Sometime last winter we began to offer daily adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 5PM, half an hour before the daily Mass. We temporarily suspended it for the summer, but have picked it up again. I think it’s safe to say that we all have busy lives, some with school, others with family and kids, and still others with heavy workloads. The constant running that seems to be a sine qua non of our modern society needs to be alleviated, or punctuated by times of prayer. Prayer, real, intentional prayer, is essential to faith. It allows us to rise above the day-to-day hustle and bustle and provides an order to our lives, helping us discern that which is truly important. For this reason, Fr. Trinidad and I have decided to add more time for adoration, namely, Sunday evening after the 6:30 Mass. At the conclusion of the Student Mass, for those who wish to attend, we will expose the Blessed Sacrament and pray Solemn Vespers. This was a practice we had in the seminary and it was an extremely helpful way to conclude the weekend and prepare for the start of another week. If there is one thing we have in excess today, it’s noise. Not just the vibrations that the ear picks up, but the inundating cacophony of “connectedness.” For those with ‘smart’ phones (which ironically atrophy our minds), I would invite you to open your settings and take a look at how many minutes (or hours) a day we spend connecting ourselves to a largely virtual world. The cumulative result of this constant connection is an irritated, anxious, agitated and uneasy heart. Adoration offers us the possibility to make a connection that calms, soothes and enlightens the soul. We will begin Sunday, October 10th shortly after the 6:30 Mass ends (so about 7:40) for those who would like to take advantage.
Finally, a short plug for online giving. During the pandemic we have discontinued taking up the collection during Mass. I am loath to resume it for two reasons. The first is liturgical. The insertion of taking up the collection during Mass is an interruption of the liturgy. While it has become common practice, it is not part of the liturgy and introduces a distraction to our prayer. In the ancient Church a collection was taken up at the conclusion of the liturgy to support the widows and orphans, never during the Eucharistic celebration. The second reason I do not want to resume the collection during Mass is the unnecessary tension it creates. We receive about 40% of our collection through e-giving, so when the collection is taken up at Mass, those who give online may feel awkward as they pass the basket without dropping anything into it. And there may be some people who don’t want to, or can’t give. That is absolutely fine. The liturgy is not for sale, and money should never be a reason to feel out of place in the church.
After consulting the Pastoral Council, I have decided that we will not resume the in-pew collection, COVID, or no COVID. This decision opens the door to the possibility that the weekly collections won’t be as high as pre-pandemic. But I believe in the providence of God, meaning when you try to do His will and follow him, he provides the necessary. He provides through concrete people. The parish has real expenses, and does need financial resources to pay them, so I would encourage those who are able to sign up for the online giving. It’s fairly simple and can be done through a link on our parish website. When set up, it deducts weekly, or monthly from your credit card or bank account.
Finally, I mentioned the Pastoral Council above. I will explain more about what the Pastoral Council is and does in the next few weeks, but I want to let you know that we are looking for new members who would like to participate. More on this to come, but I want to put it on your radar.