Local Pastors Face the Attendance Challenge of Mardi Gras
The St. Paul Carnival Association Parade ( also known as The Pass Parade) has trekked through the town of Pass Christian for over a hundred years. Today at 1:00 p.m. central time marked the 101st year that many Baptist pastors of the Mississippi Gulf Coast have been vexed by the regional holiday.
Many pastors in the area have often pressed their members to avoid the pagan holiday, often to no avail. The words Mardi Gras actually translate from French to the English words “Fat Tuesday” which is right before “Ash Wednesday”. Ash Wednesday is the first day of “Lent”. All of these ambiguously named holidays are Catholic holidays. There is a lot more to Mardi Gras than many people know.
Fat Tuesday is a day establish in its namesake. It is a day set aside for gluttony before strict fasting. Ash Wednesday is the day that starts the fast. It is 46 days before Easter. Finally, Lent is the actual 40 days spent in preparation of Easter Sunday. Although many people are devout in their faith and practice of Lent, the Reverend Harold Spann, pastor of New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in Gulfport, Mississippi, feels it is just an excuse to skip church services for parades. “I guarantee at least 50% of our members gone be at ‘The Pass’ Parade instead of coming to church!” he barked during his 8:00 service this morning.
He was not alone in his prediction. The Reverend Sonny Adolph, pastor of the First Missionary Baptist Church of Handsboro revealed that his ‘8:00 Morning Service’ has been the most popular service his church offers, however, Mardi Gras Sunday has proven to be one of the most challenging Sundays of the year as it concerns attendance. “Well, you know we have held an 8:00 service since 1998 and it has always been packed, but even this service has suffered because of Mardi Gras.” Pastor Adolph went on to explain that churches in the black community will have to learn to operate differently in order to survive.
Now it is your turn. How do you feel about church members neglecting church services to celebrate a Mardi Gras? How do you think the funding for Mardi Gras parades could be better used? What has your church taught about Mardi Gras and other similar holidays? Leave your “Reply” to the article for your chance to win a $5.00 McDonald’s gift card.