New Mass Schedule

A Twenty-fifth Anniversary to Remember

I was moved to tears by the Holy Spirit numerous times this past Tuesday, the twenty-fifth anniversary of my ordination. Much of the outpouring of the Spirit came from the outpouring of love, generosity and work surrounding the beautiful 8:30 Mass that morning.

From the supportive presence of the staff, to the joyful presence of the choir, to the abiding presence of parishioners present, to so many carefully and thoughtfully planned details…reminded me of the incredible love and care of Jesus over the past twenty-five years…and assured me of Jesus continued love and help for his Church into the future. Thanks so much to all!!

Flexing of Mass Times

If all goes according to plan, by next week, I hope to be able to announce the Beacons of Light Phase 1 Mass time changes for Incarnation Church. Let me tell a bit of the story so far.

About four weeks ago, the Mass time subcommittee gathered for the first time to consider the future Mass Schedule at Incarnation. Their charge was to recommend Mass time changes to prepare Incarnation Church to begin to enter into a “marriage” or “sisterhood” with St. Francis Church.

One Less Priest

As many know, with one less priest beginning July 1, it is Incarnation’s calling to eliminate two Masses from our Mass schedule. For at least six years, particularly since St. Mary of the Assumption opened, we have not needed the seven Masses we onetime had. Due to our very generous 1,000 seat capacity of our church and PAC, most Masses do not even have 50% seating capacity occupied.

Recall, we eliminated two Masses two years ago to prepare for a future with fewer priests, while in accord with the strategic plan, we added an experimental 5 pm Sunday Mass to attempt to serve families better. This was a counter intuitive move in some ways, a sign that Incarnation Church is willing to, as our core values state, “reach out with both hands” in Jesus’ name. Most weekends, in terms of attendance, that 5 pm Mass has not been a smashing success, even with appreciated and special involvement from some school families once a month, attendance is well below 50%.

 Eliminate Two Masses

Therefore, the Mass Time Subcommittee of pastoral council’s charge was to eliminate two Masses from the current six Masses. What are some principal considerations?

Beacons of Light offers the common sense approach to change as little as possible. Going with that guideline, the committee came up with a schedule that tried to keep most Masses at the same time. However, when presented to pastoral council, there was a serious concern that we did not have enough Masses scheduled when most people want to go to Mass, from roughly 9 am-11 am. Pastoral council asked the committee to work on other possibilities.

Minimizing Significant Change

It seemed clear that, since we have to eliminate two Masses, which is a most significant change, the suggestion to change as little as possible simply isn’t best. Indeed, since two Masses need to be eliminated, it is likely the entire Mass schedule will flex ever so slightly, as we try to diminish the negative effects of eliminating two Masses.

Therefore, this week, I invite all parishioners to imagine that they are a Mass Time Subcommittee member and create a best schedule in your mind, recognizing that perhaps all Mass times may need to change by, say, thirty minutes. Such an approach will minimize the effects of eliminating two Masses, while striving to serve all, distributing the cross of the Lord Jesus across all parishioners.

Please continue to pray for the Mass Time Subcommittee, the Parish Leadership Team, pastoral council and me. It is hoped that we will have a Mass schedule to present next week.

Sincerely and with Love in Christ,

Fr. Pat