Just Some Observations
Happy Gaudete Sunday to everyone. This is the Sunday that we rejoice because the Lord is near. It is also famous for being one of the two Sundays throughout the Liturgical year that we wear pink (rose) vestments. I heard an interesting tidbit about rose vestments this summer that I’ll probably also share in my homily.
One of the symbolisms of the rose vestments is sunrise. During sunrise the sky will oftentimes pink. This pink sky announces that the sun is about to appear. Analogously, the pink vestments symbolize that the Son is about to appear. In the morning pink alerts us that sun is coming. In Advent pink alerts us that the Son of God is coming. Isn’t that fascinating?! I’ve been Catholic for 33 years and never heard that until this past summer.
Last week, on December 1st, pastoral council gathered for our quarterly meeting. As you know pastoral council is composed of three parishioners from each of our parishes. One part of the meeting was to discuss the Mass schedule and simply talk about how it is going.
There are a number of positive observations. First our Mass attendance is up from last year. Amazingly, we have one fewer Mass than 2021 and the overall numbers are up. Secondly people seem to be more comfortable traveling between parishes. This isn’t always a comfortable thing to do and many people would prefer to always go to Mass at a single parish. It seems that many people are becoming more comfortable going to whichever parish is most convenient.
One observation that is both positive and negative is the attendance at St. John for the Sunday evening Mass. The Mass has been rather full, especially in September and October. The average attendance for these two months was 184. On paper the Church holds 185 which means many Masses were overflowing and had to find a seat. One Sunday even had 246 people! While it is wonderful to have a crowded Mass, it is a little worrisome from a hospitality standpoint. The Sunday evening Mass attracts people from all over the area and it isn’t ideal to ask people to stand or park their cars on wherever they can find an open piece of pavement in town.
Another negative observation that pastoral council noticed is the lack of a Sunday Morning Mass at St. John and St. Lawrence. This probably isn’t surprising to anyone. It has been difficult for many people and overall hurt morale for a number of people. It has caused many to become disheartened.
With all this being said, I’d like to reiterate that these are observations. At our September meeting, we decided that the Mass schedule wouldn’t change for 12 months (at least July 1, 2023). We would like to see how the numbers shake out throughout the winter. Unfortunately our data will be a little skewed since the 4pm Saturday Mass is at Immaculate Conception instead of St. Lawrence for three months.
Any changes to the Mass schedule need about a four month lead time. This is to ensure proper communication, scheduling of liturgical ministers, and scheduling of Mass intentions. Thanks for your continued prayers for our parish leaders. Have a blessed Gaudete Sunday.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson