From the Pastor: The Extra 1:00 Mass Not Always TLM!
I want to thank all of you who are making the sacrifice to attend the extra Mass we have started up at 1:00 pm on Sundays. The first week about 140 attended (it was a First Holy Communion Mass for the children who were locked out of their most special Mass during the Covid panic), most of whom would have normally been at the 10:30 Mass. (As a side note, we had a number of children who were not able to make it to their re-scheduled First Holy Communion date, so we will welcome them at the 1:00 Mass on June 28th as they receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament for the first time!) The 10:30 Mass that first Sunday back had about 180 people at it. That low number allowed for mandated anti-social spacing in the church. 114 people attended the 7:30 that day as well, about normal for that Mass. Last week, with no First Holy Communion bringing people specifically to the 1:00 Mass, we still had just over 80 people there. The 7:30 was about the same, so the rest of the people attended the 10:30, overflowing into the social hall once we reached the limit in the church. I am going to continue offering the extra Mass as long as it is needed and as long as people continue to make the sacrifice to attend what is admittedly not the most convenient Mass time. If everyone from the 1:00 Mass attended the 10:30 Mass either of the two weeks it has so far been offered, both the church and hall would have been maxed out to capacity and people would have been standing outside for the entire Mass. I do have to remind you that, no matter which Mass you attend, you have to wait outside or in your car until after we sanitize the pews, doors, etc., between Masses. Congregating in the social hall or near the doors is not allowed.
Things are not normal. And when things are not normal, it should not be a surprise when even more abnormal things occur. During this time when we are just getting back to Sunday Masses and are trying to figure out what kind of Mass schedule will allow for the Covid limits on the congregation, I received a letter which I had already given up on getting. Long ago I had offered to celebrate Mass according to Divine Worship, the Missal used by the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, since they did not have a priest of the Ordinariate anywhere in our diocese. The Ordinariate is composed of members of the Anglican, Episcopal, or Methodist churches who have converted to Catholicism. They retain the use of their own missal and many other traditions and they have their own bishop. My bishop, Gregory Parkes, and the Ordinariate bishop, Steven Lopes, agreed that I can celebrate Mass for the Ordinariate once per month for the next year and see if their community can be built up in this area. It is a Catholic Mass and is very much like the Traditional Latin Mass except that it is done in English. It also, strangely, uses the Novus Ordo readings even while keeping the Traditional calendar.
Of course, I now have the problem of already having added in an extra Mass for the TLM community on Sundays and I just cannot see adding yet one more Mass, rushing through it to get done before St. Joseph Vietnamese Community comes in for their Sunday evening prayers and Mass. So on the first Sunday of every month the 1:00 pm extra Mass will not be a TLM but will be an Ordinariate Mass. The first one will be on July 5 and will continue each first Sunday. Again, it is Catholic, and all Catholics fulfill their Sunday obligation (which is still not an obligation due to the coronavirus dispensation given by Bishop Parkes) by attending this Mass. So come if you like!
One more note of interest for you. Fr. Mangiafico and I are taking turns with the Masses and will not be assisting at each other’s Masses due to the possibility of Covid Contact Tracing. Should somebody who attends Mass later turn up with Covid we don’t want to both be told that we must quarantine for two or more weeks at the same time, which would eliminate all Masses at Epiphany! By staying away from each other and by avoiding being with the same people at the same Mass, even if one of us gets quarantined, the other can take over all the Masses. Is this being overly cautious? Maybe, maybe not. After a deacon who attended a deacon ordination Mass in Georgia was found with Covid, three parishes canceled Masses because the pastors had been at that Mass. Since shortly after this thing began, somebody calls the police on us every week, sometimes several times a day. What do they think we are doing that’s illegal or expect the police to do? I don’t know. Complaints and photos from inside our church have also been sent to the bishop. It seems that somebody wants to stir up trouble and we can take steps to avoid at least this one thing. So if you attend Mass with Fr. Mangiafico, don’t then come to the rectory looking for me or vice versa. You could then be the link to us both being in quarantine. Sheesh! What a world we live in.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka