May 28, 2014 Tami Scott Uncategorized
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.
“There was once a spiritual writer who said one Christian is no Christian. You have to be a Christian in community,” Scardella said. “And I think that the more people are connected to the community, the better.”
A new youth group designed for high school students will also meet on Sundays immediately following the mass. A middle school youth group meets on Thursdays and a junior youth group recently formed has already met twice.
“Now, we need to get the senior group up and running,” Scardella said.
Recently hired youth minister John Sheridan, along with other parents and people in the parish, will lead a CORE group to help youth build their relationship with Jesus Christ. Those kids and their families will attend mass together with the CORE team, and then enjoy dinner followed by youth night where they will talk about a catechetic issue or social topic.
When asked what his most important role as youth minister is, Sheridan said it’s to build relationships that will lead all closer to Christ.
“As Jeremiah 29:11 states, I want the CORE team and youth to know God has plans to prosper all of them and give them a future full of hope,” he said. “I know this because he continually reveals it to me.”
In 2008, Sheridan was involved in the Formation for Ministry program under Fr. Scardella while he started a youth group at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, also in Baldwinsville. As a student at Hartwick College, he was president of the Newman Club for four years and volunteered as a religious education teacher. Sheridan was also involved with Le Moyne College’s Campus Ministry in the early 2000’s and started a High School Life Teen Youth Ministry at Holy Family Church in 2002, the same he did for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in 2008. He has also been actively involved with the EDGE Middle School Youth Ministry at Holy Family since 2010.