UPDATES to Mass Schedule
Mass Schedule Changes
Over the last twenty years our Catholic population has increased and the number of native priestly vocations has decreased. Our Good Shepherd Catholic Parish Mass schedule reflects this growth as does the mission to build a large church building to accommodate our growing numbers.
Our Church’s magisterium says that priests are to celebrate no more than two Masses a day and by exception three. The wisdom of the Church here is not only about the physical energy a priest needs to preside well but perhaps more, an awareness of the sacred action which the priest presides over and the repetition of which could lead to a lesser reverence of this most sacred act.
Having said this, Visalia is blest with priests both active and retired. Yet, the now inadequate size of our current worship sites places a demand on us to be pro-active in guarding: the sacredness of the Mass, the health of our priests and providing an appropriate Mass schedule for the faithful.
To this end I have made some adjustments to our Mass schedule effective the first weekend of March. Well aware that any change to the Mass schedule will not be a popular decision and will be an inconvenience to some, but I ask that you consider the following: many of our current masses are not full, and our priests are being asked to help the needs of other communities. There will be still 11 Masses offered at three sites every Saturday and Sunday. Each worship site being no more than 6-9 miles drive apart. Now keep in mind that there are millions of Catholics worldwide that don’t have the opportunity to worship at Mass weekly.
Specifically, the changes are: the current Sunday 7am and 8:30am St Mary’s masses will be combined to an 8am Mass at St. Mary’s and the 9am St Thomas Mass will be suppressed. Those who currently worship at St Thomas are asked to worship at one of the 11 Masses at the other 3 sites. St Thomas will no longer have Mass celebrated on a weekly basis.
However, St Thomas is a community with several ministries. These ministries will continue to meet at St Thomas. St Thomas will continue to be a presence of the Catholic Church in Goshen. This decision does not reflect the value of one community over another rather speaks to the reality that St Thomas’ building capacity is substantially smaller than the other sites. We are at a crossroads where we must serve the largest amount of people with the limited priests we have. Sunday ceremony in absence of a priest (SCAP) led by deacons is not a consideration for Goshen because they are not intended to be used regularly but only in times of necessity.
Looking forward from this difficult decision, I ask your prayers for our church building project. Once built, St Charles will be the primary place for our Sunday Mass. There our Good Shepherd Catholic Parish community will have the opportunity to worship with greater unity.
These are the challenges we face. As the Church, we face our struggles with great faith and assurance that the Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is with us always.
Sunday Mass Schedule beginning March 4 & 5
8:00 am St. Mary’s
10:00 am Holy Family
10:00 am St. Charles
10:30 am St. Mary’s
12:00 pm St. Charles
7:00 pm St. Mary’s
5:00pm Holy Family
8:00 am St. Charles
12:00 pm Holy Family
1:00pm St. Mary’s