By now, most of us have seen the tweaks to the Mass schedule. A 5:45 p.m. Mass on Saturday evenings. No longer an 8 a.m. Mass on Wednesday mornings. I know those changes may make people unhappy or annoyed. But, know that they were made very carefully, with serious input from the Liturgy Committee and Parish Pastoral Council. Many factors had to be taken into consideration including the balance between our two parishes, the limits on how many Masses a priest can celebrate each day, pieces of my schedule beyond parish control (and beyond my control!), and the availability of substitute priests.
Let me explain some of that. Priests are able to celebrate Mass twice on a weekday (and Saturday is a weekday) and three times on a Sunday or holy day. With permission from the bishop, a third Mass can be added as an exception. But, care should be taken that the exception doesn’t become the norm. Right now, we’ve become accustomed to splitting the Mass schedule evenly between the two parishes. That’s not typical for parishes with multiple worship sites. More often, larger buildings host more Masses to allow more people to comfortably participate. Smaller buildings will often take the larger share of smaller celebrations (e.g., weekday Masses). For the moment, let’s be grateful we can manage that even split. Let’s be grateful we live in a wider community where Masses every day, every Sunday, and every holy day are spread throughout the day—giving more people more opportunities to celebrate the Mass and to encounter our Eucharistic Lord.