The number of Sunday Masses that was scheduled for our grouping: This past weekend the question that I was asked most frequently was about the number of Sunday Masses scheduled for our grouping beginning on October 20/21. You wanted to know why if there are three priests assigned to the grouping (and the diocese allows each priest to celebrate three Sunday Masses) there is not a total of nine Sunday Masses scheduled. There are several answers to this question. However, the one that I feel is most relevant concerns the diocesan policy dealing with seating capacity for each Mass. It has been, and continues to be, the policy that no Sunday Mass should be celebrated with less than 50% capacity within any church. Here, at Saint Maurice, we have not been in compliance with that policy. We average less than 800 people per weekend attending our services. Our church holds 760 people. We do not need more than two Sunday Masses. Although the numbers differ for each church in our grouping the facts remain the same. Our grouping only needs to have six scheduled Sunday Masses. I truly hope that moving forward all our church buildings will be well over 50% full for every service. A fuller church honestly makes for better worship. It does mean fewer options for you to fulfill your Sunday Obligation. But at the same time, our Sunday obligation is an opportunity to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the source and summit of our faith, and it should not be something that we fit into our busy schedule but, rather, it needs to be our number one priority on the Lord’s day!
Additionally, I remind you that the published schedule is an interim schedule that can and will change if needed.
What if I go to another Parish for Mass but want my contribution to be credited and recorded at Saint Maurice: As is the current practice, anytime you attend a different church than the one at which you are registered and you drop your church envelope into the collection basket, your contribution is sent to your home parish. The only time your contribution remains at the parish you attend is if you give cash or otherwise fail to identify your home parish. Moving forward it would be helpful to always use your church envelope (I’d say even if you don’t contribute any money) so that a clear picture can be derived of where people are attending Mass. This will assist in making modifications to schedules if needed.
A little inspiration recently given to me which I share with you: “How much must I criticize you, my Church. And yet how much I love you! You have made me suffer more than anyone, and yet I owe more to you than to anyone. I should like to see you destroyed and yet I need your presence. You have given me so much scandal and yet you alone have made me understand holiness. Never in this world have I seen anything more compromised, more false, yet never have I touched anything more pure, more beautiful. Countless times I have felt like leaving you, my Church, and yet every night I have prayed that I might die in your warm, loving arms!” – – from Italian writer, Carlo Carretto.