Potential 2018 Change in the DAILY Mass schedule: There are several situations that are currently making it seem like the best option moving forward in 2018 is to align our daily Mass schedule with our neighbors. Saint Maurice has been blessed in the past with having more than one priest assigned to it; however, that is no longer the case. I am the only priest assigned to this parish. Any other priest that celebrates Mass for us is “hired help” so to speak. Having two daily Masses, plus a monthly Mass at Centurion Commons and Juniper Village, is not ideal for a one priest parish. When we have a Funeral Mass this adds to the complexity. Recently, on back to back days, I celebrated the 7:00 AM Mass and Fr. Daniel celebrated the 9:00 AM so that I could go to the funeral home and conduct the Transfer Prayers before returning to the campus to celebrate the Funeral Mass at 10:00 AM. Had Fr. Daniel not been available on either of those days I would have needed to celebrate all three Masses and I would not have been able to leave the campus to minister to the families at the funeral home.
Fr. Daniel is a wonderful priest and tremendous asset to our parish, but he is a student sent here by his Bishop to earn a degree in theology and not serve as a diocesan priest. He will eventually complete his degree and go back home. It is unfair to him to treat him as the “assistant priest” of the parish (especially since he is in the country on a student, and not a work, visa). When you include that Fr. Daniel’s academic schedule changes his availability semester to semester you can see why the parish cannot, and should not, schedule Masses based upon his assumed presence here. He consistently steps up to assist our parish when asked and we need to offer prayers of thanksgiving for all he does for us. However, we cannot take his presence for granted or take advantage of him.
The parishes around us do have connections with priests who they lean on for assistance, but those relationships could change at any moment. The stark reality is that there is an increasing strain all across our diocese to find help in times of need. For this reason, the priests of our area and On Mission grouping are in the process of finalizing a plan of coordinated daily Mass schedules that will space the Masses across our area in a way that avoids overlap. This new schedule should allow for the priests to provide coverage for one another in times of need. This plan would reduce St. Maurice to one daily Mass. More than likely, beginning in January of 2018, the 7:00 AM Mass will move from St. Maurice to Good Shepherd Parish (Sacred Heart Church) and we will offer daily Mass at 9:00 AM Tuesday through Saturday.
Changes in the Mass schedule will be finalized before we open the 2018 Mass intention book. Please note that with On Mission implementation there will also be changes coming to the WEEKEND Mass schedule. However, at this time, those changes, and the date that they go into effect, are unknown. Furthermore, the diocese is going to be issuing a policy for scheduling Masses past September of 2018. As of the time we submitted our bulletin for publication that diocesan policy was not yet publicized.