workplace, but has not done me any favors in my personal relationships. My focus tends to be on solving a problem (even when a problem hasn’t been presented) rather than on understanding truly what this person is trying to communicate to me. As I’m listening, my mind immediately presents solutions instead of allowing me to understand that person’s full message. It also leads to me interrupting and steering the conversation towards my own thoughts on the matter, which is exactly opposite of what this person really wanted. I too am working on this and feel we are both making steps in the right direction by identifying it as something that we need to work on.

      • Elaine Cooper

        Our realization is the first step. Good luck to both us fixers.

  • Jeff K

    I find I get the most out of mass when I go with the intention of latching onto one word or phrase in the gospel or homily that reinforces a common theme (such as fulfillment, passion, increasing faith) I am striving for that day or that week. It is amazing how relevant the message at mass can be if we encourage ourselves to really listen.

  • Bonny Jones

    I also sit up front because I am easily distracted and so I better focus in the front pew. I started doing this many years ago and now the mass has more meaning to me because I am more in tuned with what is happening and what is being said.

  • Peggy

    Myself and another parishioner lead the rosary a half hour before the Mass starts and this has help me to quiet my thoughts and really be a better participant in the Mass. Now after listening to Matthew this morning I will be more aware of listening for God’s voice speaking directly to me.

  • Robin

    I noticed that when I close my eyes at Mass during prayers, not only am I less distracted and am able to really listen to the words of the prayers, but I also start hearing the faithful voices praying along side me and am that much more inspired.

  • Peggy Pureber

    How do I order a Mass Journal?

    • Susan

      There is a link in the “Act” section above.

  • Barry Dupre

    I feel I am more attentive in Mass now in my life than ever before. I have been listening to all parts of the Mass with fervor, especially the homily.
    That being said, check this out!
    My father and I attended the 6:15 Mass this morning. He has been struggling for some time with his hearing. He has fluid behind the ears and just had surgery (tubes were inserted through the eardrum) to relieve the pressure and improve his hearing. It has been improving but he still struggles to hear the homily, as Father speaks with a soft voice.
    I thought I had listened very well but, while on the way home, when my father asked me to elaborate on the homily, I paused, and had to think very hard about what was said. My father even had to jog my memory with a tidbit of what he heard. Then it flowed, somewhat! Yet, I was surprise at my inability to draw from my recent memory more detail and meaning behind Father Sonnier’s words.
    Then we arrived home where I sat down with Dynamic Catholic and watched Matthew and Peter’s videos on listening. I thought, WOW! If that’s not a message from the Holy Spirit, huh!!!
    I believe journaling will certainly make a difference. I’m amazed that we sometimes think we are conscious and listening. This experience has shown me the true face of listening.

    I pray for the grace to consciously listen, actively. Not only with zeal, but with purpose!

    God bless you all and have a great day!
    God bless you all and have a great day!

    • Barry Dupre

      I too sit in the front pew, and we prayed the Rosery before Mass. Still, I’m amazed at my fractured recollection!

      • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

        After having read my allowed (self imposed limit) .2 “pages” of comments yours was the one that hit home hardest . My husband of 53 yrs. and a young granddaughter are both hearing impaired. With Joe it is an older issue but with her some info is quite new . Praying is the name of the game . Now, if we listen so well or at least try to do this well .at Mass , let’s try it with our other relationships as well . You’re lucky Barry enjoy it . For us not so lucky , we can try the eye contact and the not interrupting except for clarification . God really is giving me a workout with this stuff having to hear the word , “What”, 1K x/day . A real conversation is all but impossible .I must work on this until I drop.
        Only then will I be the best version of myself as far as God is concerned because that’s when He will call me to Him . Happiest of Easters to you , your Dad and family . *_* K

        • Barry Dupre

          Hi Karen,
          I agree with you wholeheartedly! Prayer is more important to us than oxygen! I consider what’s more important, our finite earthly lives or Eternity. Our physical bodies need oxygen, yes, but that is transitory! It is far more important that we sustain our spirit, or rather, our soul, with prayer to that which is Eternal.
          It is true, the greatest challenge in listening is with those we love most and live with everyday, especially if they’re impaired. Next to God, shouldn’t they received our undivided attention more than any other. Listening is a virtue, while the proud and the arrogant shout to be heard.
          I often get the “what” Interruption when I’m only two or three words into a question or comment with my Dad. I have to pray for compassion, patience and understanding. (Thank God for the sacrament of reconciliation) It is He who is struggling to hear, where my only challenge is to listen! To truly listen with love. Communication is much more than mere words. What says “I care” more than constant eye contact and unswerving attention. Though it isn’t easy we try our best.
          I too know the difficulty of daily life when loved ones are impaired or disabled. My two sons Beau and Dylan or terminally disabled with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, but as was stated earlier, this too is transitory. Learning to be grateful with what time we are given or what abilities we do or do not possess is certainly our spiritual endeavor. Yet, learning to truly listen can only bring us one step closer to being Christ-like and the best version of ourselves that we can be!

          Give me your granddaughter’s name and I will pray for you, Joe, and the rest of your family in our daily rosary!

          God bless you and yours and have a Happy Easter!

    • SanctusSanctus

      Oh I love your story and experience here and how I wish I could once again take my parents to Mass…. You “honor” your Dad. Have a super day!

  • colleen

    As a mom of 9, I feel like I have missed really being able to listen at most of the masses we have been to for the last 21 years. I find it very hard to focus on the Mass itself with a squirming baby or noisy toddler. I remind myself that this is only a stage (though in my case, a looooong one) and that I am still receiving all the graces of being there, but I found that I need to make sure I get to Mass alone occasionally and that I try to get quiet prayer time at home. It is a challenge to be sure! I am so appreciative at least for the bells being rung at the consecration because at least that’s one concrete time during the Mass that my distracted mind is called back so well to the “source and summit” of our beautiful faith. And always at the bells, I whisper the name of Jesus in the ear of whatever child I am holding so they, too, learn to make that association. Someday, I know I will be missing these days of having small children, and then I will have no more excuse for my distraction! 😉

  • Lydia Ross

    Being a member of the choir, at times I seem to be trying to find the next song we will be singing and that is a distraction. Very frustrating. So the other day I was asking myself how I could decrease or eliminate this distraction and it suddenly occurred to me that I could invest in a box of page markers. The Holy Spirit guided me to a simple solution.

  • Carol

    If a friend had not reminded me of your daily inspiration, I would have missed this. I found it in my spam. Too often I am so involved in doing or trying to be perfect, I’m not listening to others.

  • Veronica

    One thing that I have done to become a better listener is to not plan on my head what I am going to say to the person I am listening to or to God. I intentionally decide to listen to the God and don’t speak and also to the person who is talking to me.

  • Denise

    I sing with the choir and we sit in the front and off to the side. It is a good place to be and really be a part of mass and focus on the word of God. In my former church, we sat in the choir loft upstairs and at the back of the church, which made it more difficult to feel like you were part of the mass. Also, for me, the music is an essential part of the mass. It is so important to me, that I changed churches when there was no longer any music at mass! Music helps me connect and feel God’s presence.

  • raymond martinez

    When the bell rings and alter servers walk in with our parish priest my attention is 100%. I set near the front along the inside aisle. As they walk past me I feel part of the early Church watching and listening to someone who has been instructed by the tradition and discipleship of our Lord Jesus Christ, Chosen by our Heavenly Father to help lead and guide where he is calling us. Sometimes I find it helpful during the liturgy of the word to visualize myself on a mount in the clearing listening to Jesus himself speaking sharing his mission for us. Works well for me lol then the bell rings during the consecration of host and now I visualize being in the upper room. TAKE THIS ALL OF YOU AND EAT OF IT 🙂

  • Bethany

    Like Peter, I always try to listen for something that God is trying to share with me in that Mass. It could be in the homily or in the Scripture readings, but sometimes it’s just in the words of a hymn or the prayers of the faithful. This is something I learned from Matthew Kelly years ago!

  • SanctusSanctus

    I approach Mass to “re-enter” that on-going and mysterious Holy Sacrifice of the Lord. I’m united with Him, at the foot of the Cross, with His Mom, so sad and tearful. I “listen” to the homilies I value so much, knowing that the priest has probably spent hours and hours praying for Holy Spirit inspiration to impart the Word of God to our understanding. This is hopefully at least 15 minutes to be beneficial to me personally. Suddenly, I look up and tell Him how sorry I am and ask for His forgiveness and blessings and tell Him I love Him. In union with Him, I am now able to extend my love and forgiveness to my family and friends….
    I don’t have a notebook, but I try to write His words upon my heart. I praise Him in song, hoping no one else hears how out of tune I really am! Ha, ha, ha! Have a great day, and pray you don’t have to sit next to me!

