Happy Sunday!

I’m not sure about you all, but I seriously can’t believe that it’s already July, it seems last week we were still in April.  I also just realized that this weekend is my official two-year anniversary of arriving at St. John’s, wow! High fives all around, it’s been a good ride so far.

Now that we are in full-fledged summer mode, there are some important updates and upcoming changes to our parish that I am including in this week’s bulletin.  Please take a moment to read this all the way through. We’ll be doing our best to keep everyone updated with reminders in the coming weeks and months.

The biggest change, as we all know, will be the transition of my ministry from St. John to Lumen Christi this coming August.  Bittersweet for us all. Thankfully, I will continue to live at St. John’s rectory and help with the Sunday Mass schedule. Over the past several months, Fr. Chas and I have been patiently observing the annual process completed by our bishop and our priest assignment board who track the retirements and movement of priests throughout the diocese.

With that process now completed, we know for sure that in the role of ‘parochial vicar’, I will not be replaced.  Principally, this means St. John is transitioning from a two-priest to a one-priest parish. Big bummer, yes, although no one here is personally to blame.  It is just a natural outcome of the imbalance of priest retirements in relation to priestly ordinations. More priests going out than coming in.

One major consequence of our transition will be a change in the daily Mass schedule.  We have been privileged to offer Holy Mass each weekday with two priests in ministry, but that will no longer be possible in a single-priest scenario.  Fr. Chas has been in communication with me about this while on his sabbatical, and the new daily Mass schedule will result in the loss of two St. John Masses and one St. Joseph Mass.

St. John will lose the Monday morning and the Tuesday evening Masses, and St. Joseph will lose the Saturday morning Mass.  The morning Mass at St. Joseph will move to the evening. In a simpler format, the new weekday Mass schedule will be as follows:

Tuesday 5:30 p.m. (St. Joseph)
Wednesday 8:30 a.m. (St. John)
Thursday 8:30 a.m. (St. Joseph)
Friday 9:00 a.m (St. John)

We will be keeping the status quo (i.e. no changes) through the first three full weeks of July.  Beginning with the week of Monday, July 23rd, we’ll move to the new schedule.

So let me address two very important points.

I apologize for this immediately, knowing first of all that it will affect the schedules of both our dedicated daily Mass goers and our faithful sacristans at both St. Joseph and St. John.  I’m particularly grateful to our sacristans whose preparation and organization always help our daily Masses go so smoothly. I apologize for the change we’re asking of you in your hidden and humble generosity to our faith community, and I apologize especially to our St. Joseph sacristans, who are affected most by the change in time of our Tuesday St. Joseph Mass.

Secondly, I also apologize for this change in daily Mass schedule, knowing that it will affect many of our families here who have reserved Mass intentions for a weekday liturgy.  You requested those intentions in good faith and we scheduled them for you in good faith. No one foresaw the changes that would occur with priest assignments.

These intentions will not be lost or unfulfilled, but in some cases we will need to ask that they be changed to a different date.  I’m very sorry for that, as I know that often times intentions are date- or day-specific, to coincide with the anniversary of someone’s birth, marriage, passing to the Lord etc.  Please forgive me.

I am currently working with our staff to come up with a solution to mitigate these change requests.  I will be communicating more about this in next week’s bulletin. There is no perfectly clean way to do this, although I am directing our staff to be proactive for any change requests that are the most time-sensitive.  For this reason, even if you foresee that either your or a family member’s Mass intention might be affected by the change in Mass schedule, I kindly request for the time-being that you please hold tight and do not call the office.  We’ll be in touch with you as we attempt to keep things as orderly as possible for all of our sakes.

I’m eminently grateful as well for your understanding and your patience with our wonderful staff, who are not in any way at fault for any Mass intention scheduling change.  Thanks for understanding that any inconveniences and frustrations are shared by us all, and we’re all doing our best.

After all that, the good news remains. We get to digest these changes as a community, and we will continue to support each other and pray for each other and grow together.  The Lord’s providence foresees all things, and He’s always prepared through any human alteration to bring about divine transformation. His mercies are new each morning. God bless us all!