7 p.m. Mass celebrated Monday through Friday this summer
By S.L. Hansen
LINCOLN (SNR) - This summer, St. Mary Parish in downtown Lincoln has started offering a 7 p.m. daily Mass, Monday through Friday.
“No other parish offers a Mass at that time of day,” said Father Doug Dietrich, pastor. “I thought offering one more option would be something that people would like to do – something more edifying than watching reruns or going to a movie or whatever else.”
Virtually every parish in the area has an early-morning Mass, but as Father Dietrich pointed out, “Not everybody wants to get up at the crack of dawn.”
The 12:10 p.m. noon-hour Mass at St. Mary Church is popular with downtown workers, but other daily Masses in the city are usually during the traditional dinner hour – save for the St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center’s Mass on the UNL campus, that starts at 10 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters.
A 7 p.m. Mass, which generally lasts about a half hour, is a great time for families as well, Father Dietrich said. It’s after the kids are fed, but before bedtime looms. At last week’s Thursday evening Mass, a pair of siblings from Ireland marveled at the presence of an entire family attending together.
“You don’t see that in Ireland,” Carmel Kearney of County Galloway said.
She and her sister, Sister Birdie Flynn, R.S.M., were in Nebraska for about a month, attending a family member’s funeral, helping with the necessary tasks following a death, and visiting relatives. When daily obligations prevented them from attending the 12:10 p.m. Mass at Saint Mary Parish, they were happy to have a 7 p.m. option so close to their hotel.
Parishioner Deb Thoene had the night off from her usual work schedule, so she and her husband Duane also took advantage of the 7 p.m. time.
“I wanted to support the 7 p.m. Mass, because I think it’s a great idea,” she said.
“And I just tagged along because I think it’s a great idea, too,” Mr. Thoene grinned.
St. Mary Parish has offered 7 p.m. daily Mass in the past during Lent. Now that Father Andrew Heaslip has moved into the rectory, there’s one more priest to enable the evening schedule once again. Father Heaslip was appointed diocesan director of religious education and diocesan digital media coordinator, with residence at Saint Mary Parish.
“We don’t get a big turnout early in the morning,” Father Dietrich said. “We have always had a better turnout in the evening when we’ve had Mass then.”
He hopes that the timing will enable a different group of people to become daily communicants.
“A lot of people are surprised by the simplicity and prayerfulness of the shorter, daily Mass,” said Father Dietrich. “If you’re looking for something to do and you’ve never tried a daily Mass before, I hope you’ll check it out.”
St. Mary Parish – the original cathedral for the Diocese of Lincoln – is in downtown Lincoln at the corner of 14th and K streets.