  • kate

    I sit in the last row. I love Mass. I also love the words and the music. Many times I will shed a tear of sadness or joy during Mass. I sit in the back row and close my eyes and listen. I find it a very peaceful place in the world.

  • David Smith

    Last year I attended a mens retreat. It focused on the Mass, explaining the meaning of each part. I was reinvigorated with the spirit and started on a quest to learn more. I have since then tried to get to Mass early, pray or read getting myself ready for the Mass. I participate in the songs and responses thinking about the words I am saying. I get more out of each Mass now than I did before.

  • Kathy

    This is off topic: please pray for my dear friend and her husband who is gravely ill.
    You are a good and holy group of men and women and I feel lead to turn to you. Thank you.

    • SanctusSanctus

      Definitely praying the Divine Mercy for you and your friends. Love the idea that you appeal to this forum for prayers. “Eternal Father we offer You the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world… For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Amen” Great idea to think we all present here pray for each other. Thanks ahead for your prayers for me as well.

      • Kathy

        Thank you.

    • Clair Sirofchuck

      Please know my prayers are with you and your friends.

  • JayAW

    There’s an old Zen proverb that says “To learn to listen to that which is not spoken.” During the mass I try to listen to those times when nothing is being spoken. I notice the facial expressions of the priest and the altar servers, I see the various statues of Jesus and Mary and imagine their presence, I feel the reverberation of the organ playing and filling the church with awesome sounds. There’s so much to hear, see, and learn, even when no words are being spoken.

  • Hannah Briseno

    I like to close my eyes during certain mass parts to really help my focus. It helps me to be centered and makes me rely on other senses than sight. Sometimes I get distracted looking around at other people because we have a semi-circle layout, so closing my eyes helps me focus on what’s happening. Also, going to daily mass helps me appreciate the Sunday mass more. It helps you see the mass from different perspectives as well. I have not been disciplined as I should for daily mass unfortunately, and I can tell the difference.

  • Judy Schultze

    I get so much more out of the Mass now that I read the gospel ahead of time…take my journal…and get to Mass early.

  • Amy Reinhardt

    I approach the Mass with a feeling of hope. If I’ve been having a tough week, I’m certain that Mass will become the highlight of said week. Through my prayer and quiet reflection time, I know God will reach out to me in whatever way I need. It’s a relaxing period of time where I feel at peace.

  • Cheryl Smith

    I like to say that mass is not a spectator sport. I participate by listening, singing, praying. I also like to sit in the front — it allows me to see and focus more on what is going on during the mass. It’s a habit I got from my childhood, because my mother was very hard of hearing and she could hear better up front because there was no amplification back then.

  • Kevin Clark

    One thing that I do during mass I look upon the cross above or behind the altar. It centers me and keeps me focused during the mass. Sometimes that cross glows and gets vibrant in color. I realize that Jesus is always with me and thank him for his sacrifice. For the glory go I

  • Laura LaDue

    The mass I attend is also my adoration hour. I’ve found that being alone in that room during mass keeps out a lot of distractions. I try to listen to the gospels and homily to see what I can learn that day.

  • Scott Sowers

    I had a wise old man tell me something I’ll never forget and I use it often. You have probably heard it as well. He was talking about listening to people. He said, “That’s why God gave you two ears and one mouth, He wants you to listen twice as much as you speak.” That is so relevant in today’s social turmoil. People hear, but they don’t listen and they speak from behind their keyboards through social media, etc. Ever since the introduction of Facebook, Twitter and all that, we have become so divided as a country and a world. I don’t think the majority of people today are mature enough to handle all the avenues we have to voice our opinions without consequence. These avenues are ahead of their time. I wish all that would just go away for a while and we could get back to one on one conversations with family and friends in our communities. Church and mass are where we can go to get that personal contact. Maybe I’m wrong, but when you take the face to face or voice to voice personal contact out of relationships, you miss out on what Jesus was all about. Can you imagine if Jesus posted on Facebook? He would probably get hammered. It’s when he spoke to people in person that he touched hearts. I gave up Facebook for Lent. I may never go back. God bless.

  • Joan

    I often close my eyes during the readings or during prayers because it helps me tune out the distractions and focus on what I am listening to, silently praying along with, or praying aloud. Sometimes I fear that I look weird, but the difference it makes for me is worth it.

  • mrstag

    When I go to mass I like to focus on the prayers while looking up at Jesus on the cross and remembering his sacrifice for us. I also love to watch the priest during the consecration as he changes the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. Then receiving him in the Eucharist.

  • lizmvr

    I definitely know that I feel better when I sing and say the responses. I actually sometimes get frustrated if the sung responses are not known to me because I feel I’m missing out if I can’t say respond with everyone else. At those times, I need to ask for grace and probably listen to God.

  • Dennis Whittington

    When I listened to this video, I immediately thought of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. For those not familiar with the work, it is a novel about the correspondence between a master demon, Screwtape, and his nephew apprentice, Wormwood. In it, Screwtape counsels Wormwood in the art of trapping souls for Hell. One of the subjects he covers is the Mass. He tells his nephew not to worry and obsess over the fact that his subject has started to attend Mass. He assures him that his subject is not lost to them yet. He then tells him that rather than trying to prevent him from going to Mass that he should instead fill the subject’s mind with clutter and nonsense during the Mass. In this way, the subject is distracted and gets nothing out of the Mass and perhaps soon he will give up and stop going there altogether.

    I have that problem from time to time. I am a Eucharistic Minister and a lector for my parish. I’ve caught myself more than once concentrating on what I will be doing there rather concentrating on what I am doing. It was unsettling to realize that in doing service for God that I was actually distracting myself from Him at the same time.

    What I found helped was to change my prayers before Mass. Instead of the usual Our Father (which I still do say before each Mass) and various intentions, I now ask God to make me a worthy vessel for His will. I then offer up the Eucharist I will receive for my spiritual well being or for the well being of others. It has turned my concentration back to the Mass and more specifically to the Eucharist. I hang on every word to every prayer and hymn. I say the words to the consecration as the priest does. When I pray after receiving the Eucharist, I reflect on the dedication I made for it before the Mass. This simple step keeps me focused. I now attend Mass because I need to. Not only because the Church says I need to but I need to for myself.

    • LosmanPO

      Thanks for sharing your story Dennis. I have always wanted to read the Screwtape Letters and the snippet you provide has really piqued my interest. God bless!

    • Pat

      The Screwtape Letters is a must read to overcome or at least harness distractions.

  • Dennis Salemi

    When I go to mass I can’t wait to receive our lord’s BODY AND BLOOD! How AWESOME!!

  • Joyce

    Mass is the workout for my soul. Sunday Mass helps me start the week off right.

  • laura williams

    I sit toward the front..but what helped me be more connected is to become a Eucharistic minister. I feel a stronger connection to Jesus and his teachings.

  • Ann

    I am almost 60, a cradle Catholic and (almost) daily communicant. What I am saying is I have been to mass a lot! I experienced one of the most meaningful, deeply moving masses EVER just this past Sunday. Why? The only thing I did differently was I got there about 5 minutes early & spent all of that time praising and glorifying God for allowing me to be present at that incredible sacrificial sacrament on that day at that hour. God answered me with the ability to concentrate and truly participate in the mass. It was incredible, and brought me to tears.

  • Tami Pickart

    This is a bit off topic for today but I am asking for prayers. For Lent I have chosen to get up a bit earlier every morning to say the rosary. The last couple of days I have been experiencing a great deal of resistance in this and in other areas of my life for quite some time. I’ve never reached out like this before but today I felt God’s call to ask for support in this.

    • Joyce W.

      I think the struggle comes halfway through Lent because the enemy hates our increase in prayer and other Lenten activities. I know I am feeling that lately, needing a lot of patience in some situations. I pray for you to receive God’s strength to continue to draw nearer to Him. Sometimes life throws curves that make it difficult, but God’s grace can even use these interruptions. God bless.

    • LosmanPO

      We will be praying for you Tami. We all have to find unique ways to slay resistance every day. We win battles and lose battles, and these battles change and present themselves anew each day. I pray that you can successfully remind yourself that the benefits you receive from staying disciplined in your commitment to the Rosary and in the other areas of your life will outweigh whatever is causing you to resist them.

    • Pat

      You have my prayers Tami.

    • Rosemary Kissel

      Tami, I’m also trying to say a rosary a day, and have found success by picking a person/friend/acquaintance to pray for. I send them a quick text and tell them they are my Lenten Prayer Focus for the day. Then I also try to remember them during the day’s activities. The prayers usually bless both of us.

  • Gene Honigford

    I just ask the Lord that I might be in full communion with him. Nothing more. Keeps me focused on the Word and the Eucharist.

  • Clair Sirofchuck

    I like to listen closely to the words and prayers of the Mass. I also focus my attention on a religious image in the church, whether a cross, or a statue of Mary, to keep my eyes and mind intent on Christ. When it comes time for Holy Communion, I watch the Eucharist and the chalice. I try to approach Mass with an open mind, and let God speak to me through the readings, psalm and homily, especially if I’ve a week where things didn’t go as well as I’d have liked or if I was confused about something. God always seems to answer my questions through the Mass.

  • CathieHeenan

    I approach the mass by singing all the songs and saying all the prayers.

  • Mary

    I’ve recently started offering my Mass and Communion for a specific person, a practice that I learned in Catholic school decades ago. I find that it makes my relationship with Christ in the Eucharist more intense and personal.

  • Dixie

    I believe that becoming an active listener can be difficult for many. But by concentrating on what another person has to say, can be such a gift to the person speaking. Being heard can make the person speaking feel important and shows that you care.
    Listening is a skill that needs to be practiced. It is also an unselfish act.

  • SB

    I sit up front & center so I can see & hear everything. I like to sing as well especially when it’s a song that I really like. It’s like being a guest in God’s home …

  • Teresa

    We had a priest who worked closely with pope John Paul for years. He had seen many miracles performed by the pope and there was something about this priest that made me think he too had special gifts. My children were altar servers and this priest had named each section of the church for various saints. He also explained that saints including your departed family could meet you at communion through the Eucharist. So since then I attend mass with all my favorite saints and deceased relatives. I ask them to walk me to communion and receive it with me. I also ask them to tell me how to be like them in their relationship with Jesus. It’s changed completely the way I attend mass.

    • Mog

      What a lovely idea. I too believe aT the moment of Holy Communion, heaven & earth meet, so this is when we can be closest to our departed love ones. I remember many years ago, daring to share this with a friend who lost a teenage daughter, she found it very comforting.

  • J Schodron

    Actively participating is the key to being a part of the mass and getting something out of the message. Live the mass!

  • Joyce W.

    I love Mass and sometimes by the time we get to the second reading I think, “This is going by too fast, we are already so far into the hour”. I do prefer to sit ahead of the middle of the church, rather than right at the front, and if I have ever sat at the back I felt I was soooo far away! Love to see little ones in church, even if they do wiggle and make noises. They bring life! They remind us that the Mass is about God’s presence in the whole world around us, more than just about a time of worship.

  • Shyne4god

    One thing I hate has helped me is read the daily readings before Mass cause then I can be more aware of what the readings are another is the singing helps me to get involved ! I sit in the middle , I will have to try closer .

  • Geraldine A. Aspen

    I approach the Mass with an open heart, listening, and active participation so I may hear God’s call.

  • Bill S

    There are two things I try to do at each mass. #1. I always read the readings before mass begins so that I am familiar with them when they are proclaimed from the lectern. #2. I believe that each week, we come to mass to receive Jesus, not just his Body & Blood, but to learn what we can do as Christians to go forth into the world to be Christ for others. I don’t always get the message and don’t always do what I believe I am supposed to be doing but I’m making the effort. It’s a work in progress all the time.

  • Lino Viola

    I find that going over the readings (at least the Gospel) during the week prepares me for Sunday. I also like to get there a little bit earlier and pray and place myself in the presence of God. I will look into the idea of a Mass journal. I don’t know why I never thought of this since I’ve been doing something similar during my two hours I spend each week in Eucharistic Adoration. I bring a pad and pen there and 95% of the time I write a letter to Jesus. I feel that once I incorporate the written word with my prayer that it amplifies my experience. I have a stack of letters to Jesus which I can use to see where I am in my spiritual journey.

  • Kathy

    I taught religion for many years and always told my students to focus on what the priest said in his homily. The year my daughter died a few weeks before All Souls Day. AS i whet to mass on that day I hoped to gain incite from one of my favorite priests homily. However, when mass started I saw that he wasn’t saying the mass. The mass was celebrated by a priest who did not inspire me. Then I remembered what I always told my students. Listen carefully. So I did. He gave me one of the most inspiring thoughts about a happy death that I remember to this day 25 years later. I would have missed it if I had not listened. Thank you Father John and Thank you God.

  • Shelley Heberle

    I enjoy being a a Lector and I have started singing along…I did have a chance to see Matthew Kelly recently in Folsom, CA and have just begun carrying a Mass Journal. I hope I have the discipline to fill the pages!
    Have a wonderful Thursday 🐝

  • Donna L

    I find that closing my eyes during the readings helps me to eliminate distractions and focus more deeply on the message.

  • Agnes Manlangit

    It helps me to listen better when I read the readings a day before.

  • LosmanPO

    Over the past 9 months, I have approached the Mass in a new way and with a fresh perspective. Throughout his book “Resisting Happiness,” Matthew Kelly talks about our habits and how our dominant thoughts direct our decisions. My previous poor habits of being a passive spectator had to replaced by good habits that make me a better version of myself. These good habits include being actively present in the Mass, seeking more ways to be involved in Church and Mass ministries, reviewing the Sunday scripture readings during the previous week, and keeping a Mass Journal. In doing these things, I am more focused and prepared to open my ears to hear and receive God’s message for me. I hold on to His wisdom longer, increasing my understanding so that I can put what I heard into action. I noticed that as I changed my habits for the better my attitude and thoughts about Mass changed too. Mass stopped being an obligation and became something that I long for and cannot do without.

  • Deborah Jones

    I, as well as my children, are very easily visually distracted so we opt to sit near the front. We also make it a point to get to Mass at least 10 minutes before it starts so we have a chance to prayerfully communicate to God 1) what we were grateful for in our week, 2) where we struggled and need help and 3) to ask that the Mass strengthen us. I can’t tell you my children (age 10 and 12) are totally engaged in Sunday Mass, like they are with Mass at their school, where the priest knows his audience are children. We recently moved from Atlanta where our priest was engaging to listen to no matter what your age. Since we moved, our priest reads the homily from his notes, which makes it very hard for me personally to walk out with something inspiring to think about–I know this is a problem for my children as well. I do love the idea of keeping a Mass journal and plan to try that.

  • Clare54

    I think I listen different now that I am older. I remember during Sunday mass being fidgety and bored when I was a little girl. Then as a young mother I felt distracted by my children’s inability to stay focused. I fell away for quit a few year’s and was called *home* just last year. When Jesus called me home and after receiving the gift of forgiveness during confession I could not wait to return! I listened to Jesus call back to the church and I listen intentionally, intently and with an open mind and heart to hear His every word.

    • TerriB

      Yay!! Welcome back!

      • Clare54

        Thank You Terri B. It has been an awesome year since then. I *Love* being Catholic!

  • frank wardega

    As a young man I was taught that the prime purpose of going to Mass was to worship God, Father, Son and Spirit. Then God feeds us with His Word and His Eucharist. That.has spoken to me for over forty yeas. Amen

  • Patricia Norris

    I love being part of the action, be it ushering and welcoming people coming in and going out, acting as a reader, or acting as a Eucharistic Minister. When I have an active role or make a conscious effort to use my voice, I find myself deeper into the mass. Proclaiming the word is my favorite activity, followed by distributing communion. What joy!

  • Ruth

    These past few weeks of lent have really boosted my appreciation of the Mass and made me pay more attention to what is going on. One thing that I hope to improve on is focusing my mind enough to get the most out of the small moments of reflection and personal prayer available during the mass.

    I know that for the most part Mass is supposed to be a community celebration, but there are plenty of moments at the beginning, during the intercessions, after receiving, ect… My mind is so caught up in listening and being distracted that it is hard to really focus during those moments and get the most out of them. I am trying to take some time before Mass even starts to meditate and practice getting my head where it needs to be.

  • Maria

    I try to approach Mass as a huge prayer offered up for SOMEONE. I try to think of who I want to pray for and listen to the petitions being offered up in the Mass. It’s important to remember that the Mass is one of the most powerful prayers in the Church. Let’s make the most of it!

  • Taryn Macary

    I approach Mass with a sense of reverence, intimacy, and deep, deep longing. (I love to see children and babies; however, I have a hard time with adults talking loudly before Mass or during Mass.) As so many others have said I sit in the front row, a ritual I started when my several children were young, and still need now to be as close to the priest and Christ as possible. Many times I will close my eyes, and always, always, during the Our Father so that I can really be in prayer and not on auto-pilot. I also love to approach Mass with joy by how I sing out.

    • Clare54

      Taryn I love your expression by saying, “and still need now to be as close to the priest and Christ as possible”. This is such a beautiful expression…and the thought of being as *close* to Christ!! I am going to start doing the same thing and sit closer to the front so I can be as close to Christ as I can be. Thank You for sharing this.

      • Taryn Macary

        Many Blessings and Smiles –

  • Dorothy Huebner

    I like to sit up front also. I am short and often tall people will sit in front of me so I end up at what I call the Mass of the back of the heads. Then I will concentrate on the crucifix during Mass so I won’t be distracted. Everyone has to have a place to sit during Mass, but it would be nice if people when looking for a place to sit would be more aware of the height of the person in the pew directly behind them.

