Here we go again. Couple in front of me, couple beside me, family behind me. Great. I picked my seat perfectly, AGAIN. Why can't some old widow sit next to me ONE of these days. Great. Here he goes, ready to spin everyone off into the arms of their spouses, girlfriends, fiances, moms/dads/people-who-love-them-enough-to-join-them-at-Mass. Great. Another reminder that I'm single and here alone. I love this.
My compassionate, wonderful husband has always made it his mission to include people. So many of his friends are those who he met because he was reaching out to them when they were the new kid or were in need of someone to reach out to them. It's one of my favorite things about my BFF/husband.
This holy husband of mine introduced me to this practice with which I'm about to challenge you: if you are lucky enough to go to Mass with someone (spouse, significant other, friend, family, anyone), don't offer them the gesture of peace until after you've offered it to all of those around you. There is bound to be someone near you who is dreading the gesture of peace because they know they'll have those 24 seconds alone, watching everyone else remind them that they came alone.
We are a community. Build it and reach out to those who came to gather. Your Mass partner isn't going anywhere. This is one small way I believe we can strengthen the Church.