THE GRINCH WHO STOLE THE HOLYDAY MASS: se days attend the first Mass on Christmas Eve, and
the earlier the BETTER. To be honest I "You're a mean one, Fr. Bob You really are a heel, You're super-duper sassy, taking away St. Johnny's Mass-y, Fr. Bob You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel!
Having given a detailed rationale for the Christmas schedule last week, I now must give a rationale for the Holyday schedule this past weekend, as I have heard some grumblings of discontent due to the fact that there was NO Mass at Saint John the Evangelist. For inquiring minds who want to know, allow me to explain. Let those who have ears hear ...
Our practice has been to have ONE Mass at each of the Churches. With the addition of Saint Aloysius to our family that means that we have FOUR Masses: a vigil the evening before, two in the morning (or a morning Mass and a noon one), and one in the evening. HOWEVER, this year the Immaculate Conception occurred on a Saturday, which meant that there could NOT be an evening Mass on the Holyday itself (from 4pm any Mass celebrated, in accordance with the liturgical law of the Church, had to be for the Second Sunday of Advent). Thus we only scheduled THREE Masses. Yes, I COULD have scheduled THREE morning Masses but I KNEW that we didn't need that many. Further- more scheduling an extra Mass, which would leave each Mass emptier JUST to satisfy the "complaining class" would be silly. For what its worth that's the reason there were only THREE Masses for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. However, the bigger issue for some is WHY did Saint John get the proverbial "short end of the stick?" Once again, as al- ways (at least I like to think so), my decision was governed by LOGIC. Since
A. It was the Patronal Feast of Immaculate Conception Parish
B. Saint Rita has only ONE Mass for Christmas this year
C. Dunbar is geographically distinct from the three close "in-town" churches
it followed LOGICALLY that
D. Saint John the Evangelist be the parish without a Mass.
I pray for the day when we can all let LOGIC take precedence over emotion. I will certainly have A LOT less stress in MY life when I am permitted to focus on what's best for the entire community free of emotional baggage!
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH (RANCH ROAD THAT IS): I cannot say enough about how enthusiastically the Saint Aloysius family has integrated itself into our greater community. Being fully aware of the dramatic changes this would mean for the parish I had some apprehensions going into this arrangement. But the fine people of Dunbar have proven that I was FOOLISH to worry! Case in point, this email message I received from an active Saint Aloysius parishioner: I am very excited to have our Parish be- come unified with the Connellsville Parishes. We are better together!!!
A further witness to the parish's willingness to "come together" was given by a group of daily Mass-goers at the luncheon following Fr. Micah's funeral. These women, concerned about the toll on their priests, asked why Saint Aloysius wasn't just part of the daily Mass rotation we have been following in Connellsville (since my arrival, I might add; previously all the daily Masses were at Saint Rita). I was truly moved by their willingness to sacrifice the ability to be at THEIR church frequently in the interest of the common good! I explained that in the future, when we are down to two priests (which could happen any time ... I am sure that Fr. Dan's time here soon will be coming to an end; he's ready to "leave the nest" and acquire his own church - or two, or three!) we will have only ONE daily Mass again.
"Christmas is coming, the cactus is in bloom, Please put a penny in the old man's room. If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do, If you haven't got a ha'penny, Then God bless you." Close-up of a Christmas Cactus flower with the Saint Rita Grotto in the background.
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