Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
In my April 12th bulletin letter, I explained that I thought it was time to consider the diocesan guidelines promulgated in August 2018 regarding Mass scheduling. Considering the guidelines, it seemed we should eliminate our Saturday 6 PM Paulding Mass. While not exhaustive, the following bullet points reiterate some of the reasons given in the guidelines:
- With an average of 78 people at that Mass, we use only 26% of the seats available.
- There is plenty of room in our other three Masses to accommodate the 6pm Mass-goers.
- A priest should have no more than three weekend Masses, yet at our parish, at least since the merger, we have regularly had four. (Canon Law and Diocesan Particular Law)
- Each parish should have only one “anticipated/vigil” Saturday evening Mass. Again, we have had two vigil Masses since the merger. (Diocesan Particular Law)
- We should consider the pastor’s well-being: Saturdays are when almost all weddings happen, and certainly many funerals. Weekends are very busy with other events that also benefit from the pastor’s presence. We have first Saturday Masses at Payne. We have sacramental retreats on Saturday’s. The apologetics course on Sunday’s; various weekend parish and school fundraisers and social events, etc.
- We should consider the ministers (musicians, cantors, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Communion, servers) needed for all of our Masses. Masses with a bigger congregation by definition will leave us a greater pool of ministers for scheduling. This is to respect the well-being of the ministers, so ministers aren’t required to take on too much.
With all of this in mind, after quite a lot of consulting, I have decided to eliminate the 6pm Saturday evening Mass at Paulding. Then I raised the question about the possibility of moving the 4 PM Payne Mass on Saturday to 5 PM, even if just in the months outside of daylight savings. I thought this might be a happy compromise between the 6pm and 4pm Mass-goers. After quite a lot of consulting, I decided not to change the 4 PM Saturday Mass time. There simply was not a large enough push in that direction; and we did our best to reach out to a large sampling of parishioners who attend either the 4 PM or the 6 PM Saturday Masses. I announced these decisions in my April 26th Youtube parish check-in; but I realize that not everybody would have had access to Youtube. That’s why I am repeating everything here.
So, in summary, when we return to public weekend Masses, we will return to three: Saturday Payne 4pm; Sunday Antwerp 8:30am and Paulding 10:30am. I realize that change is always very difficult. I know people have built up routines in some cases for many years, based on the 6pm Mass being there. I pray for everybody’s understanding regarding this decision. I think in the long-run it will mean greater vitality overall for our weekend Masses, and greater longevity for our priests.
Stay holy, and stay safe! Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,