Televised Mass: Since the Bishops of Indiana have collectively made clear that the dispensation from Church Law to attend Sunday Mass expires as of June 11, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Jude Parish will no longer be live-streaming Sunday Mass on a weekly basis. Our regular volunteer who came weekly to make it happen is doing some summer traveling and as some noted with some recent glitches, it takes a person who is very familiar with the process to do it weekly without a hitch. We will still live-stream special events (weddings, funerals, Confirmation, special school events such as graduation or baccalaureate, or any other special liturgies or para-liturgies that take place in Church), or if we do any concerts as have been done in the past now and then.
The issue is one of encouragement to return to Holy Mass each week, for the sake of the souls of our faithful and their spiritual nourishment, but also because (as Bishop Rhoades’ announcement made clear), the Mass is the “source and summit” of the Christian life. Church Law is for the good of the individual, not merely for the sake of a law. It is further most important for the faith community to come together in support of one another, for shared prayer, and to build community. We are reminded that it is a matter of serious sin (which would keep a person from taking Communion in good faith without first benefit of Confession) if one intentionally misses Sunday Mass, or Holy Days that are listed as “obligatory.”
Another struggle we have is having a volunteer person in place each week who can operate the equipment that provides the live-streamed Mass. As we all know it is difficult to have that person available each and every week.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish: It is my strong recommendation that the parish returns to a 4:30 Saturday Vigil Mass and a 9 a.m. Sunday Mass. While some have pointed out that we have been blessed with a few new good-sized families swelling the numbers by filling a pew, it is still clear from this past weekend that two Masses, even if the 9 a.m. would be very full as it often used to be, are adequate for the number of members attending.
I had very few people express a desire for the three weekend Masses, but I had many more tell me that they wish we would return to the 9 a.m. Sunday Mass.
Aside from the Covid issues of the past year, what has been said from the days of Bishop McManus, is that when a Mass is only 1/3 full, a parish should consider dropping that Mass so as to bring more of the faith community together (at fewer Masses) but where there will be more members gathered in prayer.
As for Sacred Heart, with the number who are in choir, cantor, lector, or are extraordinary ministers of Communion, or altar servers, three Masses has been a challenge.
There is also no reason for us not to return to the best liturgical practices, using the Gospel Book, lectors reading the Scriptures, a cantor doing the Responsorial Psalm, and other cantor parts, the return of the choir for the 9 a.m. Mass, and even coffee and donuts (if those responsible wish to make it happen again). Gifts can be brought forward as in the past, collection taken up as in the past, and all normal procedures resume.
My recommendation is that we plan on this happening as of the first weekend of July.
As the President has said in his own comments (whether you voted for him or not), with the goal of everyone being vaccinated by July 4, “you can all shred your masks!” And everyone over the age of 12 has had the opportunity to be vaccinated since March. Others who are choosing not to get the vaccine can continue to wear their masks or take their chances I suppose. Time to return to normal living of life. If you have had the vaccine, all science indicates that masks and such are of no real value—either the vaccine works or it doesn’t and since it has been available to all over 12 for several months, there is no reason for a vaccinated person to still wear a mask. For whom or for what purpose?
Again, this is only my “opinion” for some, I’m sure, but I’ve done my reading, and asking authorities of knowledge. Anyone can choose to do what they want or believe what they want though and I respect that. If it were still a danger for church gatherings, the Bishops of the metropolitan area would not have opened things up as they have, and they certainly did their homework based on more than a few knowledgeable experts before making their decision. ~Fr. John