As we at Blessed Sacrament continue to implement our Priority Plan, we remain focused on our three priorities of Cultivating Our Spiritual Life, Living the New Evangelization and Enhancing Our Sunday Mass Experience.
One element of both Enhancing Our Sunday Mass Experience and Cultivating Our Spiritual Life is the realization that, like the Cross, our spiritual lives have both a vertical and a horizontal dimension. The vertical dimension of our spiritual life is our relationship with God—how we pray, and what we both receive and offer back to God. The horizontal dimension of our spiritual life is our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ—particularly those who make up the body of Christ in our own parish. Simply by our presence and participation in Mass, we build up the body of Christ and contribute to both our own personal spiritual growth and to the spiritual growth of our parish.
Beginning the in fall of 2015, Bishop Kemme asked every parish in the diocese to begin counting the number of people attending Sunday Mass during the month of October. The numbers show that across the diocese slightly over 50% of registered parishioners attended Mass, which is better than twice the national average of 24%. Blessed Sacrament parish Mass attendance was 41%-- higher than the national average, but well below the diocesan average.
As we work to enhance our Sunday Mass Experience, Fr. Jirak and I are also looking to improve our Mass attendance. There are many factors which play into our low Mass attendance, and one possible reason is that not everyone is able to attend Mass at Blessed Sacrament because the Mass times do not work with the schedules of many of our parishioners. While altering our current Mass times is not on the table, we have decided to experiment with adding an additional Mass at 5:15pm on Sunday evenings but only during the season of Lent. Thus beginning on March 5th and going through Palm Sunday, we will be offering a 5:15pm Sunday evening Mass. This Mass will not affect any of the other Mass times and we will also continue to offer our parish Holy Hour from 4:00-5:00pm, including vespers and confessions.
Depending on how this Mass is received, we will consider making it a permanent fixture on Sunday evening. Hopefully this Mass will serve the needs of our parishioners and help us all grow closer together as a parish family and closer to our Lord Jesus Christ.