Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Before Advent I proposed that, because of the growth at OLR, we would establish a new schedule for Mass on the weekend. I also asked for your feedback during the Advent season. I am grateful for the input we have received and would like to tell you that the idea of a Mass at 12:00 noon was not popular. The elimination of the 5 pm Sunday Mass was also unpopular. However, a good number of folks requested an earlier Sunday morning Mass.

Therefore, beginning on the weekend of January 14-15, we will retain the existing Mass times, but simply add a Mass at 8 am. This does mean that the other Sunday morning activities (CCD, Choir practice, Adult catechesis and Confessions) will have the later starting time of 9:15.

The additional Mass means additional commitment on the part of Fr. Ballard, myself and our deacons and two deacons-in-training, but it also means additional commitment on your part. I would like to remind you that the church calls on the faithful to be active participants in the liturgy.

“Active Participation” means a prayerful, intentional and attentive attendance at Mass, but it also means proper preparation for Mass. Prepare by meditating on the assigned Scripture passages before Mass. You can use the worship aid or a phone app to do this, but you need to arrive at church in plenty of time. Active participation also includes joining in with singing or saying the Mass parts and the congregational hymns. If you have children, proper preparation includes getting them to Mass each week, teaching them the faith at home and instructing them on proper and reverent behavior at Mass. Even young children can learn to sit still and be quiet if they are trained and instructed appropriately.

Remember also to say prayers of thanksgiving after Mass and be considerate of those who wish to remain behind in church for private prayer. One of the ways to encourage children to maintain a reverent attitude after Mass is to take them to light a candle and say a short prayer before the image of Our Lady of the Rosary or St. Joseph or the Infant of Prague/Pro Life Shrine, or at one of the shrines in the Lower Church.

Active participation for some will also include serving as ushers, greeters, lectors, altar servers and choir members. This weekend at Mass we will be recruiting new ushers. Men or women may serve as ushers and we welcome new volunteers. We will also be recruiting new readers for Mass and our organist/choirmaster Benjamin always welcomes new members —both children and adults—to join the music program. If you do serve in one of these auxiliary roles, please take your commitment seriously. If there is a schedule for your service, please do your part and turn up!

I would like to draw your attention to another detail: To avoid traffic jams, possible fender benders and to provide a safe environment for the many children on campus please observe a one way traffic system on weekends: Enter campus from Frontage Road. Exit campus through the gates by the gym onto James Drive. We are exploring the possibility of having someone from local law enforcement to be present to help direct traffic at the junction of James Drive and Augusta Road. In the meantime, please use this traffic flow with care.

I hope this additional Mass will be useful for as many of our OLR flock as possible. If you are pleased with this change, or can’t make it work I’m happy to hear from you.

Your pastor,
Fr. Longenecker