Sunday is Near
The Original Novena
Forty days after Easter, Jesus ascended to Heaven. (We'll be celebrating the Ascension this coming Sunday.) The disciples prayed the original novena for nine days in the upper room before the first Pentecost. I invite you to pray a novena to the Holy Spirit at:
Pray More Novenas
Ascension on Sunday
For this year only, the bishops of New Jersey have moved the celebration of the Ascension of the Lord to Sunday. You can find the readings at:
The Word Among Us
Sunday Mass - When and Where
Mass will be in the parking lot on Sunday at 8 AM. The altar will be at the canopy entrance in the back.
The weather forecast looks promising for Sunday at 8 AM. There's a 20% chance of rain. If it does rain, I'll back up under the canopy. The wind is predicted to be 11 mph. That may be too much for bringing out the flags. I'll probably use a tablet computer instead of the Roman Missal. It'll be cloudy which means the sun won't be blinding.
In choosing 8 AM, I've considered a lot of pros and cons. An earlier time means cooler temps which means it'll be easier to keep your windows closed (open a crack for ventilation). It'll be about 50F which may seem cold to many of you, but it'll be warm for me.
When we move to Phase Two with Mass in the church, the Mass times will be different so that we can disinfect the church in between Masses. Currently, I'm leaning toward 7 PM on Saturday and 8 AM, 11 AM, and 3 PM on Sunday. This will be finalized after we figure out who will be cleaning the church on the weekend. The different times will also make it possible to do funerals and weddings on Saturdays. Confessions and Baptisms also need to be fit in sometime during the weekend. We might as well start up with 8 AM Sunday Mass now.
Over the last three years, several parishioners have asked for Mass at 8 AM. It will also be consistent with daily Mass at 8 AM.
Our retired priests are not likely to help out anytime soon. That means I have to do all Masses, baptisms, weddings, funerals, and confessions every day of the week. Previously, Saturday was super busy. An adjusted schedule will make it possible for me to do everything on the weekend. So far, God has not given me the gift of bilocation. Neither do we have two large churches to have back-to-back Masses or services.
Change is hard. We're in the midst of a very difficult time. Getting up earlier for Mass will be challenging for some. If it's too hard, that's ok. The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass will continue for quite some time. Hopefully, we'll have Mass in the church sometime in June. Then there will be more opportunities. Currently, our bishop has only given us permission to have one Mass in the parking lot per day.
Fifth Mass in the Parking Lot
This morning's Mass went very well. We get better each day. Today, 37 cars joined us. For the distribution of Holy Communion, I did not make any physical contact with anyone. So, it does seem that people keeping their hands and heads inside their vehicles works best. Reception in the hand is preferred. Hold one hand on top of the other, palms up and flat. Hold your hands inside your window in a comfortable position. We have found that this works very well.
I already moved all the Mass gear to the church sacristy. We plan to have Saturday morning Mass outside the canopy. I can get a fast enough Wi-Fi signal if the computer is up against the doors. With the 30 foot USB extension cables, I can have the microphone and camera outside the canopy.
Thanks for all your patience, support, and recommendations as we continue to navigate sacramental life during this pandemic.
God love you,
Fr. Jim O'Neill
on Friday, May 22 at 11:45AM