The time has arrived to make a change to our Mass schedule.
Sunday, July 10th will be the last weekend that we celebrate a 5:30 p.m. Sunday Mass. It has been one year since Fr. Gary moved out of the parish rectory. Without regular weekend Mass help it is just too much for me to continue celebrating four or more Masses most weekends. When you add in weddings, funerals, and first Saturday Masses, there are weekends when I am celebrating five or six Masses. A priest is not permitted to celebrate three Masses on any day but Sunday and holy days. Even then, it is only supposed to happen when there is substantial pastoral need. Praying the Mass is exhausting and we just have to come to the realization that we do not have the number of priests we once did. I believe St. Luke Parish is the only parish that had a Sunday evening Mass with only one priest assigned to the parish. It is my hope to have contemporary music at the 11:00 a.m. Mass once per month to start. If it catches on, we can look at doing it more often.
Bishop Malesic has also asked the priests of the Diocese to start reflecting deeply on the number of Masses we are celebrating in light of the number of priests we currently have and how many we will have in the near future. It is becoming more and more difficult to find Mass coverage when priests are on retreat or vacation. By far, the most difficult Mass to obtain coverage for is the 5:30 p.m. Sunday night Mass.
Starting next weekend, the weekend of July 2nd and 3rd, we will return to coming up the center aisle for Holy Communion. We moved to the side aisles to create some distancing and to make hand sanitizer available. I do not see the necessity of continuing this practice at this time.
I have some very sad news to share with you as well. Lawrence Wallace, our music director, is leaving at the end of July or early August. Lawrence loves it here at St. Luke and this is one of the most difficult decisions he has had to make. Lawrence spent a great deal of time in prayer and in consultation with his spiritual director. He has come to the conclusion that God is calling him to make this change. I love Lawrence and I am sure many of you do as well. I am heartbroken that he is leaving but who am I to try in get in the way of God’s will. Please pray for Lawrence and his family as he moves on to the next phase in his life. Please also pray that God will send us the best new music director possible.
Peace of Christ,