Corpus Christi reflections – discerning Mass & confession schedules at Parish Family 49

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(click here to go directly to the proposed Mass schedule change documents)

Happy Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)! We celebrate today the great gift of the most holy Eucharist. Before the proclamation of the gospel today, the sequence Lauda Sion will be chanted or sung. I’ve had occasion to proclaim the sequence myself, and it never fails to choke me up. That said, I find the highlight of this celebration to be the Eucharistic procession after Mass. Though at all times permissible, the Church especially encourages as *desirable* that a procession take place after the Masses today. For such a procession, one might even have stations where the monstrance is briefly placed, incensed and reverenced, before continuing and eventually returning to the church. Here in Shoreline, we’ll be doing just that after our last Mass on Sunday – something I have anticipated for some time!

The conclusion of the procession takes us to my other favorite part of today: the music. It is especially glorious, and none moreso (in my humble opinion!) than the Pange Lingua. I was introduced to the hymn fairly late in my faith, when I first heard it during the opening of the 2006 USCCB vocation video Fishers of Men. Perhaps it was the context of my own vocational discernment at the time, but I was struck then and am still struck every time I hear this hymn – most especially in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Proposed changes to schedule of Masses and confessions on the Olympic Peninsula

It seems to me that the Lord has a hand in the fact that the weekend of Corpus Christi is when the proposed Mass schedule changes should be presented to the Catholic communities of the Olympic Peninsula. The coming together of the Body of Christ in the holy sacrifice of the Mass is the source and summit of our faith and at the heart of every Catholic community. Though we may not know all the technical details, each of us is a full, active, and conscious participant in offering the holy sacrifice of the Mass: we’re all invested in when, where, and how we celebrate it!

As I laid out in my post about priest living arrangements, the new reality of having one pastor of five communities means we must make changes to where the priests live and how they are deployed. In that post I remarked that the pastor will need to have the flexibility to move between locations on a regular schedule. He will need to be able to respond when unscheduled needs arise – and if he goes to one far end, the other priests need to be positioned such that they can (relatively) easily minister to the communities where he is *not* present. In short, the pastor needs to have at least some minimal but meaning full presence to all his parishioners. Centralized housing is crucial to enable this to be done.

Today we begin family-wide consideration of the other necessary change to take effect on July 1: a revised schedule of Masses & confessions among all five of our locations. Over the last three months, we have worked hard to discern a schedule that balances sacramental celebrations, priest availability, parishioner needs, and the health & sanity of everyone involved. This has been an effort involving the current priests of the communities involved, the incoming priests, the PAAs, our principal, our three deacons, and all eight of the pastoral & finance councils of our communities.

A person in an astronaut outfit with the NASA logo on their chest points at the viewer. In the background there is a reddish-orange planet and stars. At the bottom of the poster are the words 'we need you'

Your feedback is needed

What you hold in your hands – or are about to read on your screen – is the fruit of this work. As you’ll see, it has been revised several times (this is version six!), with additions, subtractions, and changes made from the feedback given. And now its time for you, the Catholics of the Olympic Peninsula, to weigh in. I hope you’ll prayerfully read through the full document – perhaps even a few times! – to consider how it addresses the needs of our communities.

Though there are significant changes ahead of us – the effects of which will be felt by some more keenly than others – I am confident that the Lord is preparing us for great things. In addition to these final deliberations, let us be sure to take advantage of what is offered to us on this feast day and at every Mass: the gift of Christ’s real presence and the reception of His Body & Blood. May we worthily receive Him and in doing so, invite Him to guide us where He wills, which will always be to our benefit.

Rest assured of my prayers for you, especially over this coming week. Please pray for me and each other, that the Lord grant us peace, confidence, and eager anticipation of all He has in store. May we make the prayer of today’s sequence our own: “You who all things can and know, Who on earth such food bestow, Grant us with your saints, though lowest, Where the heav’nly feast you show, Fellow heirs and guests to be. Amen. Alleluia.”

English documents

Documentos en Español (con agradecimiento al diácono Stewart por su ayuda)

5 thoughts on “Corpus Christi reflections – discerning Mass & confession schedules at Parish Family 49”

  1. When I first returned to the Catholic Church, I was able to attend Mass every day with Father Nagel. When Father Nathe replaced him, Monday daily Mass was taken away, but confession was offered before Mass. Since the departure of these two priests the sacraments have became less available especially during our Covid lockdown. This saddens me.

    • Good evening Kathy,

      A lot sure has changed over the last decade or so – both in the priests who are ministering on the Olympic Peninsula and beyond. One of the harshest realities we face in Partners in the Gospel is the lesser numbers of Catholics, including priests. Sadly, this is reflected in the activities & liturgical life of our parishes as well. I think that it is good that we mourn the loss of what was – know that you are not alone in feeling this.

      At the same time, I see hope in our situation. We priests still stand ready to celebrate the sacraments with anyone who might need them – especially when asked! Ask any of my current (or former!) parishioners and they’ll tell you how often confessions are promoted and prompted (to the point of eyerolls, even ;-)). And while there may be less liturgies scheduled at a given location, we will be going out of our way to make sure that the sacraments are no less available. In the case of the Eucharist, this will involve creating or renewing homebound ministry. In the case of confessions, this will involve encouraging boldness in asking (and assuring parishioners of our willingness to say ‘yes’!). In the case of anointing, this will involve catechesis about when it is called for and how to present one’s self.

      Without a doubt, these changes will require us to approach things in a different and new way – but know that we are committed to both sustaining and growing as communities of faith. I am confident that the Lord will raise up new opportunities – and new people to help provide for them! – across our parish family.

      Father Maurer

  2. I will be praying for you, Father Maurer, our parochial vicars, lay leaders and staff as we enter this transition. I am grateful that so much time and effort has been devoted to this important part of our parish life.

  3. Hello Father Maurer – I am very much looking forward to meeting you, and to your presence and spiritual guidance on the Olympic Peninsula. I have already much appreciated the efforts that you have made to share your thoughtfulness and religious reflections with the public, and in my opinion, they have already resonated strongly with the parish community. I understand that much thought has gone into the new schedule. Thank you for sharing. Pax Vobiscum!


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