A Note from Fr. Gary -
As we come to the end of our second year in our new model of three communities linked together, leadership has explored three areas of practical challenges and opportunities. Those three areas are the weekday Mass schedule, the schedule for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and the meeting schedule of various consultative leadership groups.
The current weekday Mass schedule requires that both the pastor and the parochial vicar take the same day off. After two years, it is clear that it is not the best use of priest resources to have both priests unavailable the same day of the week (Mondays have been the priests’ day off these past two years).
With Mass Monday through Friday at St. Joseph, Tuesday through Saturday at St. Thomas, and every Friday at Our Lady Star of the Sea, if the parochial vicar or I have to be gone, or are sick, we have to try to find a priest to cover a weekday Mass. That has become more and more challenging as fewer priests are available to help us.
In addition, the current weekday Mass schedule does not allow the opportunity for the pastor and parochial vicar to ever concelebrate weekday Mass together, which is an important element in the ongoing formation of a newly ordained priest.
In order to address these challenges, we will transition to a new weekday Mass schedule, beginning July 1st. Weekday Masses will be celebrated at St. Joseph on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 8:30 am; on Tuesday evening (6:00 pm, preceded by the Sacrament of Reconciliation at 5:00 pm), and Thursday and Saturday mornings at 8:30 am at St. Thomas; and on the first Friday of the month at 8:30 am at Our Lady Star of the Sea. On the Fridays when we do not have Mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea, the community will continue to gather for prayer (perhaps a Word and Communion Service), and will also have Mass on those Fridays following a Thursday night Council meeting.
Discussion of this new weekday Mass schedule by our leadership prompted a further discussion about Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Thomas and St. Joseph. Planning for reduced hours for Adoration at St. Thomas has been underway for a number of months now and will be implemented once the refurbishing of the Adoration Chapel is complete. Those new hours will be Tuesday evening following Mass, until Saturday morning just prior to the beginning of Mass. With these reduced hours, we are hopeful that we will have enough adorers to assure someone is always praying before the Exposed Sacrament.
At St. Joseph, in order to assure a connection between Adoration and the celebration of the Mass, we will move Adoration from Thursdays to Mondays, with the Sacrament being exposed for Adoration at the end of Mass and continuing until 9:00 pm. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will not change at Our Lady Star of the Sea. We will continue to have Adoration on Wednesdays from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm, and on First Fridays from the end of Mass until 4:00 pm.
The final challenge and opportunity concerns the various meetings of consultative leadership groups (i.e., Councils and Commissions that advise the pastor on various aspects of parish life). In next week’s column, I will describe the change in schedule for these consultative leadership groups.
As we implement these changes, beginning July 1st, it is the hope of our leadership that our three communities will continue to draw closer to one another and to the Lord we are called to serve.
Fr. Gary Lazzeroni