  • Karen

    When we were raising our girls sometimes they would behave poorly in church. We had moved to a new town and after the first Sunday we were there and had to take one of our daughters out during mass. We met the priest after mass and he told us if we sat in the front row where they could watch mass they would behave better. Yeah right.. then everyone could see us leave church. But the next Sunday we went to the front and you guessed it our girls did behave better. Been front rowers ever since.

    • Lisa

      Yes, little kids can’t conceptualize things that are at a distance; yet most people with small children sit in the back.

  • Lisa

    I used to have a tiny prayer journal that I kept in my pocket. I would write something down in the morning and in the afternoon, I would have a problem I couldn’t figure out. I would pull out my little notebook and there was the answer. I had already forgotten.

  • Janet Daly

    I agree with Peter that I love to participate in the Mass, not just let in flow by. I go over the readings before Mass, usually at home with my Magnificat monthly booklet, then I make sure to ask God to prepare me for the Mass when I arrive. I sing (probably a little off key), listen carefully to what the priest is saying at the altar, respond with the prayers that the faithful should say, find the homilies are directed at me. I am fortunate when I am a lector or Eucharistic minister. I offer myself to God when the elements are presented to the priest, and I try to focus on the Lord’s presence when I receive Communion, and try NOT to be distracted. I remember the psalm, I want to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, now and eternally.

  • Carol Rosenberg

    I try to sit close to front also. Less distraction and I feel more interaction with the priest when I see his face up close. I also sing and really feel the words…music brings me closer to God in so many ways.

  • Rosemary Kissel

    I love sitting in front at Church, but when I started playing harp at Sunday Mass sitting on the altar took some getting used to. I keep in mind the picture of the Sacred Heart (“Jesus, I trust in you.”) behind me and the beautiful Holy Spirit stained glass window facing me and overlooking the congregation. I have studied the Mass readings that week to find appropriate songs. This really helps me listen to God’s voice, and I pray that my music will bless those who hear it.

  • Jordan

    I went to another parish for an event and saw they were giving out Dynamic Catholic’s Mass Journal. I’ve played around with the thought of a Mass Journal before, but now I’m going to do it; got one entry down!

  • Laurie

    I love sitting up front at mass for many of the reasons already stated. Because I’m one of the first dozen to receive the Eucharist, as I walk back to my seat I look up and see the entire aisle filled on both sides with people coming forward to receive Christ. It gives me a great feeling as I return to my seat to know that I am one among many of the Body of Christ to whom it means so much to be in this place of faith. And also sitting near the front gives me more time to pray after receiving the Eucharist so I can really communicate with Jesus for several minutes more than when I sit further back.

  • Mary

    I enjoy singing, but when I pay attention to what the hymns are actually saying and praying, it has enhanced my attention and learning of what God is trying to say to me and what I need to say to Him.

  • Rita Gahr

    Yes I sit up front so I can see and hear the Mass but I always get there early so I can read the readings for the day before Mass starts, then when the Lector and the Priest do the readings during the Mass I put the Missal down and just Listen to them. I can concentrate on what they are saying and understand much more.

  • Kathryn Satko

    I follow the mass by reading as well as saying the parts. Helps keep my mind focused as I am easily distracted.

  • Barb Stuart

    I use to sit on the left side of the church when my kids were growing up.Now I sit on the right side in the middle because that is where the tabernacle is and I feel closer to God. I too, use to close my eyes to keep the distractions in low numbers.I participate in the Mass because it keeps me focused on Him. I keep reminding myself that this Mass is about Him,not me.My eyes are focused on the altar-that pulls me in.

  • Sharon Callon Schwartz

    My husband and I began serving as lectors a few years ago. One of the bonuses we received was a workbook for lectors that explains the history and significance of the readings. We use this to prepare and practice pronunciation and emphasis; but, we both enjoy reading and sharing about the commentaries every week – whether we are lectors or not. Often, we do this in the car on the way to Mass. And it’s interesting to listen to the homily after this reflection; and, we talk about the homily after Mass with more insight.

  • Sue

    When I first started going to Mass I sat with my RCIA sponsor. She sat pretty close to the back. I am a little deaf, so I did not catch all the words of the Mass. so I moved up closer to the front. It made quite a difference. I could see the Mass being performed ( Iam very short) So Mass meant a lot more to me because now — I could listen.

  • Carolina Morales

    Day 20

    Dear #BestLentEver Diary,

    It’s incredibly challenging going to Mass as a family with hubs (who is deaf) and our three year old.

    When I’m not interpreting (ASL) bits and pieces of the homily, I’m teaching my lil one how to participate at Mass and hold silence (um that part is HARD, haha). Especially during the breaking of the bread and consecration. The bells chime and Nico gets excited and yells, “Mommy, oigo las campanas!!” (mommy, I hear the bells). So it is hard to REALLY listen and take it all in. BUT, when I walk in to the church, I say in my heart, “I’m here Jesus. I’m here and I love you.” I participate as best as I can with all the distractions of a little one and signing and that’s ok. It’s part of how it’s supposed to be for me (us) right now and I’m content to be able to pass on the beauty of Mass to my family.

    Going to Mass on my own on Fridays during Lent has been GOLD. I never used to go 2x a week before doing this program. It’s something I am going to continue because being alone allows me to have that “take back” feeling. I’m more present with the readings and homily and so I leave with something to take back from the Mass.

    I have been enjoying all these Dynamic vids and wish I could get one every day of the year!!!

    • John L. Kemmis

      At our church, the homily are usually prepared, so Father has them printed and available before Mass. I sometimes pick one up as the Children’s Choir sometimes picks up in volume during the homily.

      • Carolina Morales

        John. That’s brilliant. You bring up a good point. We don’t have the homily printed out but we do have a weekly bulletin with a message relating to the readings. Thanks for reminding me of that because I tend to glance at the announcements of upcoming events and I tend to overlook the recap on Mass readings. Thank you again.

  • Bev

    After I received Matthew’s book from my priest at Christmas, I started keeping a mass journal. I read through the readings and gospel before going to mass and that helps me to listen better during mass. I write down the things that resonate with me during the homily and that helps me commit them to memory. This process has helped me become more engaged in the message. I have also used my journal entries to send short notes to my priest and share the impact that the mass had on me & to thank him for his great work.

  • Vicky Nehl

    The mass journal is something I would like to try, do you take notes during mass or do you make notes after mass. I’m horrible at remembering things that I heard and I’m afraid I will miss something if I don’t write down right then in there but is that proper??

    • John L. Kemmis

      When I journal at Mass, I only take notes of/from the homily. The homily is only given once. Whereas I usually read the Mass readings before Mass. And yes it is ok just to write down what you hear as important or that which makes an impression. Many priests/deacons start their homily by making a statement that is the foundation or key to their homily first. You need to be attentive. Allow the words to flow onto your paper. Don’t be concerned about missing something, as God is going to guide you as to what to hear at that moment. And it is not the volume of words you write down, for sometimes my notes consist of only a sentence or two. I hope you enjoy journaling God’s voice.

      • Vicky Nehl

        Thank you John! I am going to do this! So many times I hear something during Mass and then by the time I get home I have lost it.

    • Bev

      Hi Vicky. Matthew suggests listening to mass and just writing down one word that moves you during the readings, gospel, or homily. You could expand this to be a phrase or a few short notes. Then after mass you can refer to the word or phrase you wrote down and reflect on it further and write more if you choose. Some days I write more notes than other days. Some times I write down a word or phrase that I want to focus on applying during the week in my interactions with others. I don’t think it is improper because it is a way for you to connect with the mass and to maintain or improve your relationship with God. However, if you are concerned about whether it is proper or not, I would suggest that you contact your priest and see what his thoughts are on this process. I know my priests are so excited about individuals wanting to deepen their experience at mass and are so encouraging. I hope you find the answers that you need and I would suggest that you try it and see how you feel about it then. God bless you.

  • KGG

    I discovered the thing that helps me be an active listener through my ministry as a lector. Even on days that I am not the lector if I have read and reflected on the readings in advance it brings a whole new dimension to my attention at Mass. I look forward to the priest or deacon’s homily to see the different perspective than my own. Also, I am able to listen to the proclamation of the word instead of reading along, which is the way it is intended to be!

  • Leah Levitt

    I have volunteered to be both a Lector and Eucharist Minister. I find active participation in the Mass makes it very special to me. Please volunteer for this or usher, etc. The Church always needs volunteers and it will make you enjoy the Mass more.

