From the Pastor: Parish Update and Sacrament Dates
I don’t know if you paid any attention, but last weekend I hung up a chart in the social hall and highlighted Epiphany’s place on it. It listed all of the parishes and missions of the diocese and showed the number of people attending Mass during February this year and for the past few years. I reported our statistics last year after the October Mass count showed that Epiphany was the only parish that had grown from October 2019 to October 2020. Once again we have a similar data set showing that Epiphany is the only parish showing growth from February 2020 to February 2021. (We track this weekly, but the diocese asks each parish to report on numbers only twice a year, in February and October.) Not only that, but we also grew from our last October count, so we are certainly growing and on track to be bursting at the seams. Last Sunday’s 10:30 Mass, for instance, was standing room only, even though the 7:30 Mass is getting larger and we still have the additional 1:00 pm Mass which I added less than a year ago (temporarily, I thought) to alleviate overcrowding at the 10:30 when we were under capacity restrictions. Let me lay out the growth according to this most recent February survey. This data shows February Mass counts from 2012 (or maybe it is a typo since 2013 is missing), although the Traditional Latin Mass only started here in August of 2015 (long after, obviously, the February 2015 Mass count was reported), so I will start there. Watch the numbers start jumping after the TLM got here. The parishioner count averages all Saturday Vigil and Sunday Masses during the weekends in February of each year listed.
2015: 87 people per weekend at Mass
So what do these numbers mean for us? Quite simply, it means that we are outgrowing our current facility. Our parish hall can hardly fit the coffee and donuts crowd after Mass, let alone allow us to host a large event such as our recent Epiphany celebration which, as you well know, had to be moved outside and into the classrooms to provide enough space for everyone who wished to participate. Our classrooms are being used at a record clip, causing scheduling conflicts with various groups which need meeting space. Our parking lot is obviously much too small, but fortunately, we have plenty of grass to park on rather than having to find street parking. These are all great problems to have, especially considering that all of the other pastors are scratching their heads trying to figure out where their people went and how to get them back. These issues are also leading to us exploring the possibility of tearing down our existing buildings and building bigger and better. We have had a civil engineer come out to determine if we have enough room to build on our property and still manage to meet city ordinances. The answer is “Yes, with certain stipulations.” So we are looking to see if we can work those out. I have spoken with the Bishop and he gave me instructions to put the plan in writing and include such things as what the issues are, how the re-building plan will solve those issues, and how we will pay for the project. That written report is in the works.
On a different note, I have some dates of importance for you to give me feedback on. First Holy Communion is scheduled for Sunday, May 23. This year I am asking that all of the children meet with me the month before, at 9:00 am on Sunday, April 18, prepared to show me that they are ready for both their First Holy Communion and their First Confession, which they must make before receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion. Make sure your children are signed up (on the Sacramental Prep page of our website) and that they can attend this important meeting. Confirmations are now on the calendar for Saturday, June 26, at 1:00 pm. We had Saturday Confirmations in 2017 and it went well, with a reception afterward, but in recent years we have had them at the less-convenient 7:00 pm on Wednesday nights to accommodate the Bishop, who was able to make it one of those years. Assuming he won’t be able to be here this year, I am moving it back to Saturday for your convenience. If I hear differently from him and he wants to do the Confirmations himself at a different time/date, I will change it even if he wants to do them on a Tuesday at 6:15 am. I have also scheduled a meeting on Sunday, June 13, at 9:00 am, with all of those to be confirmed, to determine if they are ready for Confirmation. Again, mark your calendars for these dates, and be sure that your children are signed up via our Sacramental Prep webpage. If there is any major date conflict, such as a Traditional Latin Mass Society National Meeting taking place on any of the above-mentioned dates, please let me know ASAP so that alternative dates can be found and published.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka