Lovin Malta recently conducted a survey to gauge what people think about religion and mass on the islands, and out of some 1,000 replies, 76.7% of you said they were born into it. But 23% said they don’t ever go, while 40.5% said they only go on special occasions. Mass attendance keeps decreasing
So, who misses what?
We have to admit, about half of the respondents said that they don’t miss anything about not going.
Some people felt relieved when they stopped going, like this person who answered, “I don’t feel like a hypocrite anymore”. Clearly, some aren’t looking back.
One respondent, knowing that sometimes you don’t have to say much to say it all, just replied “LOL.”
But the respondents who did actually admit to missing Mass gave a very interesting insight into Malta’s changing outlook on church and religion.
1. There were those who missed particular personal experiences
The sweetest story of them all was definitely this:
“I miss an old priest whose mass I used to attend – he spoke how we as youths should take our own decisions, choosing right from wrong (without saying what is right or wrong), and giving answers without giving them to us by making us come up with our own solutions”
“I miss pissing off our parish priest during a ceremony,” another, slightly less sweet answer read. While this guy misses “seeing the occasional cute girl.” Has he stopped seeing cute girls since the last time he walked out of Church? Or has he stopped seeing girls altogether? Respondent #544, we need answers.
2. There were those who miss the hour of reflection and meditation
“To be honest, it was quite relaxing,” one answer read. “No mobile phones, no speaking. So it was relaxing but not spiritual.” In an age where the noise comes from literally everywhere (your 100 phone alarms, the drilling going on at your neighbour’s house and the constant hubbub of overpopulation), an hour of silence would be well-missed.
A substantial number of respondents missed the time spent alone to actually reflect and the occasional enlightening phrase that would help give them a new perspective on their personal issues.
3. Some have felt an element of guilt since they’ve stopped going
When you’re born into a religious family, given a religious education at school and have friends who regularly go to Mass, the decision to opt out of the weekly ritual is a tough one. “I don’t miss anything about it. I do feel guilty though,” one person admitted.
“After mass, I did feel much less guilty about past situations and felt more motivated to be a better person.”
This respondent had a similar reaction, saying “I don’t miss anything, but I feel bad that my mother doesn’t like me not going”, while this other person admitted that “maybe I miss it because my consciousness doesn’t feel clean.”
4. The sense of community and the family-uniting-session experience was definitely a strong point
When most people would go to Mass, they’d go with their parents or accompanied by their grandparents, especially as children. And getting to do something with the family, even if it was for at least an hour, is something that these guys miss about the obligatory Sunday Mass.
“I miss seeing the family unite together every Sunday morning,” one respondent said.
5. But sometimes, it’s just about the little things about Mass that really made it special
But really, it’s the things that people would look forward to on the way to Mass that they missed the most.
This guy, for example, missed “the pastizzi I used to buy after Church,” and this other guy can’t believe that the “usual crappy singing” isn’t a part of his life any more.
“I miss overhearing gossip once the sermon was over. That was fun too.” A good gossip sesh is a good gossip sesh, wherever it’s being held.
But this guy, this guy, he had the biggest regrets: “Dawk l-ostji naqra melħ kien jonqoshom u jiġu top!” (they just needed to add some salt on those Eucharists and they would’ve been great!)