At my parish they have renamed the narthex of the church as the “fellowship hall”. This novus nomenclature is intended to encourage parishioners, when leaving after mass, to engage each other on a personal level (e.g., smiling, hugging, and conversing) in some place other than the nave of the church. I think this is a very good idea as we all know how important fellowship is to the Christian experience.
I go out the side door.
The parish I grew up in was a keep-your-head-facing-forward and mind-your-own-business kind of place and that suited me just fine. We shared the same faith and for one hour on Sundays, we shared the same air; that was enough. These days, however, I am surrounded by people who want to talk to me, touch me, and engage me on a personal level. This is not the Catholicism I signed up for.
Don’t take this the wrong way, but I miss the swine flu. Of course …