I arrived at a local church where they have a Saturday Mass, and the parking lot was almost empty. A couple of cars were leaving. One of the regulars pulled up next to me and said no one was in the church. I got out and walked up to the door and tugged it. Locked. A couple other people arrived. I asked if anyone was a parishioner and maybe this had been announced. We were all from different parishes: This is one of the few nearby parishes that has a Saturday Mass, and we come in from all over. Someone said he had heard another church had started a Saturday Mass, but that had begun fifteen minutes earlier, so no way to get there on time. We all left.
I wondered about the priest. I hoped he was okay. But then, not of the regular sacristan/server types were there, so perhaps this was something announced in advance. I hope that's all it is, though I was at the morning Mass there yesterday and nothing was said.
Getting to daily Mass is a privilege, not a necessity. But it's something I enjoy and that helps me spiritually.
I thought of the places - particularly in mission countries - where because of lack of priests they not only don't have daily Mass, they often have to go weeks without even a Sunday Mass. Around here, with the priest shortage, some places that enjoyed daily Masses may soon face no Masses. There are already a number of parishes where at least one daily Mass has been replaced by a Communion service. At the parish where there was no Mass today they've just gone from two priests to one, and the new pastor had said he will be looking at the Mass schedule and possibly changing it.
Hopefully, vocations to the priesthood will increase. I pray they will.
I'll be going to Planned Parenthood shortly to pray, and some of the regulars there attend the parish. I'll ask if they know anything. I hope it's just a blip.
I can get to a noon Mass that I know of. I'm glad of that. But will that Mass always be there?
UPDATE: Apparently the pastor announced on Tuesday that the schedule was changing. He eliminated one of the two daily Masses, and the Saturday morning Mass. I'm glad it wasn't anything bad happening to him, but I'm sad to see the priest shortage hit home.
Pax et bonum