Dear Parish Family,
One issue that parishioners have brought up with me time and time again at the Thursday fireside chats we’ve been having is the question, “How do we attract the youth and young families to St. John Parish?” It is no secret that our parishioners have a more mature demographic profile than decades past.
For those who attended the 5:00 p.m. on Easter Sunday, you may have noticed that it was well attended and that many of them were young families. Many of them, moreover, were folks that I had not seen at St. John before. Thus, when our Worship Commission met on April 8 for our regular meeting, the topic of having a regular Sunday evening Mass was discussed. Many great points were brought forward in favor of it.
The other concern I have heard was among our seniors who cannot sufficiently see the road after the 5:45 p.m. Mass during the wintertime. A Mass half an hour earlier on Sunday itself provides our seniors another opportunity for an evening Mass without having to worry about driving in the dark.
In addition, there is a sizable number of our parishioners who occasionally travel elsewhere on weekends, particularly during the summer months. They love coming to Mass at their home parish of St. John, but find themselves having to go to the parish closest to their weekend destination. Having a 5:15 p.m. Mass on Sunday gives them an opportunity, for example, to drive from up north after brunch and still make it to their home parish in time for evening Mass.
With six Masses already on the schedule (five at St. John Church and one at St. Joseph Oratory), having a Sunday evening Mass would require changing a Mass time rather than adding a new one. By a good margin, the least attended St. John Mass is the 5:45 p.m. The 4:15 p.m. Saturday evening and the 10 a.m. and noon Sunday Masses all have healthy attendance. The 9:30 a.m. Mass at St. Joseph is growing. Therefore, the Worship Commission was in favor of moving the 5:45 p.m. Saturday evening Mass to a 5:15 p.m. Sunday evening Mass.
There are a couple of disadvantages to such a move. Though the 5:45 p.m. Saturday evening Mass is by far least attended, there will be a handful of parishioners who are very attached to that Mass time. A Sunday evening Mass, moreover, does lengthen the workday for Fr. Kurian and me on Sunday. This is something we are willing to accommodate, however, given the Mass’ great potential to address our parishioners’ biggest concerns.
In sum, a Sunday evening Mass at 5:15 p.m. would:
- Attract our youth and young families with a Mass conducive to their schedules, such as those who have sporting practices on Sundays
- Give our visually impaired seniors another evening Mass alternative without having to worry about driving in the dark during wintertime
- Allow our parishioners who are away on a weekend to come back and attend Mass at their home parish
Let us know what you think by leaving a message at the parish office or through our online suggestion box at www.stjohnjackson.org. Don’t forget about our three faith formation sessions beginning on Wednesday evening, April 29 on “How Does God Reveal Himself?”
Yours in Christ,