Mass is a chance to take the Good News and share it with others, writes Alister Vaz. Photo courtesy of Bill Watson, Public Domain

Making the most of Mass

By  Alister Vaz, Youth Speak News
  • October 20, 2016

There used to be a time when I thought of Mass as just an obligation; something I had to attend to please God. It was after going to Madrid for World Youth Day 2011 that my eyes were opened. I understood that I had been approaching the Eucharist in the wrong way.

Taking part in the celebration of the Eucharist now helps remind me of who I am as a Catholic because it gives me the opportunity to participate in my faith.

It is important that in the midst of our busy lives we don’t forget about our Catholic identity. I make time for personal prayer every day, but the Mass is just something very special to me.

When I spend that one hour in Church, I let go of all the things that are bothering me and just spend time with God. I like to reach the Church at least 15 minutes before Mass so that I can use that time to thank God for all I have been blessed with during the week, as well as reflect on the challenges I face.

Although I try to focus on the Eucharist, I am only human. Distractions always come up, so what can one do to avoid them? Participate. Become an altar server, lector, Eucharistic minister, usher or join the choir.

I was an altar server in my parish for 10 years and by being so involved in the liturgy, I was able to experience the Eucharist without as many distractions.

I would not have the relationship I have with God today if I did not become an altar server. This is one of the reasons why I became a Eucharistic minister as soon as my time as an altar server came to an end. I truly believe that there is no better way to take part in the Eucharist than to find a way to serve the community.

From the moment of the Last Supper, what has made the  special is that aspect of community.

I have met so many great people in Church over the years, some of them have become my best friends. When I am in times of difficulty and experience feelings of doubt and uncertainty, it is always encouraging to see these people continuing to maintain their belief. There have been countless experiences where I have grown in faith just by listening to the experiences of those in my parish community.

As a young child, I always believed the holiest people were those who spent the most time in Church. But I eventually learned that this was not always the case.

The word “Mass” means “to send out.” I look at the week as my chance to take the Good News I received in Church and share it with others through simple gestures. Opening the door for someone, helping out someone in school or by saying ‘thank you’ to a stranger. This is what I feel God sent me out to do. As a Catholic, what is God sending you out to do?

(Vaz, 18, is a first-year accounting and financial management student at University of Waterloo.)

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