At Mass today the Deacon took the first 2/3 of his homily for an announcement that the diocese of Dallas had requested be made at each parish. The announcement was to inform everybody about a rite called “Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest”. Apparently it is getting to the point that some parishes will have to skip mass due to the lack of a priest and have this rite instead. It still counts for your Sunday obligation.
I knew this was a problem at some rural parishes in the midwest, but I’m surprised it’s a problem at one of the largest dioceses in the country. Supposedly the cathedral has the largest weekly attendance of any Catholic church in the country so you’d think we’d be able to come up with enough priests. But apparently not. We have 3,000 to 3,500 people at mass every week and we just had one priest until we finally got a second one about a month ago. I didn’t know this but we almost had to use the SCitAoaP rite a few months ago when our pastor was sick and almost had to bail on the last mass of the day (6 on Sunday plus one on Saturday evening) one Sunday.
We also got a pamphlet distributed that had some FAQ’s about the rite along with an explanation from the bishop. They did mention in there that if they know ahead of time that there won’t be a priest available one Sunday they’ll publish the locations of nearby parishes in case people would rather go to mass than to SCitAoaP.