I think it’s official, fall is in full swing. I have a couple of major announcements this week! Let me start with the most exciting change. As our religious education schedule is starting up again, we’ve had to make some major changes in light of COVID restrictions. Sister has shared most of those changes with everyone in her section of the bulletin and with the parents this week at their parent meeting, so I won’t steal her thunder.
However, there is one change that will affect everyone. We’re going to be making a slight change to the mass schedule in light of our religious education changes. Our fall in-person religious education will be running every Sunday for 8 weeks from Sunday, September 13th through Sunday November 1st. We will have a similar schedule in the spring. During that time, our 7th-11th grade students will be meeting from 6pm-8pm Sunday evenings. Meanwhile, you may have noticed that with our every-other-pew seating, our Saturday night 4pm mass has been getting a little crowded.
For that reason, we’ve decided that for the weeks that the religious education program is running, we will be adding a Sunday evening 5pm mass. All of our other masses will continue as they normally do. Please understand that this mass will ONLY be held during the 8 weeks of Religious Education in the fall and if all goes well similarly in the spring. As we add this mass, we’re asking any existing readers or altar servers who would be interested in serving at the Sunday 5pm, to please let us know.
As a parish last fall, when we did our survey, it was very clear that you wanted to see us put a larger focus on what we’re doing for our young people. I know this year isn’t what anyone had anticipated, but I want to see us go above and beyond to encourage those young people we have in our parish. I hope you’ll support us in these efforts.
This week I’m also going to be making a major policy change on how we handle mass intentions.
We’re blessed to have many people in our parish who take seriously the idea of having masses offered for their loved ones. It’s a long tradition of our Church and a very good one. The struggle though, is that with only so many dates available on the calendar, we want to be as fair as we can to everyone requesting that a mass be said. Now that I’ve been here a year and seen some of the concerns, our old system was a little bit confusing. I want to lay out some new rules to help us keep the process as clear as we can, and to not completely overwhelm Sue.
I have posted our new policy on page 7 in the August 30th bulletin. This will go into effect beginning with the new liturgical year on the first Sunday of Advent, November 29th, 2020. I’m hoping it will eliminate a lot of the confusion from the past.
Please read the policy in detail, but to make it simple:
1. We’ll accept masses from whoever wants to send them to us.
2. Registered parishioners can reserve up to two dates as space allows, and only registered parishioners can request specific dates.
3. We’ll do our best to fit masses without specific dates into our calendar, but any that we can’t fit will be sent to retired priests of our diocese, other parishes in need of intentions, or to the missionary priests in Mandeville, Jamaica. I’m hoping that this simplifies and clarifies a lot of the process making it fair and understandable for everyone.
In light of those new changes, we’re going to open our mass book for 2021 this Tuesday, September 1st. Please be patient with us as I know there’s a bit of a rush whenever the new book is opened. Overall, I’m hoping that most of you will look at this and ask, “isn’t this basically what we’ve always been doing?” It basically is, just with some minor changes and clarifications.
Finally, I was originally scheduled to be away this Tuesday-Thursday for our State Prison Chaplain’s Conference. However, this year it’s being held via webinar, and somehow I ended up running the webinar. As our program runs all day Tuesday-Thursday of this week, I’ll be unavailable this Tuesday-Thursday.
Also, as the program starts early, rather than cancel them, I had to move our daily masses back a little for this week only. So, for Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday of this week only, Daily Mass will be held at 7:00am. Thank you for your understanding.
Please know that you are all in my prayers, and please keep us in yours as we walk through this world that seems to change every day.
God Bless You,
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.