BOTH DAVE AND Maria had separate family commitments on Sunday, so they decided to go to Mass on Saturday evening in Maria’s parish, after which they would go out for a simple dinner. Part of their Lenten activity was to make sure they go to church each week, volunteer once a week at a local soup kitchen, and avoid movies, desserts, or alcohol during Lent.
The Saturday evening Mass at Maria’s parish was not very lively and the church was only h alf full. After Mass, Maria told Dave she was disappointed at the turnout, even though it was about the same number of people who usually attend that Mass during the year. “I thought that as we got closer to Holy Week and Easter, the casual Catholics would want to get ready for these big events by coming to Mass more r egularly,” explained Maria. They had been invited to an i nformal early dinner by Dave’s sister, Ann. Ann was married with three younger children and this was their normal Saturday night dinner. Ann thought it would be nice for the children to have dinner with Dave and Maria, and Maria and Dave were happy to interact with the children and spend some time with Ann and her husband.
After dinner and much playing with Ann’s children, Dave and Maria said their good-byes and headed off to a coffee shop they liked. As they were ordering their favorite blends, Dave mentioned he had seen some interesting statistical information this past week. Someone gave him an article providing a summary of studies that explored the relationship between religious practice and divorce. He was amazed to learn that couples who went to church, synagogue, or mosque