Offbeat: Sunday Mass at 2:30AM?

This is from last week but seems appropriate to post after the weekend:

Old-time Pittsburghers remember when a church in the city offered services in the early morning hours for employees who worked odd hours. One church is now bringing that tradition back with a 2:30 a.m. service.

… The early-morning Mass tradition began in 1905 and was frequented by employees from seven daily newspapers. Some of the employees had just finished their shifts while others would attend Mass and then go deliver newspapers. (Beauer County Times)

The reason, however, for bringing back this early, early morning Mass is different today:

The Rev. Carmen D’Amico says he’s adding a weekly Mass on Sundays just after the bars close. The church is located next to the new Consol Energy Center. D’Amico is hoping to attract those out for a late Saturday night and officials have been handing out fliers at local colleges to publicize the new service.

I don’t think this is a good idea. Do we really expect 20-somethings who have just finished closing down a bar to be prepared to participate at Mass worthily? Do we want them passing out in the pews instead of getting themselves home safely? Shouldn’t we rather encourage them to hit the sack earlier and (if they have to) attend a later Mass on Sunday afternoon? Or attend a Saturday Vigil Mass the day before? It’s not like people who want to go out on Saturday night don’t already have plenty of ways to attend Mass while, ahem, sober. Offering a Mass at 2:30AM encourages them to think this sort of weekend habit is appropriate.

I’m all for ministering to people where they are at and making it easy for Catholics to fulfill their Sunday obligation, but this seems like a needless concession to young adult culture’s obsession with spending weekend nights in college (and beyond) carousing.

I think we should challenge young people to make Mass, not closing down the bar, their Sunday morning priority.



  • susanna

    I went to the Printer’s Mass as a kid with my parents. Could only do it a couple of times. I don’t recall their being a sermon, but it’s been a long time and I was probably sleepy.

  • wtrmute

    While I agree that we should “challenge young people to make Mass, not closing down the bar, their Sunday morning priority.” How do we go about doing that, though?

    These early morning to late night masses may be just the thing to capture the wayward youth and, with some liberal application of Divine Word, set them on the right path. If they go to Mass at 2:30 AM, they have a chance to “graduate” to Sunday morning eventually, after all. But if they don’t go to Mass at any time, what hope do they have?

  • Douglas Jackson

    God works in mysterious ways, and I think we should let Him work at any given hour.

  • Richard

    My wife and I used to go to the 2AM mass on 42nd street in New York. It was convenient. We were just dating then. After a Broadway show we could go to mass at 2, take the subway home and not have to set the alarm for the morning.

    It made fasting from midnight much easier too.

  • Emily

    Sounds like a smart idea to me. I hope it is successful.

  • Tara

    I admit that I don’t think the reason it’s being offered is the best. Young people, and people in general who don’t want to go to Mass will find an excuse not to go. My guess is that the people who are completely intoxicated from drinking all night probably wouldn’t go. Still, offering it would maybe provide an extra opportunity for people to go, especially hospital workers, and people who work late night shifts and really can’t make it to any other Mass time. The people ultimately need to have the opportunity to receive the Eucharist; that is the real purpose of the Mass.



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