Here’s the Sunday morning parking lot at my parish:
Way different from the norm.
My white car, a priest’s blue car, and our faith formation director’s in the distance. You can see the green canvas-covered fence of our construction zone off to the left. I was out in the parking lot before our Masses so far. People came. Maybe thirty for four English-language liturgies. One lady “just wanted to check.” I understand that.
Not having Mass is unbelievable. For me and the young miss, not having soccer to watch or attend is unbelievable. My main social activity outside of church is playing bridge. That’s all cancelled too. Unbelievably. From the local club to the North American championships scheduled for Columbus this coming week.
“When do you think we will reopen?” was the most common question in the drive-up this morning. When they pressed me, I said my opinion is that Easter would be a miracle. I think it will be longer. Possibly much longer. The green canvas-covered fence is due to come down in June. If someone today offered me a surety of getting back into church nice and healthy by the time we’re ready for the dedication or to roll the dice on when the restrictions ease naturally, I would take late June. In a heartbeat.
For the parish, we can make plans. We’ve talked about using the Pentecost Vigil for initiation on May 30th. I feel sure if we approached the archbishop about abrogating an ordinary Sunday in June or later to do a Vigil Mass with a votive Mass for the initiation sacraments, we would be heard.
I sense an opportunity in this. In this country, we Catholics have–let’s admit it–a country club church. People pay weekly dues and they get to sit in on music and preaching and prayers for an hour. Such people believe they are Catholics. It says that on their baptismal certificate and in our parish filing cabinet. But that’s the only way it’s determined for too many Christians.
I hope we can delve into some creativity and thinking outside the box in the weeks ahead. How does Church continue without worship, without classes, and without meetings?