My Gratitude for Your Support & Understanding: I am edified & thankful with so many of you expressing sympathy at our diminishment in terms of losing our parish vicar. Please continue to pray that we will receive another priest, or if it becomes apparent that will not happen—we can adapt to a new reality & make the adjustments we need to make & move on with healthy parish life. We get this in the overall, until it impacts convenience.
Our decrease may necessitate some rearrangement of our Mass schedules, & I am writing you now about that with a sort of ‘heads up,’ while also inviting your input/feedback before the decisions are finalized. Effective next month, however, we will no longer offer the 7 pm. Holyday Mass, but our Vigil Mass in the Upper Church the evening before will move from 5:15 to 7 pm. Otherwise, our Holyday schedule remains the same: 7 am. Mass in the Lower Church; 8:15 am. Mass in the Lower Church; & 12 pm./noon Mass in the Lower Church.
I am proposing, beginning with the coming New Year, the combining of our 9:00 am. & 10:15 am. Masses into a 9:30 am. Mass—for a total of 3 Sunday morning Masses: 7:30 am Mass in the Lower Church; 9:30 am. Mass in the Upper Church, & 11:30 am. Mass in the Lower Church. The Saturday Vigil Mass would remain as is, at 5:15 pm. in the Upper Church. I remain very grateful for the priestly assistance provided by the Augustinian Friars—Frs. Michael & Richard—whose schedules occasionally require them to travel & so are sometimes unavailable to help us.
Each October, the Archdiocese directs us to do a physical head count of all people attending our weekend Masses—this is done over several weeks & the numbers are averaged. Our numbers show a steady decline in people attending weekend Mass here over the past several years. From several years ago, we are more than 400 fewer persons coming to our weekend Masses. And if you have observed the number of folks in church at any given weekend Mass, you have noticed that the church is usually less than 50% capacity—all of which means that the convenience of 5 weekend Masses is no longer something that we can afford to maintain—in terms of my personal health & well being. It is only with some special occasion (like the CYO athletic teams attending seasonally) that we approach a comfortably full church. Please, let us all engage in this by inviting friends &neighbors.
Please continue to pray that we will receive a new parish vicar in the not too distant future, in which case we may then reverse any changes made in the meantime. I am happy for your feedback, electronically at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or write your thoughts on a note card & drop into the collection basket. God bless you & thanks for your enduring patience!