To the editor:
I am a regular Mass attender. I was going to be moving around a lot on Christmas weekend and I decided to attend Christmas Mass at a parish that was not my usual. I was heading to (one church) when I went on the website for directions and I saw that you had to have a pass for the first two Masses on Christmas Eve. I was truly shocked. Since when is not everyone welcomed in a church? I ended up going to the Church of the Resurrection and felt extremely welcomed, even though it was crowded.
I am really wondering what would have happened had we shown up at the Mass, would we have been turned away? Is this normal?
EDITOR'S NOTE: In recent years, as the popularity of Christmas Eve liturgies eclipsed that of Masses on Christmas Day, concerns arose in certain areas about vastly exceeding safe occupancy limits set by fire marshals and about parking lots so packed that emergency vehicles could not get in if needed. As a result, some parishes issued passes for the most popular Christmas liturgies in an effort to shift parishioners toward Masses that typically are less crowded. The Courier did an article on Christmas passes back in December 1999, but we have not kept tabs on which or how many parishes are still using them today.