About a month ago, a “Special Edition” of our News & Views Newsletter was mailed out (it’s also available on our website) in which I wrote a “State of the Parish” article. I ended the article by asking that we, as a parish, begin to discuss our Mass schedule since we have fewer people in the pews and only one full-time priest, but the same number of Masses as we did when we had more people & more priests. I was very gratified by the response. Many people agreed that it’s time we took a look at the present Mass schedule, even though it’s difficult when our schedules or routines need to change. Some asked that we keep the (*fill in the blank) Mass because that’s the one they attend! But they also said, “We’ll make do with whatever is best for the parish.” And that is a commendable response. So here’s an update on this situation. Shortly after I wrote the article, I asked Father Joe Pednikar, a part-time chaplain at Jennings Hall (about 7 minutes away), if he would be able to help us on the weekend (except for the 10am Mass as he has Mass at Jennings at 9:30). And he graciously agreed to help us. So this past weekend I asked him if this is a commitment he can make long-term, for example for the rest of this year & perhaps next year. He responded by saying he is very willing to make that commitment but would let me know as much as possible in advance if and when he can no longer help us. So after discussing this unexpected turn with the Parish Council, I decided that we would keep the Mass schedule as it presently is for as long as we can. I’m glad that we have begun to discuss the issue though & feel that you would be in support of a change when that becomes necessary in the future.
Interestingly, Father Bill Bouhall, the pastor of St. Thomas More, discussed this very same issue for their parish in last weekend’s bulletin. The priest who was assigned there started on disability and so will no longer be able to be at the parish so they are trying a summer schedule where there will be only 2 Masses on Sunday. Father Bill notes that their Mass attendance is down & that with fewer people in the pews, that takes away from the vibrancy of the liturgies (exactly what I said…how clever of him to agree with me!). He mentions too that all the parishes around the area are experiencing the same situation. So thank you for your understanding and willingness to discuss this issue. Gratefully we seem to have been given some more time before a change becomes necessary but I appreciate your support as we look to the future.