Also, please keep in mind that one month from now, Saturday evening Mass will be moved from Monarch down to St. Mark’s, Belt. This plan has been discussed for months. The problem is partly darkness, partly the danger of driving on the road connecting Monarch with Raynesford. It is foolish to risk lives trying to drive in poor conditions. As for the several persons who voiced dissatisfaction with not having Mass in Monarch during the winter, they have not regularly attended Monarch in the past year. The folks most affected live year round in the Monarch area, and they accepted the decision well. That I am “closing Monarch” is not true, and is an empty rumor. Only a local Bishop has the authority to close a parish or mission; the priest-pastor
has the authority to schedule Masses as seems beneficial and prudent.
Hence, during the dark months of the year, our Saturday Mass schedule will be: Raynesford at 1 p.m., and St. Mark’s, Belt, at 5 p.m. An advantage to this schedule is that it will permit me to hear confessions on Saturdays. With the Mass at 5:00 p.m. Saturday in Belt, confessions can be heard from 4:15 until 4:45 (not later). Because we have music at the Sunday morning Mass in Belt, I think it good to have a quiet Mass on Saturday evening at St.
Mark’s. Those who want music can attend Raynesford or the Sunday Mass in Belt, or of course Mass in Centerville. Our musicians are doing an excellent job with aiding our liturgies. Saturday evening Mass in Belt, however, will be as simple and as plain a Mass as I can celebrate. As our week-day Masses demonstrate, not every Mass needs music. Although I know that it is now fashionable in some liturgical circles to sing as much as possible at each Mass--even to the point of the priest chanting the Eucharistic Prayer at the altar--I think it is meaningful to have variety, and to allow folks to experience more silence as well. Simplicity and plainness have their own beauty. Indeed, “for everything there is a season.”
Adult faith class on the Apostle Paul’s letter to Christians in Rome (“Romans”) seems to be going well, with good attendance. Folks should feel free to drop in as their schedule permits. Bring a Bible, or at least a New Testament. This study should take us up to about Advent. After Christmas we will begin another study. I may decide to use a non-biblical text to enhance learning. Feed-back is welcomed--especially by those willing to attend adult faith classes.