Yesterday, we celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. We believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. In light of the pandemic lockdowns and isolation, I hope we all have a deeper appreciation of the importance of people being present to one another. Even more so, God desires to be present to us and invites us to be present to Him.
More people were present in our church this past weekend than at any other time since March 2020. Our previous record was Easter at 748. We just had 766 people join us inside our church for the feast of Corpus Christi. Only five people were outside which means more and more people are coming inside our church for Mass. The 4 PM Mass reached 186 people for second place behind Easter 10 AM Mass at 190.
Mass Inside Outside
4 PM 186 0
6 PM 119 2
8 AM 105 3
10 AM 149 0
12 PM 132 0
2 PM 75 0
Total 766 5
Before August 2020 we only counted parishioners on two weekends every October. For two weekends in October 2019, we averaged 1518 people at Mass. So, we have just passed the halfway mark with 766 people. Let's pray that more and more people will return to Mass inside our church. Please invite your neighbors, family, friends, and fellow parishioners to come back to Mass.
New Mass Schedule
With more than half of parishioners willing and able to sit close together, we can now comfortably accommodate about 300 people inside our church. I think we could strategically seat 450+. Our maximum shoulder-to-shoulder capacity is 850. Presently, we have a significant minority of parishioners who need or want to continue sitting six feet apart.
As a result, I think our need for six Sunday Masses is expiring while we're not yet ready to return to four Sunday Masses. So, we will have five Sunday Masses starting in July and continuing through at least June 2022. We will have the 2 PM Mass for three more weeks during June 2021. It will then be cancelled so that we can move baptisms back to Sunday at 1:15 PM. We will continue with Sunday Mass at 4 PM and 6 PM Saturday evening and 8 AM, 10 AM, and 12 PM on Sunday.
First Time Back
Most parishioners navigated just fine in church. Some people back for the first time were in a daze. They didn't even see the pew signs for our six foot apart sections. Most of them will be fine next week.
I invite the ushers to focus more on the handicapped and six foot apart sections. We need to actively preserve space in our church for those with physical disabilities and those who choose to sit six feet apart. Everyone else can do just fine on their own finding seats.
I invite parishioners willing and able to sit close together to do so. Such a sacrifice will make it easier for others to find good seats.
Problems Out in the World
I know there are problems out in the world. Sometimes I address them, including those connected to COVID-19. However, we're trying to be understanding of those who enter our church and make adjustments based on who is showing up. One big adjustment this weekend is that I added seating in the parish hall for those who can sit close together.
When I do discuss problems, I think it's important to consider possible solutions. I read a
article that looks at the big picture and argues that Catholicism is the solution to problems in our culture:
Catholicism and the Future of Culture
by Paul Krause
God love you,
Fr. Jim O'Neill
on Monday, June 7 at 10:45AM