Ladies and gentlemen it is so good to be back! After taking much of August off I am finally back and here to stay, at least until October. The rest was definitely needed and I hope you were all well taken care of in my absence. This need for rest does bring up another topic. Ever since college there were two things I wanted from life. The first was to be ordained a priest, which by the grace of God took place a little over four years ago. The second was to have the biography for myself in Butler’s lives of the saints to end, “worn out by his labors he passed onto his eternal reward.” The problem I have run into with this one is that my doctor and the Archbishop have a different opinion of when it might be appropriate for me to be worn out from my labors and pass onto this reward. Basically I was told by my doctor that I need to cut back or bad things will start happening to my health.
I talked with some of the other priests and their recommendation was to cut a few Masses and confession times such that I did one day at Sacred Heart the next at Newman in a rotation, but I’m just not quite ready to pare down the sacraments provided quite yet. At the beginning of July I shifted the daily Mass schedule to 8:00 a.m. all days but Tuesday. Even at the time I knew this wasn’t a permanent thing but I was tired of having to cancel and reschedule Mass every time I had a meeting to go to. I think I have come up with a compromise that will enable me to keep daily confession, adoration and Mass, and also take in some healthier living.
This summer, with my days at CYO camp, the schedule on Thursdays was shifted to 5:00 p.m. confessions and adoration, 6:00 p.m. Mass. This worked out surprisingly well and opened my eyes to some new options. So, beginning in September the daily Mass schedule will be Tuesday, Thursday confession and adoration at 5:00 p.m., with Mass at 6:00 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays we will have confessions and adoration at 8:00 a.m., with Mass at 9:00 a.m. First Friday will be confession at 8:00 a.m., Mass at 9:00 a.m., followed by brunch in the Parish Hall. Initially I had Mass at 8:00 a.m. with adoration and confessions at 9:00 a.m., but it felt a little odd to have confessions after Mass and it is preferable to do benediction with a larger congregation, something that is more consistent when it takes place right before Mass. What this in effect will do is eliminate the shifting schedules we had last year, I should not have to reschedule Mass or adoration because of meetings, and it will also allow me to sleep in a couple days a week. When I’m up late with the Newman Center it is difficult to get up as early as I need to in order to get all my prayer and daily preparation in before I get going.
I know this may be inconvenient for some of our daily Mass goers but it settles a whole lot better with me than eliminating Mass or adoration times. Still my doctor made me promise that this be on a trial basis and reevaluate in a few months. I feel pretty good that these changes will make a huge difference and think that this may be sufficient to turn my health around. I ask two things of all of you: 1) Pray that these changes will be sufficient, and 2) Don’t take this as an occasion to mother me. I already have a Mom who does far enough of that. I try and be as open as possible with things that go on, but am not trying to gather up pity points; if my brothers ever heard about me doing that I might as well be dead. Prayers Always, Fr. Joseph Altenhofen