Sunday AssemblyThe Fourth H

Week 1: Why worship God at Holy Mass?

By Archbishop Michael Jackels

Witness Publisher

We participate in Holy Mass on Sunday, to worship God – which is right and just, our duty and our salvation – but also to be transformed by God, and so be agents of transformation in the world.

The Church points to the transformative purpose of Holy Mass when it teaches that this is the indispensable source of the true Christian spirit. And also in the dismissal at the end of Mass, which is literally a command to leave, because we are sent, with a purpose, namely, to make the world a different and better place.

Before people can be transformed, we have to get them in the pews, and ensure that they will want to return the following Sunday. It is not enough to expect people to be there because a law says they must. That inspires legalistic thinking, which can lead people to care less about arriving late, leaving early, or skipping altogether.

It is better to go to Sunday Mass out of love for God. And that is easier when the experience at Mass is spiritually attractive and satisfying. And we contribute to that by our full, conscious, and active participation, for example, singing, listening, engaging mind and heart in prayer, offering a gift in the collection, and preparing to receive Holy Communion.

One of the mission priorities for the Church in the Archdiocese of Dubuque is to enhance the experience of the Sunday assembly at Holy Mass. This article is number one in a series of 40 by Archbishop Jackels.  Each week, a new addition is available on The Witness and Archdiocesan websites. Learn more about the four archdiocesan priorities by going to and clicking on the “mission priorities” button.