Last night I got the surprise of the past year when I walked out of the sacristy for our Ash Wednesday evening Liturgy of the Word. Beyond any doubt, I was greeted by the largest crowd I've seen in beautiful St. Jane Church since the first week of March 2020. I know Ash Wednesday is usually a big draw, but after all, the Covid19 thing and this was not the Holy Mass. Of course we had the Word proclaimed, ashes indeed were distributed and there was Holy Communion. But there was an air of confidence in being back in the church. We had 100% compliance with mask wearing, and even though a larger crowd, a real good effort at social distancing.
Like many other parishes across our footprint and across the whole country we have had to deal with smaller attendance which can mean small collections to help run things. Over time we have seen attendance increase, but not at all masses. Just like before Covid19 our 10 am Mass is our best attended. Before this pandemic that meant maybe close to 300 in the pews; now that number is 150, sometimes more. Fortunately many have adapted to making their weekly contribution by mail, or even better, electronically. Still, collections are down although it varies from week to week.
Recently, our local Catholic paper interviewed the 10 Deans of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Our Archdiocese is divided into 10 deaneries to help with the governance and support parishes and ministries across the territory that makes up the Archdiocese. I have linked the article below and it gives a nice overview of how the various parishes are functioning throughout this pandemic: