Mass this past Sunday was very emotional for me as we were able to celebrate two public Masses in the church courtyard for 100 people each. People’s love of the liturgy and of the community was very palpable. Just as the Eucharist is central in the life of a Catholic, so celebrating Mass with the community is central in the life of a priest. It was good to be able to do that again, even in a limited way.
I know you miss Mass greatly and would want to celebrate Mass as often as possible. However, since we are limited to only 100 people at an outdoor Mass, we need to limit families to one Mass until all parishioners have had the opportunity to participate in a Mass. Some people have signed up for multiple Masses. We leave them at one Mass and cancel the reservations for all the others. On Saturday morning, parishioners can check back and, if space is available for the next day, they can sign up for a second Mass – but not until Saturday. We feel this is the fairest way to let all parishioners have the opportunity to celebrate Mass. I ask for your patience and understanding.
According to state and local directives, those involved in ministry at the Mass are not counted as part of the 100 in attendance. Those who serve as music ministers, ushers, lectors, cleaners, sacristans, videographers and the like may be at more than one Mass. The moral of the story is to volunteer.
A general dispensation from the obligation to participate at Mass remains in effect. Attendance at our outdoor Masses is voluntary. We continue to live stream our 10:30 Mass and post it on our parish webpage.
Your continued social distancing will help our county curb the infection rate and get us to further stages of opening up. Let’s all do what we can so we can to protect one another and move forward with reasonable safety.