Christmas day is a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church. This means you’re supposed to go to Mass on this day, whether or not it falls on a Sunday. This year, it happened to fall on a Sunday. Perhaps that contributed to the church being overwhelmingly full. Well, it usually is for Christmas. But I remember in the past, there would be several Masses and they would put chairs in the parish centre and hold two at the same time, just to be able to accommodate everyone. But apparently they only do that for Christmas Eve.
Why is the church so full on Christmas Day? Because a lot of people only go to church for the holy days of obligation, mainly Christmas and Easter. You can often tell who’s a regular church goer and who’s not from how they act throughout the mass and whether they know what’s going on. This was the first year that I’ve been unfortunate enough to have to stand for the duration of Christmas mass.
Maybe it’s my own fault. I do take a bit longer than some of my family members to get ready in the morning. I mean we went at 12:00, so you would think that would give me enough time. But I slept in, since it was the rare occasion that I could. But I could also blame my sister, as she took a long time as well. While the rest of my family were able to procure seats, myself, my dad, and my sister, were not so lucky. We weren’t late. But on Christmas, people go super early. And some save seats with jackets, like they do in movie theatres. This was fine, except that I wore heels, and had a heavy jacket and no where to put it. It was cold outside, but hot inside due to all the body heat.
Some people did come late, once the mass had already started. Most of them were smart enough to realize, since there were already a ton of people standing, that must mean the seats were all full. A few, however, decided that even though all these people were standing, they themselves were special, and would still get a seat. They wandered up and down the aisle, before finally realizing there really was no room.
One man in particular, after coming to this realization, decided to come to the back and stand right in front of me. Which would have been fine, had I not been against the wall, with another person already in front of me, with a pew in front of him. He pretty much blocked off any room that was available for people who needed to walk by. And people did need to walk by. It happens, people need to go to the bathroom, take small children out, etc. And each and every time they would have to squeeze by awkwardly because this man would not move.
The main problem occurred during communion. When hundreds of people needed to walk by us. Hundreds of people squeezing through and saying excuse me to me, since the man had his back to them. But since I was against the wall, I was clearly unable to move. This was very awkward and uncomfortable for myself and for everyone who had to pass by. I think one of the ushers even asked the man to move at one point, and he briefly did, only to move back even closer. I do not understand what his thinking was.
This situation caused somewhat of a distraction and impeded my ability to pay attention during mass. It’s already difficult when you’re standing in the back, let alone with someone invading your personal space. But oh well. Had it been a normal Sunday, I would have been sitting down, as the church would have been half as full. I should have known that Christmas would be that busy and that I should have allowed myself more time. It made sense that my sister and I stood, seeing as we probably delayed everyone the most.
New Year’s Day is also a holy day of obligation and also falls on a Sunday this year. Maybe what happened with Christmas was a warning that I should leave the house earlier next time. I will definitely leave the house earlier that day. Especially since I’ll be going out on New Year’s Eve. Standing and being crowded will definitely be much worse if I’m hungover.