Norwood Catholics Laud Saturday Mass
By ANDREW F. BLAKE Staff Writer
NORWOOD — In the age of rapid and often disruptive change, parishioners at St. Catherine’s Church, learned yesterday of another innovation — a Saturday Masss which will fulfill their Sunday obligation.
St. Catherine’s is among 17 suburban churches in the Boston Archdiocese which have opted to use the new plan beginning July 5.
After the announcement of the new plan was made at the 5 p.m. Mass yesterday by Rev. Joseph McDermott, a parishioner said: “It’s the best thing to happen in a long time. It should have been done years ago.”Edward Powers of Winter street, Norwood, added: “So many people skip Mass because they’re leaving early for trips or they have to work.
“This should bring lot of people back to church.”
Some 25 priests from the 17 churches using the plan met Saturday with Rt. Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Sennott, pastor at St. Catherine’s, to form guidelines for the new plan. This may serve as a reference point for the more than 380 churches in the archdiocese.
The Saturday “privilege”, was announced by Richard Cardinal Cushing last Friday and at that time published reports indicated that pastors must first receive permission from the cardinal.
It is up to individual pastors, however, to decide whether the new option would be suited to their parish.
“The cardinal,” Rev. Sennott said, “made it clear that the judgement on this matter is up to the individual pastor.”
During yesterday’s announcement at Mass, Fr. McDermott reflected the words of Msgr. Sennot when he said: “This is not really new.”
“Many centuries ago, the observance of Sunday began with First Vespers on Saturday. The church simply is extending the liturgical observance to Saturday to make the worship of God more readily available to people,” he explained.
And the parishioners like what is going to happen. “I work Sunday, so it’s great for me,” said Margaret Powers.
“It’s so much better the new way for so many people who either work or just want to sleep or go to the beach on Sunday” she added.
Vincent Lapanus, of Canton, said: “It’s terrific. They should have done this a long time ago.”
“I used to work Sunday’s so I’d go all the way into St. Anthony’s in Boston at midnight Saturday. There must be thousands in the same situation,” he added.
“Of course,” he added, “I don’t want to see them do away with Sunday Mass but this will be good for many people.”
Steve Hefferan of Norwood agreed.
“It will be very convenient for a great number of people, especially in the Summer when families plan trips,” he said.
Mrs. Hefferan said she and her husband would use the new plan as needed.
Fr. McDermott told the parishioners: ‘The Sabbath is not Saturday or Sunday, it’s a day of rest. We hope the Saturday observance will make it more convenient for people to come to church,” he said.
Msgr. Sennott emphasized, as did the cardinal, that the liturgical observance of Sunday on Saturday begins at 4 p.m.
One would not fulfill the Sunday obligation by attending a Saturday morning Mass. The Masses for Sunday can be celebrated anytime after 4 p.m. The “privilege” will take effect here Saturday, July 5. It is already in effect in other parts of New England.