On August 22, 2016, Bishop Jaime Soto issued a directive to consolidate the weekend Mass schedule of St. Katharine Drexel Parish so that one priest can manage it. Download the letter by clicking here.
In compliance with this directive, Fr. Larry formed a Pastoral Plan Ad-hoc Committee to help develop a plan. The committee submitted its recommendations to the Pastoral Council, and the Council is now deliberating the recommendations. See update below. After a decision by Bishop Soto, implementation of the final plan is expected by July 1, 2017.
February 19, 2017
Parish Council Advances to Final Meeting on New Mass Schedule
The Pastoral Council met February 2, focusing discussion on Bishop Soto's directive sent in August requiring a new parish schedule that can be handled by one priest effective July 1 of this year. The council discussed three proposed Mass schedules that were forwarded from the Ad-Hoc committee, which met throughout last fall. The schedules derived from more than 20 parishioner recommended schedules, while taking into account many more comments via emails, letters, local church discussions and in-pew surveys.
After deliberation, one of the three proposed schedules was eliminated. The rest of the meeting discussion focused on the two remaining proposed schedules, one which involves a rotating Mass at several of our churches every month.
Pastoral Council members Mike Huss (SH), Deacon Ed, Tim Burr (SB), Chris Fenton (SB), Father Larry, Bob Strazzo (OLOP), Father Arlon, Dan Olenchuk (SM), Teresa Shubaly (SH), Suzie Reynolds, Mary Masuda (SKD), Irene Stapleton (Hispanic Community), and Deacon Jaime will meet again on March 2 with the goal of reaching a consensus on a new Mass schedule approved by Fr. Larry to be presented to Bishop Soto by March 31, 2017.
In response to questions asked by parishioners, Fr. Larry has developed a list of 'frequently asked questions.' Click here for the FAQ's. The 'Diocesan Statutes' referred to by Fr. Larry in his FAQ's are statutes of the Third Diocesan Synod and were promulgated in 2006. Download a copy of the statues here.
Mass and Communion Service: What's the Difference?
Some parishioners have informally proposed the idea of having “Communion Services” on Sundays at those churches where we cannot provide a priest in the future. Surely this desire comes from pure hearts and expresses a hunger for our Eucharistic Lord as well as a sincere devotion to the real presence of Christ. Thanks be to God!
However, as we proceed with the development of a parish plan for weekend Masses manageable by one priest, it might be instructive to reflect on the critical difference between the Mass and “Communion Services,” formerly called the “Rite for Distributing Holy Communion Outside Mass with a Celebration of the Word.”
What is the Mass? The Mass is the liturgical celebration of the sacrament of the Eucharist. Through it we participate in the saving sacrifice of Jesus. He offered himself on the cross so that we might have life. At Mass, we become present to that one perfect offering of Jesus on Calvary. In doing so we renew our covenant with Him.
This is what is obscured in Communion Services: the sacramental offering and sacrifice of ourselves in union with Christ to God our Father. Just before the Eucharistic Prayer begins the priest addresses the gathered faithful, “Pray brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.” All respond, “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.”
Unfortunately many Catholics are not aware of this amazing truth: the offering of our very lives are so valuable that they are united to Christ’s perfect sacrifice to God our Father. We are saved in and through Christ’s offering of Himself on the cross. Otherwise the Eucharistic Prayer can be seen as an action simply to consecrate hosts and, therefore, participation can be all about watching the priest and then receiving Holy Communion.
Other than the absence of the priest, this is the essential difference between Mass and a Communion Service. The latter is a service of sacramental communion, but is not the ritual participation in the sacrifice of Christ. In other words, the faithful gathered make no offering upon the altar. Instead, we eat the fruits of a sacrifice made by others at a prior Mass.
And this why Bishop Soto’s directive does not include an option for Communion Services, except perhaps at Silver Lake due to its remoteness. Church (Canon) law is clear that we have the obligation to attend Mass except for a “grave cause.” If our attendance is impossible then the obligation is removed. This can include advanced age, illness, the need to care for a sick relation or travel difficulties. Nobody is obliged to do the impossible. However, the church recommends, but does not oblige, that Catholics unable to attend Mass make holy the Day of the Lord in some other way, such as participating in a Communion Service, Eucharistic Adoration, following a televised Mass, or praying individually or communally the Liturgy of the Hours or from the Bible.
Please be assured the Parish Plan Ad-Hoc Committee and the Pastoral Council are striving the best we can to hear and address the needs of all of the people of our parish. Let us recommit ourselves to offering our lives in union with Christ as we celebrate the Mass. As St. Augustine preached long ago, “Therefore if you yourselves are the Body of Christ and his members, then your own mystery lies on the altar … Be what you see, and receive what you are.”