Dear St. Anselm Community,
Greetings! I arrived Wednesday at the rectory to move in and begin work. As you may imagine, it was a buzz of activity! Your fellow parishioners — lay leaders, committee and commission members — are doing so many things that are needed to keep the church and rectory maintained and running well, and to respond to the unique circumstances of the pandemic (i.e.improving technology for better live-streaming and online ministry). Thank you all for giving so generously of your time, talent and treasure for the good of the community!
I am writing to you today with some ideasfor what I, in conversation with Parish Council and the leadership team, hope will be a vibrant and accessible liturgical life going forward. Specifically, the coming colder weather and shorter hours of daylight have caused many to wonder whether our Saturday evening outdoor Mass is sustainable. Some are also wary about attending indoor liturgies due to the increased risk of Covid-19 infection. We want to offer options so that all can feel comfortable, safe and included in our liturgical prayer and fellowship. As you heard by email a few days ago, this coming Saturday, October 31, we will have mass at 4pm, but now INDOORS (because the snow will probably not melt in time). Mass will also be streamed on Facebook Live.
Going forward this is what we are considering:
- To add a Sunday mass at 11am outdoors [barring rain or snow]
- To consider moving Saturday 4pm to Sunday 4pm [regardless of the day, indoors]
We invite your input by taking this 5-10 minute survey: https://forms.gle/bQXqNjY3z9Uyr71J6
OR email your thoughts to email@example.com
Please respond by Wednesday 11/4 at 9am.
Principle: St. Anselm’s has always sought to be a place where all are welcome, because Christ invites us all to the feast and to be sisters and brothers to each other. Although the pandemic has presented new challenges, we still have the same mission! Expanding and changing the times of mass is one way we are seeking to adapt so that everyone can come to the Table of our Lord and be included in our fellowship as a community.
Rationale: Regardless of temperature or precipitation, 4pm Saturdays will be a bit too dark outdoors after we end Daylight Savings Time. And the Archdiocese of Boston does not allow Saturday Vigils for Sunday Mass any earlier than 4pm. On Sundays, however, we have full flexibility to have mass any time of the day. Knowing that outdoor mass is desired by many for Covid-19 safety reasons, we think that 11am is a good time to take advantage of the sun being high in the sky and thus warmer. We are also working on ideas for how we might make it possible for some to sit in chairs while others could sit in their cars (with heat on!) and watch while hearing the mass through their radio. We think that it might be worth considering moving Saturday 4pm to Sunday 4pm instead, for the time of day may remain attractive to the current Saturday vigil mass goers, as well as have new appeal to young people who (if you look at other churches which have a youth mass) tend to favor Sunday afternoon or evening. At the same time, for those who cannot attend in person, we are working to improve our livestream capabilities as well as the opportunity to receive Communion outside of in-person mass.
Your brother in Christ,