Most Holy Trinity
Dear Epiphany Family,
I write on the beautiful Solemnity of Pentecost and this article appears here for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, two awesome feasts which draw us closer to God, Who is love, unity, and a union and communion of Persons. Through our baptism we share in the life of the Trinity and are united with one another as members of the Body of Christ. We are called to live out this union with God and with another in all things, “striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
I announced our new Mass schedule, effective the weekend of July 3-4, this past weekend.
Saturday, Epiphany at St. Thomas – 4:00 (year-round)
Sunday, Epiphany at St. Stephen – 8:30; Epiphany at Sacred Heart 10:30
While change is never easy, our new schedule gives us a great opportunity to more vibrantly worship, pray, and offer the sacrifice with more people at each Mass and build greater unity across our campuses. We are members of one parish, one body, living stones built upon THE living stone of Christ (cf. 1 Peter 2:4-5).
Our new schedule was developed in consultation with both Pastoral Council and Parish Staff. With the pandemic restrictions being lifted at Mass soon (next weekend, June 5-6), which will allow much greater capacity at Mass, and along with losing Fr. Melwin in July with no new priest to replace him, the time is right for a new schedule. The diocese also asks parishes to review/evaluate their weekend Mass schedules every three years to determine if all the Masses that are offered are truly pastorally necessary. This has not happened to my knowledge since our parish was formed in 2013. Diocesan guidelines advise that if any Mass has attendance at less than 50% of a church facility’s seating capacity a change may be necessary. Using our pre-pandemic October 2019 Mass attendance numbers (official count required by the diocese) each of our Masses were at less than 50% of capacity. These guidelines are meant to protect the health of the priest, better allow him to pray, preach, and offer the Mass well, as well as take into consideration the number of ministers required for each Mass. A priest celebrating more than two Masses on a Sunday itself is meant to be the exception and only if pastorally necessary.
I love being a priest and serving as your pastor but the demands on a pastor can be great in addition to our weekend schedule. As I write today, I finished my third Mass of the day (all three Sunday Masses with Fr. Melwin on vacation) and my fifth in just over 24 hours (a funeral yesterday/Saturday as well as the 4:00 Vigil Mass). I am exhausted, yet I still will also be concelebrating at the Cardinal Stritch baccalaureate Mass this afternoon. Celebrating the Eucharist is an awesome privilege and gift, but it takes tremendous mental, spiritual, emotional, and spiritual energy. I think at times people can forget that priests are people too (although our flaws and limitations are usually very evident) and not robots. Please pray for priests and also that more young men would respond to God’s awesome call to serve Him as priests. Please pray for me!
It was not the easiest developing the new schedule but air conditioning, accessibility, “climate” of each church building, as well as not repeating any times of deanery Catholic churches (to allow more options for Catholics in the area) all played a part. Thank you for your understanding. Let’s pray for one another in our parish that God will bless, unite and strengthen us to share Him with others in our daily lives.