We are amazing creatures of habit. Nowhere is this more apparent than among Sunday regulars and pew seating. One summer morning, our family arrived early at a park to help prepare for the parish’s annual outdoor mass. The first folks arrived and set up their lawn chairs at the end of the open space, as far from the altar as possible. They had already staked out the back row!
As I try to better understand my own experience of parish life, I’ve pondered the differences between “front-pew” and “back-pew” Catholics. In our early years of marriage and family life, we were firmly entrenched in the front pews because of our involvement in various ministries. It also gave the wee ones a better view, and had the quickest access to the basement when they were fussing!
The view from the front pews focuses on the inner workings of the liturgical celebration. Front-pew Catholics take turns bounding up and down the aisles and in and out of the sacristy making sure that all of Father’s wishes are fulfilled and no details of the mass are over-looked. The front pews house the lectors, Eucharistic ministers, altar server coordinators, and members of the Catholic Women’s League and Knights of Columbus – the committed elite of the parish. The front pews provide the best view and the best sound, if you want to see and hear what is going on in the liturgy.
(Next: back pews catholics!)