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From the Back of the Pew: Sunday sporty Sunday

June 30, 2010|By Michael J. Arvizu

This past Sunday I joked with one of our parish priests about the poor attendance at Mass.

My parish has a very high Latino population, so I told him the Mexico-Argentina World Cup match was probably to blame. By now, most of you know Mexico was slaughtered in that contest, which began at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, half an hour after our Spanish Mass.

I told him it was ironic that on the day when it would be most appropriate to pray to God for a Mexico win, parishioners opted to stay home.

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He came back with expectation that he would see even poorer attendance at our 12:30 p.m. Spanish Mass.

My other parish in La Puente, which also has a high Latino population, saw lackluster attendance.

Sunday and sports generally go together, as do church and Sunday. Churches hate it because it adversely affects attendance. The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Assn. learned this in the early 1900s and set a policy of never holding the Rose Parade on Jan. 1 whenever that date lands on a Sunday. When that happens, the parade takes place — with plenty of participants and spectators — on Jan. 2.

Advertisers who buy spots on TV like it because on Sundays most people are home, so it arguably guarantees them a bigger share of the audience.

I've always wondered what the thought process is of people who go to church on a regular basis, yet forgo it to watch their favorite sport.

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This weekend, St. Bede's in La Cañada welcomes its new pastor, Monsignor Antonio Cacciapuoti. Cacciapuoti will be celebrating all of St. Bede's Masses that day in an effort, I am told, to get to know the people of the parish.

What a lovely way to get things started. Although I have not had the pleasure of speaking with Cacciapuoti, I am sure that he has strong visions for the parish. Monsignor Gehl, in the meantime, begins his new assignment at St. Euphrasia Parish in Granada Hills. I am sure he will be welcomed with open arms.

I wish both men the best of luck in their new assignments.

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MICHAEL J. ARVIZU is a reporter for the La Canada Valley Sun. Reach him at (818) 637-3263 or e-mail michael.arvizu@latimes.com.

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