As a convert from a non-denominational non-church goer, tithing is new to me. Not necessarily in principle but in practice. I have understood tithing as simply giving money to the church. With money comes the ability to survive and hopefully, thrive. It makes sense. However, as a Catholic - I had not tithed outside of paying a little extra for the post-mass donuts and coffee or buying things from the Parish gift shop. The Parish seemed to be doing okay without my donation.
Admittedly, the Parish I attended RCIA through and was eventually baptized in is a more modern, Novus Ordo Parish. The Mass seemed like an ordinary Protestant service with readings and music being played with guitars and piano's. The only real difference was the addition of the Eucharist. And to be quite honest, the reason why I did not attend church before becoming Catholic was because I did not find it stimulating. My inquisitive nature caused me to read and research the Bible on my own. Aside from the socializing, I felt as if I received nothing from Sunday services. As a new Catholic, I wasn't stimulated at Mass either but I attended because I knew it was a requirement and accepted the importance of receiving communion.
On a whim, I attended a Traditional Latin Mass service at another Catholic Parish farther out of town. This was my first time experiencing any Mass outside of my original Parish. I was floored (more on this in another entry). I met the Priest and after a brief discussion on how he manages the Parish, I knew this could be a place with a promising future. Following the attendance of a few more Ordinary Sunday Mass', my family and I switched our membership and became full members. Why? The message. Father Bart discusses the controversial issues centric to the faith that most Parish's avoid due to fear of marginalizing their Parishioners. Additionally, the Eucharist is performed in the traditional manner, with the Priest facing the crucified Christ perched on the wall with his back to the Laity. He also administers communion directly on the tongue. The Parish does not use secular instruments like piano's or guitars during its services. Only a pipe organ and a chanting choir.
The Mass feels very special and reverent. While I still have to seek intellectual stimulation on my own, the readings during Mass are plenty to dwell on and think about. However, I am excited to attend Mass at this Parish because it is an experience! There is something truly special taking place and I go out of my way by almost 45 minutes to be a part of it! I have noticed that others have as well. After a few months of attendance, I began to notice others flocking to it, leaving their former Parish's behind. As I traveled around the state for work, I attended Mass at other Catholic Church's and quickly realized how fortunate I am to have St. Anthony's as my Parish and Father Bart as our leader. I began to panic slightly at the thought of him leaving and what that would mean for our Parish. Would we become just another glorified Protestant service with a convenient message under the guidance of a more modern, secular Priest? If that happened, where could we go to experience a traditional Mass with crucial teachings? The answer: Nowhere. We would have to go right back to the unstimulating, unreverent run of the mill gathering of, "Cafeteria Catholics" who skip confession, play down damnation and receive communion with the stain of mortal sin on their souls.
St. Anthony's cannot fail. It is the last bastion of traditional Catholic values and methods in our region.
At this realization, Tithing never made more sense.