  • Gale Kovach

    Many times in the past, I feel like I get distracted at Mass -maybe there is a child fidgeting, or someone is coughing, or just “I like that woman’s haircut.” So to curb that, I began staring at the large crucifix over the alter. My focus and prayers are going directly to Jesus. During the readings and homily, I look to the lectern, but if I am not singing a hymn, I am gazing at that cross. Again, it is like Jesus and I are in a one to one conversation through the whole Mass. It really changed how I celebrate and pray.

  • Karla

    I am at awed when I attend Mass. Because Jesus becomes real to me over and over through the scriptures, the music, the sermon. But most importantly I get fed through the real present of our Lord by partaKing of the Eucharist. Amen.

  • Paula Hecker

    Sometimes my mind wonders no matter where I sit. I found that if I think, “Alleluia!,” or “Praise the Lord!” It’s like a reset button. I seem to refocus and pay better attention. Sitting towards the front does seem to cut down on the distractions though. I love the idea of a Mass journal! I’ve never heard of that before. Cool!

  • Megan Murray

    I like the idea of a Mass journal because it requires more active engagement. What does the Dynamic Catholic Mass journal consist of? What are things to focus on in a mass journal?

  • Anne Parry

    Thanks for the idea of sitting up front. I do get distracted when I sit towards the back. I having hearing issues so I am sure if I sit up closer to the front I will hear better and get more out of the mass.

  • Sue Adamson Fritz

    I approach Mass as a coming home. Every time I enter church, I am washed over with peace and a feeling of homecoming!

  • Linda Lieser

    I like to sit towards the front part of the church. During Mass, I try never to take my eyes off the priest. During the homily, I try to be listening and relating the message to my life. I also close my eyes during the part where the priest talks about Jesus at the last supper and picture Christ sitting with His friends and offering up his body and blood to them.
    I love this video and the wisdom that comes along with taking part in this daily meditation.
    Love to all,

  • Anna Krystyniak

    To get the most of out god’s word, I need to sit up close to avoid distractions, even from my own kids. But I do my best.

  • V Unger

    I don’t sit on the ends of the pews. We move to the middle unless we are the last ones going in. When I was a new member of the parish, all the centers of the pews were open but you had to crawl over someone to get to them. I didn’t like the way that made me feel. If I see someone standing in the back, I invite them to sit next to us. Sometimes just one friendly face makes it easier to come more often to Mass.

  • K

    I sit towards the middle to front of the church during mass. I always follow along in the book during the songs and readings

  • Marlene

    I sit in the front row. No distractions. I read the readings before Mass. Before Mass I share what is on my mind with the Lord. I give it Up for Mass and keep it in the silence of my heart until the right moment. This premass prayer ends with”Open my heart my ears and my eyes so I can receive whatever message you have for me today. ” During the readings I read silently as not to be distracted. However the Gospel I stand and just listen as it washes over me.

  • Jeffery Turner

    Probably about ten years ago I have really wanted to try to be more focused at the Mass. I remembered serving as a child our preists taught us to keep our hands folded in prayer as much as possible when not actively doing something. I’d also noticed that so many statues of the saints, their hands are often folded in prayer, even the Blessed Virgin Mary! So, I began to attend mass with my hands folded for most of the Mass. Not with fingers laced together, but with palms and fingers pressed together and fingers pointing to heaven. My focus immediately improved. My normally easily distractible nature at mass left. I’m not perfect and not every celebration is without encumberences. For the rest of my life, I will attend mass in this posture. After all, it is our greatest prayer!

  • Regina

    I sit up front for two reasons, first I am height challenged and if I’m where I can’t see, I feel like Zacchaeus but there’s not a tree for me to climb. The second reason I’m sitting up front is that my Mother at 93 needs to sit up front to be able to hear and to be near for the priest or EM to give her the Eucharist. When we had young children we also sat up front so that they could see what was happening and for them to feel a part of the celebration.

  • ME

    I concentrate more by sitting in the front. I realize many celebrants encourage the congregation to move up. It gives all a better sense of community. Also, I’ve subscribed to the Magnificat so I’m able to follow the Mass better. I don’t miss words or phrases of the readings even if the reader eats his/her words. The Mass becomes more meaningful and this helps me stay focused on what is going on in the altar.

  • Jason Meler

    I am grateful to sit in any of the pews when my small children are behaving. It feels unnatural to be in a room behind glass and to hear an intercom mass. However, it does feel like we are disturbing others who would like silence and less distraction when we attempt to move to the front. Not everyone is the same and each part of the body is important whether front pew saint or cryroom mom.

    • MaryAnne Casaul

      Jason I agree. I was a cryroom mom at one point and I was so grateful for it! I could still follow along with the mass and my children were not disturbing anyone else’s peace. My kids were happy and we all went up to communion together. I found it to be a win win situation for everyone. Those days will go by quickly and before you know it you will be in the front pew hopefully with your adult children. God Bless!

  • Elizabeth Mahar

    When I come to mass I always kneel first and say a silent prayer that Jesus will help me to open my eyes, my ears, my mind, my heart and my very soul to the Word of God. That is how I approach mass.

  • MaryAnne Casaul

    At mass I follow along in singing the songs, following the readings and prayers and really listening and focusing on the message in the homily. During the consecration I follow the prayers the priest says and at the sign of peace try to make contact with people around me. After receiving communion I put myself in God’s presence, thanking Him for giving me this time with Him and asking for His help for the week with any other issue I may be facing. At the end of the Mass I take in the final blessing as if it were only mine and end with singing along praising our creator at the end. I always feel so refreshed to go back out and face the world.

  • Rosie

    I just had this conversation with my pastor and parents of a 2nd grade First Communion class. I told them to approach the Mass by participating. If you just sit and mumble the responses, I find I get very little out of Mass. However, when I listen intently to everything that is going on, I am filled and feel as if I can go out and share the Good News with everyone I meet. Mass is a celebration so singing and praying with my Church community helps me to become one with them.

  • Susie Caughey

    I approach the mass having already read the reading(s), responsorial psalm and gospel passage. It definitely helps me to repeat the responsorial psalm without making up a few of my own words! I also open my mind and heart to the message of the homily. I am blessed to attend daily mass in a Franciscan church in NYC with such inspiring priests and my local Parish has a very dynamic Pastor on fire with re-energizing our Parish. I receive Holy Communion as the greatest privilege of being born into the Catholic faith and I leave church praying that God will use me as His vessel to bring Jesus to others. I have been filled with such an indescribable peace I have come to know in Him alone. I want others to have that same experience …. so very much.

  • Judy

    Wow! My approach to Mass has drastically changed because of my eye disease. Ever since attending CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish retreat), I was taking notes during the homilies. I also used the little notebook as a way to capture all the words of inspiration God led me to hear and see. I would look back from inspiration, encouragement, hope, etc. I miss those notebooks however God has shifted my life (for better or worse? Still undecided) with this eye disease.

    These days, I read the readings in the missal before Mass begins, and I sing with a strong voice. I used to play guitar at Mass but my eyes betrayed me and I’m unable to read the music easily. As I have written previously, I need to have my eyes closed much of the time at Mass, and it helps me to hear better. The more that has been taken away from me, the greater my ability to hear the Holy Spirit whispers into my heart. He’s mighty quick too. Praise God!!

  • Debbie Knight

    I like to sit up front, a throw back from when I had young ones. Our church had a side entrance and when you entered you were almost guaranteed a good seat as no one seems to like it up front. I have often wondered if Jesus was going to be at Mass how hard it would be to get a front row seat. We pay big bucks to get front row seats at a concert. People are funny creatures😉

  • LJ

    I got myself there and felt very uncomfortable. Why? Several familiar faces were there plus legalism. Why? Wiggling around, I got up and went into the sanctuary to ask Cathy, “are you being a good girl’? Why? I also asked the reader if she made the top she was wearing. Why? Relationships are important.

  • Laurel

    I enjoy recharging my spiritual battery for the week. I enjoy the entirety of the Mass, from the moment I walk into the church and dip my hand in the holy water, I feel a sense of peace and awe steal over me. I always enjoy our Priest’s homilies. Coming from a Protestant background I find them refreshingly on point and direct. I have blessed to attend numerous Masses in many locations around the world, and I feel welcome in every one as I can still participate no matter the language. I love that I am joining “people of every time and place” in a unified adoration. It is so awesome. I think that it is a tiny bit of what it must be like to join the angel choir in adoration of the Creator.

  • Mary Ellen

    I approach Mass in the car, on the way to Mass, asking my Blessed Mother to worship the Lord with me & teach me how to offer our God the sweet sacrifice of praise. I ask her to lend me her heart & keep me in her own pure heart so that when Jesus comes to me in Holy Eucharist, He will be coming to His Mother in me, with me beside her. I ask Mother Mary to prepare my soul as she prepared the stable at Bethlehem for the coming of Jesus. Then I offer up all the prayers & indulgences for her dear intentions. The Mass is alive for me. It’s like I walked into heaven, and God has so much for me each time. Praise the Lord of heaven & earth for His Goodness in giving us this holy sacrifice.

    • Tina Xinastle

      Wonderful! Thanks for sharing, Mary Ellen

  • Janice

    I like to arrive a few minutes early to get my choice seat somewhere in the back center area, there is something about seeing people joined together in oneness, in God’s house side by side, fellow believers! I feel the safest when I am in church, I know there will be no outside interference, I carry so much concern for this over stimulated world but once I pass through the door I feel a sense of peace & hope! Leaving is always the hard part so I never rush! The thought has crossed my mind, “I wish I could just move in”!

  • Michael Ennis

    I approach Mass with the hope for a great homily. I also take the time after receiving communion to thank God for directing me to His house and being able to worship Him. I also thank Him for His daily blessings for myself, my family, our friends and their families, and all of His blessings.
    God Bless

  • Libby

    As another dimension of trying to have the best lent ever, I completed a bible study of “A Biblical Walk through the Mass”. Being a cradle Catholic it is so easy to become distracted and take the Mass for granted. I have been wowed by the study because it brings you more deeply into the various parts of the Mass and where they are in the Bible. Most especially the profound intimate union we have with Jesus when we receive Him in the Eucharist. So now I make a deliberate effort to focus and recall what is specifically happening. It does help as others noted to close your eyes and just think of God and our share in the Heavenly liturgy. I also think that sitting up front keeps you more focused. Although I am a more in the middle type. God Bless

  • Gina Loyola

    What has helped me to be a better listener is to close my eyes. I started doing it because the English is my second language, so when I close my eyes I concentrate more. Then I also discovered the few distractions I have. So now that I understand well the language still keep my eyes close and it helps me to really listen!

  • Peter

    I find being a reader and a eucharistic minister helps me to play an active part in the Mass.

  • Christine

    We had an incredibly dynamic and energetic priest who abruptly left us. I’ve been to Masses all over the world and nobody gave a Mass like he did. In moving forward without our beloved, very vibrant priest…I admit it has become difficult to engage my mind at Mass like I used to. I have found it so helpful to prep for Mass by going over the readings and Gospel ahead of time. What a difference it has made in what I take away each week.

  • Trevor Pelkey

    I approach mass by actively participating in it as a lector at times, singing along to every song, and truly reflecting on the word of God presented to me.

  • Nanci Johnston

    I love to sit in different places each Sunday. It really makes me more in touch with the Mass, and I find that I meet new people when doing the sign of peace / it’s fun to decide where I’ll sit each week.
    A funny story about sitting in church. One of my favorite priests was Father George (he passed away when rather young). Anyway, he grew up in a large family and they got to church early every Sunday so they could sit in the same pew. Well, one Sunday, sure enough, someone else was there and they couldn’t sit in that pew. Father’s mom was so upset & distracted she could barely contain herself. When looking back on this Father had to laugh and did we all, but it does go to show that some of us are so focused on the small things during Mass, we forget to realize it’s Jesus there right in front of us, and He doesn’t care where we sit as long as we’re engaged with Him in this beautiful sacrament.

    • Linda Carmelle

      So true=)

  • Eduardo Hoover

    I like to prepare for the Mass but never thought of journaling about it; what a wonderful idea. Recent confession is a great start to Mass and talk about listening; could you imagine being a priest listening to all those confessions? I get to Mass 40 minutes early to pray the Rosary, pray for my family and those involved in the Mass including the Parishioners who plead for me to pray for them to the Lord at the beginning of Mass. Many times I’m the only one who responds, “And with your Spirit!” during the greating. I don’t know if people are sleeping or are perplexed by the Irish accent of my priest or more likely they haven’t prepared themselves for worship. Well tomorrow I start journaling the Mass and pray for me to the Lord our God. Thank you.

  • Pearl Brown

    I approach the Mass in a way where if I am actively participating I get more out of the Mass and truly hear the Lord. It’s beautiful. I just love the Lord and Mass

  • Marilyn Russell

    Really some great ideas! I have started to sit in different areas of the church and have found a different perspective as I do so. Being close to the Stations of the Cross; being closer to the Sanctuary and the alter; being in closer proximity to the Tabernacle; closer to the pulpit when The Word of God is being read; being closer to the statues of the Saints, to our Blessed Mother Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

  • Tony Pantera

    As a member of the choir I find that sometimes I am tempted to be thinking about what I am suppose to sing for the next song or start to open the next song sheet to be prepared for the next song. At those times I remind myself why I am here and double my efforts to focusing on what is being said.

  • Paul

    I usually approach mass by trying to get there early to have some quiet time to give thanks and pray for my intentions and family. I enjoy following along with the mass in the book, and prefer when I can read along with the liturgy in its entirety instead of just a summary of the readings and the gospel. I liked reading some of the best practices in the prior posts and hope I can put these ideas to good use.

  • christol murch

    Attendance at and participation in Mass are vital to my life. I do believe that Christ comes to us
    as a result of the consecration of the bread and wine. I am so grateful that I believe that Jesus Christ
    is really present.
    God does not need me to go to Mass every day. I need to receive Jesus each day.
    I thank Christ during the consecration that He has called me to be present and that He is present.
    And, given the dearth of priests, thank God that some men become priests.
    Hopefully, women will be able to become priests in the near future.

    • Tina Xinastle

      How wonderful that you are so passionate for our Lord in the Eucharist!
      Just a thought. . perhaps Jesus would have picked a woman as an apostle if he wanted women to be priests. I believe women have many other roles and responsibilities which a priest is unable to fill.

      • christol murch

        I thought a great deal about your thoughts about what you said, “Jesus would have picked a woman as an apostle if he wanted women to be priests.” It was quite wise of Christ not to pick women as apostles given the historic times in which He lived. Christ was a revolutionary, one who called the Jewish leadership hypocrites, drove the money changers from the temple, healed the sick on the Sabbath, and dared to forgive sins instead of stoning women caught in adultery. People started calling Christ their Savior, King, and God the Redeemer. It was the political focus of the rich Jewish leadership to focus on all of the above. What would have perhaps been the focus if Christ had women as apostles? Would He have been considered a pimp? Would the great crowds have listened to Him? Women had NO standing in Jewish or Roman society. Therefore, they had no power. And, I think, that Christ in His wisdom, knew that because all things change all the time, the role of the Priesthood would eventually roll over to women.

        • Tina Xinastle

          Thank you for sharing more and explaining your perspective, Christol

  • Glen Arcalas

    Being part of the mass is important, not just being there. So the preparation starts when we are getting ready as a family. Getting to mass early enough to see if they need additional assistance as lecturers or Extra Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Even with children we see if they are short with knights of the alter. Because we come together as family we enjoy extending our self if other neighbors need a ride or to fellowship after the mass. So during the mass it’s a pleasant experience and focus on the readings can bring more to me and the family.

  • Paul Pecor

    I discovered the importance of the Mass and everything the occurs within it While taking a bible study of “Revelation”. After that the Mass became alive for me. I became alive in the Mass. Actively Partaking in every phase of the Mass with all my senses. Understanding why each thing that occurs during the Mass was happening. and realizing that during the Mass we are lifted up to heaven, joined by All the Saints and Angles, and witnessing the Celebration of the wedding of the Lord and his Bride, the Church. If you get the chance to take a bible study of “Revelation”. I pray you will not avoid it

  • Elizabeth Riley

    I’ve realized that I pay attention more when I go to mass now than I did as a kid. When we are kids it’s a chore to go to mass and many of us might fall away because of it. What I enjoy most about mass these days is when we have praise and worship songs as the songs we sing instead of the songs we might have grown up with. I also pay attention a little more to the homily even though I don’t always take anything away from it.

  • Michael P. Bayne

    I now read the gospel readings before they are actually read at the mass I attend. It has made a significant difference in the message for that Sunday when I get a “double whammy” so-to-speak. It has also been instrumental in my focus on the sermon that follows. In the past if a fellow parishioner asked me what I thought of the sermon I couldn’t discuss because my mind was turning-off during this phase of the mass and I was thinking of all the things I needed to get done in the coming week. I now listen intently and realize what I have been missing these past years…

  • Isabel Castro

    I have made an effort to read the scriptures for that Sunday’s mass before going to church. It has helped me to really be attentive to what God is trying to say to me as I have already exposed my heart to His word. Hearing it a second time allows me to identify certain words or phrases that speak to me in a particular way. I also take advantage of resources available on lone that can compliment the homily I heard at church. Word on Fire ministries has homilies by Bishop Robert Baron or I will look up reflections by Scott Hahn. I feel it’s my responsibility to search out more if I feel the need to supplement what I am getting from my parish priest.

  • Prolifedem6M

    This is an area that needs work. I often zone out during Mass, often during the Canon. My best intentions don’t seem to prevent this.
    I, too, like to participate fully. And do. But I still zone out.

