Why Do You Go to Church

If you are a regular reader of my blog, I would think you probably are a regular churchgoer.  If so, you can use this article to reflect on why you find value in going to church.  This can help keep us in the habit of going.

If you are not a regular churchgoer, I hope this article helps you to become a regular churchgoer.  I believe that all of us need to attend church every week.

So, here’s the question for this reflection, “Why do you go to church?”

If you are a cradle Catholic (or raised regularly attending any religious services since birth), the answer might be as simple as it is what I have always done.  There is nothing wrong with this answer.  It used to be true for a lot of people.  Some of the people with this answer have a very deep faith while for others, attending church is more a habit than a way of life. 

If attending church is merely a habit for you, I encourage you to look deeper into your faith.  On the other hand, if attending church is part of a way of life for you, I encourage you to look deeper into your faith.  Yes, I’m offering the same answer either way.  It’s always good for us to look deeper into our faith so that we can grow closer to God.

As a secondary question, if you go to church, I invite you to think about what you get out of it.  If you don’t go regularly, why not?  Have you had a bad experience? 

Perhaps you go to church because your life is difficult and you just want an hour of peace, in this case “peace” being a momentary escape from the trials of life.

That’s not a bad start but if you come to church with an open mind and heart, allowing your life to be changed by your faith, you can receive more than one hour of peace.  You can find a lifetime of joy, the joy that is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  You can find peace that goes much deeper than simply a momentary escape from worldly trials.

Perhaps you go to church looking to feel good for the hour you spend there.  This may not seem much different than saying you go to church to escape worldly trials.  The distinction I see is that if you are only looking for an escape, you just want relief.  If you come looking to feel good, you expect church to do something, even if it is just a superficial “feel good” for an hour.  People who are looking to feel good for an hour may focus solely on the preaching and/or music.

Of course, all of us should and deserve good preaching and good music.  However, what defines good preaching and good music is shaped by whether we are looking to feel good for one hour or if we are looking to be transformed to a deeper relationship with the Lord by the experience.

If we just want to feel good for an hour, what we think is good preaching won’t point out our sins.  That would be depressing.  If we just want to feel good for an hour, the preaching won’t call us to do something more or ask anything hard of us.  The preaching would validate what we are already doing, perhaps even commending us for our actions without calling us to anything more.

If we come to church hoping to be challenged and transformed, then good preaching will make us aware of our sins.  It will call us to task and ask more of us.  It will point out to us how the ways of the world are not the ways of the Lord.  Here, I think of what drew me back to church after sixteen years of not going.  I realized my life was not fulfilling as it was.  I returned to church looking for something more than what the world could offer me.  We are created to know God and to be loved by God.  As St. Augustine said, “our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

If you have more than a superficial faith, then you may come to church looking for truth.  Yes, despite relativism saying otherwise, there is truth.  There is a real and deep truth.  We find this truth in God.  We hear it in the words we read in scripture.  In the Catholic Mass, readings are set by a cycle so that we hear much of the Bible in the course of the three-year lectionary cycle, not just what makes us feel good.  God’s Word can reveal to us where our lives are not in accord with God’s Will.  Are you open to that or if God’s Word says something you don’t agree with it, do you label it as out of date and ignore it?

Then, there is the Eucharist.  Surveys show that many Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  I am saddened by this.  The Eucharist stands at the heart of our Catholic faith.  I don’t just believe that the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Jesus.  I know they are changed.  I know Jesus really is present in the Eucharist.  I know because Jesus told us it is so at the Last Supper when He said this is my Body…this is my Blood

I think back to my childhood.  We were one of those families where the parents would drop the children off for Sunday school and pick them up often without attending Mass.  When I did go to Mass, I didn’t understand everything but I knew there was something special going on at Mass.  In those days, I didn’t know it was Jesus truly becoming present in the Eucharist.  Now I do.  And it has made all the difference.

So, why do you go to church?


Fr. Jeff


  1. Fr. Jeff on 05/21/2024 at 11:19 am

    An offline comment reminded me that the first purpose of Mass is to praise God. Everything else flows from that. All that I wrote in this article is true. Just remember it starts with praising God .


    Fr. Jeff


    Fr. Jeff

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