As I write this column I am preparing to head down to San Alphonsus Retreat House for my annual priest’s retreat. The retreat house is on the Jersey Shore and it’s nice to sit outside and pray while reflecting on the beauty of God’s creation that is the Atlantic Ocean. The guys from Pennsylvania or Delaware are not allowed on the retreat as their states have higher infection rates. I’ll be surrounded by New York and New Jersey clergy. Yikes! Actually I really enjoy these guys, they are hospitable and real characters! It is nice to take time away from the parish and archdiocese and compare notes with priests from other dioceses. I’ll also be visiting the Monastery of the Most Holy Rosary in Summit, NJ and my spiritual sister, Sr. Mary Catherine (Perry) O.P.  I’ll be on my best behavior with the Dominican Nuns. I look forward to my return for the Saturday 4:00pm Mass and other weekend Masses.

This year the Cardinal has permitted parishes on a one-time only basis (due to the Pandemic) to have the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass at 3:00pm. We will have the DRIVE IN MASS at 3:00pm. We will decorate the outdoors, including the carport and altar area and make it a very festive occasion. We will also have a 4:00pm Mass in the Main Church (although we may have to change it to a drive-in Mass should the Pandemic warrant this – we are still far away from Christmas, so I’ll keep you posted. On Christmas Day we will have a 7:30am,10:00am, and 11:30am Mass in the Main Church while the chapel will be used for overflow. We will dress up the chapel as nicely as the main church.

I have been trying to get volunteers to help us take temperatures at the Saturday Vigil Mass, but no new people have volunteered. It is very likely that I will have to keep the Brant Rock side door locked, requiring everyone to enter through the front door. I’ll give it two more weeks, and hope someone who comes early to church each week, may step forward and volunteer to take temperatures there. We can provide a stool for the volunteer to sit upon if that helps. Your safety comes first, so if we have to default to the one entrance, we will do so to ensure your safety!

I am asking for volunteers to help us take temperatures and lector. You don’t have to do it each week, just once a month helps. Also, for those who attend the DRIVE IN Mass we still need folks to help as Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, and parking attendants. We have folks from neighboring parishes who attend the Drive In Mass during this pandemic, I’d invite them to volunteer by emailing me (father.carmichael@usa.net). I am not trying to poach folks, but it’d be great to have you help us out when you’re here.

The CATHOLIC APPEAL OFFICE notified the parish we have a $5k shortfall on pledges for this year’s archdiocesan fundraiser. The other Marshfield Parishes have surpassed their goals and will be receiving rebates. At this point we will have to make up that shortfall unless parishioners make their annual gift. I am to blame as I haven’t pushed it, and thought folks would just respond. Please consider making a pledge to the CA in the next few weeks before they end the drive. I am sorry for not stressing this enough.

Fr.  John F. Carmichael, Pastor