  • Jennifer Brothers

    My boys and I always sit in about the same place. I find the closer we are to the front, the more engaged they seem to be. It has become extremely challenging to keep my teenagers in the moment while at mass. And the younger two see this. I encourage them to participate in everything they can.

  • Anne

    I read a Matthew Kelley book that suggested we read the Sunday or weekday readings prior to going to Mass. I tried this approach and it has really helped me stay involved in the Mass. We prepare for most other important activities- we should also prepare for Mass!

  • scubaqueen

    I am usually sitting in the front on the side because we are in a small community and my husband and I are usually serving at mass in one way or another such as lectors, communitator, Eucharistic ministers and occasional rosary leader or ushers. We stay quiet involved with the mass.

  • Erin

    One of the parts of the Mass that speaks strongly to me is the offering of Peace. For me, that moment when I take another person’s hand in mine and say “Peace be with you” is a moment filled with intent and the hope for grace to be poured out on “the other”. It is also a moment I acknowledge that to approach and receive Christ, we must be at peace with each other, or at least, wish for peace among us.

  • Sarah

    With an open heart. Looking for Gods grace and blessings in the mass.

  • Nona

    In our church the choir sits with the congregation to the right. I love sitting near them because they voices are angelic to me. I like to sing along even though I can’t carry a tune in a basket so I do it low so as not to disturb others. Also I use pray hands as in the graphic above. I find it centers my thoughts and prayers.

  • Marise Petry

    How do you approach the mass?

    I love being active in the mass, beginning with greeting fellow worshipers. I love to sing and I love that those around me in the congregation lift their voices in praise; it doesn’t matter if we are accomplished singers or if we can’t carry a tune, God loves our joyful noise. I prefer to close the missal during the readings and try to listen intently to the word being proclaimed. I am happy to be asked to EOM on any given day looking into the eyes of each communicant and offering them a smile as we share in this sacred moment. I try to stay focused for the full time and when I catch my mind drifting to consciously bring it back to the present moment.

  • Rae Mims

    I think I approach the Mass with eagerness. I am always waiting for some truth, some epiphany to help me with what is going on in my life. I also sit in the first room – one because it is more leg room but also because the priest/deacon always make eye contact. I also try to participate as much as possible in the Mass – singing (which is horrible), responsorial psalm, giving peace.

  • Steven Elton

    We still meet in a school cafeteria, but will be breaking ground soon on our new church. It is easy to get bored in this setting. So, during the Eucharistic prayers I try and listen to God and pray for what it is God would have me pray for. It has really made the mass more meaningful for me.

  • Gloria

    I do tend to close my eyes during the reading so as not to be distracted and really remain intent on listening. We sit up in the 2nd or 3rd bench–so I can see and hear better. I am also short so as someone else commented easier to see the priest and the altar. But we do notice everyone that attends weekly does tend to pick the same seats ea week. It is so nice to read everyones’ comments nightly on this site

  • KS

    In 1990 when I got a call that my brother was about to die, all I wanted to do was go to Mass. When I went, the church was full, and the usher guided me to the front row. I was so upset at why God brought me there and sat me in the front row. I did not think I could make it through Mass without breaking down, and then after I heard that a special speaker was there to sell a catholic magazine, I was beside myself. I just breathed in calmly and said OK, I will get something from the eucharist and Mass started. Then when it came time for the homily, the man from the magazine came to talk, the first thing that came out of his mouth was “The only thing between us and God is our breath”. I had never heard that before that I could remember and it was exactly what God wanted me to hear and what helped me through the loss of my brother and still helps me after all these years. Ever since then, I go Mass and I first thank God for being able to be there, and then I breathe in and I am open to whatever part of the Mass he wants me to ‘hear’ most, and sometimes its not in words, its just being there.

  • Arthur Brown

    I have always focus when I am participating at church. I have placed my mind in a place to follow along with the priest and then when I am really thankful is when I can participate in the Eucharist with the knowledge and thanksgiving of Christ dying for my sins and to free me so that I can become the best version of myself. I am always thanking God for his gifts to me everyday no matter what happens or what I need to do it is His will and His desire to mold me in the Christian I should become and to be obedient to Him for all that He does.

  • Cindy Leslie

    I find on focusing on the Mass is feeling and seeing God’s presence and knowing that I receive the peace and love of God gets me through the day.

  • Nancy Ast

    I do a lot in my parish and find myself thinking about all the people I need to talk to and things on my do list. But there is a moment in each mass when grace fills me and I start to listen and then I talk to God. I need to slow down and begin the mass with openness.

  • Debra Kyser

    Attentiveness to the scripture readings, trying to read beforehand or afterwards to get more of a deeper meaning for application to my life. What is God trying to say to me during the homily. Being fully engaged during the whole Mass. i always lift my hands up during the Lord’s Prayer, as the scriptures talk of lifting up your hands to the Lord. As you are partaking of the Eucharist, the real presence, thanking God for what is has done and what he will do in your life.

  • Barbara

    I love singing at Mass. I have sung with several church choirs over the years, When I sing in the choir I feel more fully involved in the participation of the Mass, that I bring more of myself to the Mass, that this my offering,

  • Mich Smi

    Matthew’s pep talk made me listen to Peter’s testimony better even. I keep thinking I want to make a mass journal too, but i haven’t started… and the i forget the homilies kinda, but hopefully they sink in to my heart 🙂

    This is one reason I prefer mass in English… because of being able to “listen” to Mass better.

    I like to try to sit facing something I can focus on, such as a Mary statue. If i sit too close to the front, i still get confused about whether i’m supposed to sit/stand/kneel at the proper moment… cuz i’m an adult convert, so i learned how to go to mass through imitation, and i still am not comfortable unless i’m following the others hehe.

    • Shonne Farrell

      Dear Mich, when you are writing in your mass journal keep it short and sweet. Focus on a phrase that really struck you. After mass you can write how the passage affected you. It is too hard to focus on the mass and write about everything that you are experiencing while in the mass.

    • Gabriele Family

      Mich, I love your openness to learn. Adult converts have some wonderful advantages! I get to mass 10 minutes early after dropping my son at school. I read the daily readings on my phone at the USCCB site. As I read, I ask God “What should I hear today from your voice?” Then I hear Him again in the mass. The impact is much greater and often leaves me with a message that makes a difference. And don’t worry about the calisthenics – God sees your heart!

  • Mari

    One of the techniques that really helps me to be present during mass is to close my eyes. I find this very soothing. I am able to really interpret the message and internalize what God is trying to convey. Next time you attend mass, try closing your eyes for a few minutes.

  • Kelly

    Once I saw a video of a Mass in Africa in which the people were so actively participating: arms up praising, answering all the prayers beyond what is in the missal, clapping & moving… I was inspired! I feel free now to raise my arms in praise at the Gloria and the Hosanna. I also close my eyes and think of how the angels and saints are also praising God with us. It’s like being in heaven! I feel so joyful! I see that Mass is where heaven touches Earth. I thank Jesus for thinking of giving it to us with the Last Supper!

    • Shonne Farrell

      I remember watching a African Mass as you did and how it made me feel joyful. I also began to really listen to the prays in the mass. They are beautiful and unite us with the angels and saints in worshipping the Holy Trinity. When father raises the Holy Eucharist I can see Jesus my Savior. I found that going to mass once a week is not enough; I need to be with Jesus more.

  • Karen Guesnon Reedy

    I sing every song and try to focus on the words. This keeps me awake and my 5 year old daughter has picked up the habit.

  • Kathi

    I’d like my relationship with my boss to thrive and blossom – as Matthew puts it – but being a better listener does not seem to be the answer, as my boss is somewhat cold and aloof, so there is nothing to listen to, as he does not share. Now what?

    • Shirley Mott

      Kathi, you can’take change people if they don’t want to. Be patient. Pray for him and let him learn from you. He’ll notice. Be kind, be positive and treat everyone the way you would like to be treated. What goes around, comes around. And most important, expect miracles.
      Don’t let it bother you-just live your life and do your best at your job. If he doesn’t notice, your fellow coworkers and most importantly-God will.

      • Kathi

        Shirley, Thank you for your suggestions. “What goes around, comes around” – one of my all-time favorite sayings! Being kind and positive and treating everyone the I’d like to be treated is a very good thing to strive for. Thank you.

  • Latifa

    I am excited person every Sunday. I make sure I don’t eat and hour before. I get to mass early. I always sit three rows from the front. Once I enter the church. It’s about God and I. Ever since I converted I am so excited to learn something new. The first time I head MatheewKelly speak on relevant radio. He was talking about the mass journal. Ever since then I keep one. My baby daughter whose 12 takes her journal with her and writes I there too. She encouraged her friend to do the same. I’ve learnt so much and I know there’s so much more to learn. I always thought I had to hear God’s voice speaking to me like we speak. I’ve spoken to God in silence and listened. I tell you He speaks. I either get my answer when I open the Bible or when I meet certain people. Listening does work. Before it was never easy. I only listened to what I wanted to hear. I thank God that I found him at my darkest. When I look back on my life and where I’ve come. God is great. I might not have everything I want but I have what I need.

    • Linda Carmelle

      Yes I believe using fasting techniques helps to focus on the mass too.

  • Nancy R

    I started attending the morning mass several days ago. I’ve been on a path of self discovery so I am approaching the mass with an open heart and mind. I am trying to stay focused and in the moment when I’m there.

  • Elaine

    I enjoy participating in the Mass with praying, listening and reading. Listening to the Priest talk about the Gospel helps put it into perspective. I like the peace offering that connects us to the other parishioners and reminds me that we share in our beliefs. When I approach communion I feel especially connected with God and grateful to receive him. The Mass is a renewal each week as I visit the house of God.

  • Donna

    As a child my parents always sat in the front row and as a young parent I also sat in front with my children. It is the best place to be.

  • Barbara Levich

    This Lent I am concentrating on offering myself with the gifts, an exchange of gifts with Christ. He gives himself to me and I give myself to him.

  • Richard Koerber

    Now that we are retired It is a blessing to attend daily mass. For over 30 years I have been singing in a 40 person adult choir. In addition we (my wife and I) run a Bereavement Ministry and sing at about 100 funerals each year. So where do I sit? In the Choir area for every Sunday mass. It gives me the opportunity to see all the faces. Many looking up at the screen and singing right along with the choir, others passively seem to be in another world, and yes some even have to be thumbing through their phones. We have a large family and there is a never ending need for prayers, and the Holy Mass is the best prayer of all. May you have a blessed Holly Week.

  • Nicole M.

    I go into mass every week ready to spend time with God in his house. I approach mass as a fresh start to a new week. I try to listen to what God is trying to tell me and pray for anything that is on my mind.

  • Babciamel

    The thing that helps me immerse myself into the mass is closing my eyes. It stops me from being distracted and helps me concentrate on what is being said: every reading, every prayer, every song.

  • Niove Candida Rosario

    Closing my eyes and singing brings me closer to God during mass. Distractions during mass throws me off so badly and I get upset at myself for allowing it to take away my attention from what’s most important. We are lucky to have young families with young children in our parish and I need to learn to tune out the noice and focus on mass.

  • Sarena

    I approach the mass by trying to listen to the readings and taking in the prayers.

  • Emma Spaulding

    I approach the Mass with an opened clear mind that is ready to learn about God and Jesus Christ. I get more into Mass when I sing along, even though my singing is not very good. The closer I sit to the alter, the lass distracted I am, but usually I sit in the middle somewhere, by myself. Mass is suppose to be a time to be with the Lord and see what He has done in your life and is continuing to do,so it irritates me when I see people constantly talking and or on their phone. I try hard just on focus on what I am doing and try to set a good example.

  • Kitty

    What a great idea to bow before the blood of Christ if you don’t partake of it. I have seen people do this and thought it was very spiritual. I think I’ll try it.

  • Maureen Gomes

    So inspiring,i find myself at times so busy,joining Best lent ever i find a time too listen weather meeting a stranger or taking a phone call no matter what weather they just pass by i pray or phone calls try to sooth them.Life may have mountains to clime but what ever sorrow we go through,Trusting in God will always carry us through.

  • Maureen Gomes

    I gave up FB for Lent and only tune into Best lent ever.The temped is strong as i keep in touch with family & dear friends.Mass is so important to me watching on the catholic channel means the world to me & has open my eyes ,mind & heart & truly my understanding.In my youth or as an adult i finally realize my obligation.Sad to say What took me so long,God patience & Love for all.I pray all world wide for not only for my forgiveness & lazy & selfish ways for all of us .With our faith love & trust in Our Lord Thy God nothing is inseparable.I know approach with love and understand & look forward to the Gospel & if we don’t understand the Priest clarify.As i said in the past,still working to become a better person & forever talking too my sons & all who will listen.God Bless All .

  • Penny

    Our church bought the books and handed them out as Christmas gifts. I began writing in a Sunday journal after I read the chapter about it in the book. It has really helped me focus during the course of the week because I have worked to carry out the message the priest gave us. I have really appreciated the homily at a deeper level since I began doing this.

    • Michelle

      My church handed them out as Christmas gifts last year. But no one, and I mean no one, seems to use them. I tried for several weeks, but felt very uncomfortable. A few people mentioned that Protestants do that, or that I should be listening instead of distracting myself with writing. It occurred to me that maybe I was distracting THEM. So, I just try to pick up a sentence or a phrase that resonates with me, and try to remember it so that I can write my thoughts about it when I get home. I know I probably should have just stuck with it, and maybe someone else would eventually join me but…..

      • Penny

        I hadn’t ever thought about that as a potential thing. I think writing at home is a good idea too. I do know a lot of Protestants that do write things down, and I still see no one in church writing at my church. I may be a distraction but so are all the cute babies and crying ones:) I am hoping that maybe I can be an example to even one other person who is thinking about it and fears doing it. For right now, it is helping me grow in my faith.

  • Trish Matta Melnick

    I try to read the readings before going to mass so that I am not hearing them for the first time. It seems to make a difference of what God is saying to me through the scripture. It makes me interested in hearing for the second time. I feel like God is giving me this hour to retreat from the world and just be with Him. I love being at mass. I feel so fortunate to be able to go each week. I want God to know how much I love Him and how He is first in my life.

  • kathy

    We were

  • Carl

    Hear a lot of people talking here about distraction at Mass. It helps me to make sure I get there early enough to settle myself in prayer for the sacrifice of Christ about to be re-presented on the altar at the center of the Mass. Getting there late (while sometimes unavoidable) makes me unfocused most times. Just something that may help

  • Patricia

    In order to shut out all the temptation of looking around or being distracted by ‘cute’ kids, I found that simply by closing my eyes during Mass has helped me concentrate more on every word being spoken. It’s almost like I’m the only one there with my LORD during this time!

    • Linda Carmelle

      Yes the cute little ones distract me too=)

  • I was just talking to someone where I’d love to take notes during mass but feel weird/judged. Sometimes I take out my phone and write some notes down really fast.

    We’re actually doing the living eucharist lent program and it’s amazing how much more I get out of mass by preparing for it before hand by reading the gospel and the discussion on the readings.

  • Jane

    Does genuflecting in front of the blood after you take the communion host hurt anything? I think not…shows respect and not disbelief in my opinion. We are such a culture that shows hardly any respect for anything…let them show respect even if it’s not necessary.

  • Lori Grajek

    Not many are talking about the listening part. I have tried so often to be still and quiet and let God speak to me but it seems He doesn’t. Am I doing something wrong? I have decided to keep listening anyway~maybe He doesn’t have anything to say to me right now. I remember Him talking to me when I was younger~that still small voice. It was when I was reading my Bible that I heard him urging me to go do something. Maybe just kneeling in prayer isn’t the best. Maybe I should go back to reading and listening like I used to.

  • Dave

    I see and experience a Holy and peaceful flame. Like a pillar of flame when i am near the altar, it becomes more radiant when people recieve communion or during adoration. For me, He truly becomes a lamp.

  • C Jay Poli

    Sounds like changing your seat gives you a different perspective because you are literally viewing from a different angle, the lighting is different, color changes and what was part of the background may suddenly pop! This colorful approach brings the priest, the choir, the lector, EM’s, alter servers onto a new stage and refreshes a person’s focus. I’ll have to remember to change my seat too. thank you!

  • Tina VB

    I try to go to Mass and connect with the larger Church both here in earth and in heaven. I know there are those who cannot celebrate the Mass because of illness, age, or distance. There are also the faithful who cannot express their faith openly because of the government under which they live. Celebrating the Mass in their name makes me more aware of the moments and actions within the service. It lifts me from sitting complacently because I want to honor them with the way I worship. I want to celebrate with the gratitude and full heart which they would use.

  • Linda Springer

    I was fortunate to hear Matthew Kelly at my church recently, and I love the idea of keeping a Mass journal I’ve only been doing it for about 3 weeks. As I understood him, Matthew said to write just the one thing that God is telling you. But it sounds as though I may have misunderstood. What are some of you doing?

  • Nett Lacsamana

    It matters where you sit sometimes, but mostly- if you are able to just tune everything else out, and just focus on the priest as he does his homily, then you are ok. Most of the time, I Find myself, going to hear Mass again at a later time, simply because there was no connection with what the message was from the gospel. SO I’d go to another church where I know another priest can explain his homly in a better version. I also write stuff down when I really feel the message hits me. So my favorite part is the homily, and also, when the choir sings during communion, it helps me reflect on my prayers, and reflect on how the gospel affected me.