Adding time for confessions. I’ve begun scheduling confessions for Wednesdays at 6:15 pm, at St. Mary, prior to the 7 pm Mass. If the response is good, we can move the start time earlier. Fathers Bishop, Howard, Manning and I are working together and looking for ways to serve you better.
Planning Masses for nearby senior and rehab facilities. There are a lot of locations in the area comprising our family of parishes, where folks are living or recuperating, but cannot make it to Mass. Before Covid, many of them would have Mass periodically, and with Father Howard’s assistance, we’re reaching out to them to resume having Mass for them.
Why didn’t our Sunday Mass schedule change, while other parishes’ did? One big reason is that Father Manning agreed not to retire, which he could have at 74. Instead, he is a “senior vicar,” meaning he’s not quite full-time, but he’s not retired, either. Obviously, he can retire whenever he wants – after 47 years as a priest, he certainly deserves it.
When Father Manning does retire – or when any of us needs to step back – then we will certainly have to revisit our weekend Mass schedule. Father Bishop is 71, I’m 60 and Father Howard – we call him “the kid” – is in his early 50s, but will candidly tell you he has some health issues that slow him down. So very soon, I will be discussing with our pastoral advisory councils how to begin planning for the day we don’t have four priests on active duty.
Meeting with Pastoral Councils. By the time you read this, I’ll have met the first time with all three of our pastoral advisory councils. I asked them to meet jointly, because given the situation, meeting with each group individually is not practical. There are things I need their help to plan, and that will require everyone being in the room at the same time. If we have to do round-robins between three meetings, that will take forever and wear everyone out.
I’m sorry I can’t always say ‘yes’ to meetings. Whenever a new pastor arrives, everyone comes out of the woodwork, wanting to meet, have a meal, explain a project, and so forth. I’ve had to decline so many requests, and perhaps should have declined more, but it’s a bit awkward. I DO want to meet you; it’s why we’re having “Meet the Pastor / Q & A with Fr. Fox” gatherings, starting soon.
Father Martin Fox