Come June 8, parishioners of St. Mary’s Church in Baldwinsville can expect a change in the weekend mass schedule. A 5 p.m. mass on Sunday will replace the late morning 11:45 a.m. mass. Only two other Roman Catholic churches in the area offer an early evening service: Holy Family in Fairmount has one at 4:30 p.m., and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Syracuse holds one at 5:10 p.m.
Pastor Joseph Scardella said the church polled the people who regularly attend the 11:45 a.m. mass and found that more than 70 percent were in favor of the time change.
“I think there’s a lot of energy behind this. [The results were] very encouraging,” he said. “There are some people who liked that late morning mass, but we just have a feeling that there will be a lot more energy around the 5 o’clock.”
The intent is to make the evening mass more family and youth friendly, with ministries, such as greeting, taking up the collections and reading scripture, being carried out by family members, as well as providing more contemporary music.
“One of the things that we’re very aware of is the families now are very committed on Sunday mornings. There’s a lot of sports programs on Sunday mornings and it’s an awful thing for a family to choose — do we go to church or do we go to sports? We think by adding a 5 o’clock, most of the time those kinds of activities are done and they can end their weekend by coming to mass together as a family.”
Scardella, who aims to increase membership and the participation of present members, listed two main benefits to attending mass on a regular basis: The constant connection to God, which keeps the faithful centered, and to keep a person committed to community.