Last chance Masses increasingly popular

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Kansas City at night. (Joe Cory/Key file photo)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

KANSAS CITY — OMG, it’s Sunday! You discover you’ve overslept and missed Mass, or you’ve been working in the yard all weekend and track of time, or your job schedule got in the way, or your family has spent the weekend at the lake or … There are any number of reasons why the regular Mass times at your parish didn’t work once, twice or even all the time. Three parishes in the Kansas City area, St. Margaret of Scotland, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and Christ the King, have evening Masses that are proving very popular, especially during the summer months.

Within the past year, St. Margaret of Scotland Church, 777 NE Blackwell Road, Lee’s Summit, began offering a 7 p.m. Mass in an effort to “meet people where they’re at,” as Deacon Paul Muller said. Parishioners and others may have been engaged in yard work, sports activities with their kids, maybe at the Lake or working, but still wanted to attend Sunday Mass. The evening Mass is a “come as you are,” and Deacon Paul said he’s seen baseball uniforms, muddy clothes, hospital scrubs and shorts and t-shirts, but also the reverence and happiness of being at Mass.

St. Margaret’s pastor, Father Ernie Davis, said “Mass is very important, even” if celebrated “at an untraditional time.” He recalled some of the ideas exchanged about a year ago by the staff and parishioners to meet needs that weren’t being met and to encourage people to come back to Mass. A monthly outdoor Mass was one such idea; another — late Masses on Sunday evening — caught on quickly. Young people, including a sister duo, offered to provide contemporary liturgical music, volunteers served as readers and communion ministers and all ages were welcomed, even older folks with walkers, he added. “We never got around to the outdoor Mass,” Fr. Davis said. “We started the evening Mass in June last year, and let the word spread.“

It seems to work, he continued, “and it’s kind of fun! These are people who love Mass. They come from all over, from Warrensburg, Blue Springs and Independence, Kansas City, Johnson County, Kan., and even further! We’ve asked what brought them to St. Margaret’s and we’re told, ‘Jesus brought us here.’ This is a community that’s always changing. We don’t expect the same people every week. Oh, there’s a core leadership structure: readers, musicians (now a couple from Redemptorist Parish) and communion ministers. We average about 100 – 125 people on Sunday evenings, but the attendance changes almost weekly. There is a real appreciation for the opportunity to attend Mass no matter what had occupied them earlier.”

Fr. Davis is glad to celebrate the Masses on Sunday evenings. “We want people talking about St. Margaret’s. Come to Mass and spread the word!”

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 11th and Broadway downtown, has a long tradition of offering a late Sunday Mass; in fact, for years, there were two Masses, one at 6 p.m., and one at 8 p.m. Father Paul Turner, pastor of the Cathedral, said that there were insufficient ministers for both Masses and attendance was smaller than expected. It was decided to discontinue the 6 p.m. Mass, combining both late Masses into the one at 8 p.m.

The Cathedral is located in the vicinity of several hospitals and with shifts ending around 7 p.m., Fr. Turner sees doctors and nurses in uniforms or scrubs, occasionally running late, but still in attendance. He said the 8 p.m. Sunday Mass is a service provided beyond parish boundaries, for all of the diocese.

Celebration of a late Mass has its challenges, he admitted. “There are difficulties finding altar servers, ushers, communion ministers, even readers, as they can be reluctant to commit to the late hour. The shortages are challenges we just deal with,” he said. “Another challenge for late Mases is that a Sunday night crowd can be tired and difficult to engage. That is a problem the Cathedral doesn’t have,” Fr. Turner said. “It’s different at Cathedral. Mass is a priority for those in attendance here and they will participate. If we run short on ministers or ushers, people are happy to help.” He added that a parish staff organist and a cantor provide the music on Sunday evenings.

He said that a recent addition to the Mass are some elements in Spanish. “We don’t have the staff or facilities for a full Spanish Mass, but the Second Reading, some of the prayers and announcements are in Spanish.”
About 200 people on average attend the 8 p.m. Mass on Sundays, he said. Some weekends, it represents the largest attendance of all weekend Masses, but almost always represents the smallest collection. The financial support doesn’t reflect the attendance, he said, which could be that people are supporting other parishes. He hopes those in attendance on Sunday evenings, along with appreciating the opportunity, will remember the Cathedral also has bills to pay.

In south Kansas City, Christ the King Church, 8510 Wornall Road, offers a 7:30 p.m., Mass on Sundays. Father Greg Lockwood, Parochial Administrator, said that Mass has been one of the most popular Masses for decades, attracting attendees from the parish, out of the parish and out of the diocese. He said that formerly, the late Mass was nicknamed, “the Lake Mass,” as many of the attendees arrived straight from a weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks or lakes closer to Kansas City. “We still see more people from Kansas than from Missouri, and often attendance will be 200 or more.”

Two priests in residence at Christ the King take charge of the late Sunday Masses — Fathers Alex Kreidler and Louis Farley. Fr. Lockwood said the Sunday evening Mass is “likened to a very respectful, very quiet Low Mass. Those in attendance are very pious, serious about Mass and prayer. Our parishioners are self-aware,” he said, “so more confessions are being heard. Confessions are heard before all Masses, weekdays and on weekends.”

There is a set serving staff, always in attendance and no music. Fr. Lockwood added that most participants use the communion rail to receive communion. “The Mass is celebrated with all the rubrics of the Body and Blood of Christ,” he said. “And the preaching is straightforward and truthful.”

If you can’t make it to the earlier Masses, you can still satisfy both your Sunday obligation and your soul by attending Mass at 7 p.m., at St. Margaret of Scotland, 7:30 p.m. Mass at Christ the King, or 8 p.m., Mass at the Cathedral.

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  1. June 22, 2019 at 1:10 pm #

    These late masses on Sunday have been a God-send for those that cannot make it during traditional times.

    Thank you to all the parishes that have done this, may God’s blessings and grace be bestowed upon all who do His will!

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Tuesday
July 16, 2019
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph