For The Dialog
The resumption of Mass at St. Andrew Church earlier this month was a harbinger of what officially begins this weekend along the coast of Delaware and Maryland.
Beach Season is here.
By the time Labor Day arrives, officially ending the 2016 season, hundreds of thousands of visitors will have crowded along some 60 miles of Atlantic coastline from Lewes to south of Pocomoke City. Many of those visitors will be Catholics who make time while on vacation for Sunday Mass.
Beach parishes increase the number of Masses to meet the tide of visitors, with some having twice as many Masses at the peak of the season. Yet even with the additional times, Mass is often a Standing Room Only event.
Staffing those Masses, both with priests and deacons, and with lay ministers such as ushers, lectors and eucharistic ministers, creates logistical challenges.
St. Ann in Bethany Beach, which more than doubles the number of Masses at St. Ann and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Frankford, uses about the same number of ministers during Beach Season as during off-season, said Sister Loretta Primus, liturgical coordinator. She provided statistics for an 11-week period during the off-season and for 11 weeks in the summer.
“In an off-season, with five Masses on Sunday and weekday Masses, I schedule approximately 1,617 ministers which includes priests, deacons, Eucharistic ministers, lectors, altar servers and sacristans,” she said. “During the on-season, I schedule approximately 1,617 ministers.
“The reason it averages about the same is because during the on-season we have Communion under one form,” while both species are offered in the off-season. That allows the same number of people to meet the Communion needs for more Masses.
The logistical headache comes in scheduling them to the summer Mass times. “We ask people if they are willing to be available what they normally would accept in the off-season,” Sister Loretta said.
Her reward comes when she stops in at various Masses and sees the number of people who make time for Mass. “I’m blown away when I go in and see people standing in the back, and we can seat over 600 people.”
Her ministry numbers do not include ushers or volunteers who assist in the church parking lot during the summer.
Even during the off-season “our parking lot is pretty packed,” she said. “It’s the only place where you come to church 25 to 30 minutes early and the parking lot’s already filled. In the summer time heaven knows where they park.”
Similar staffing scenarios take place all along the coast as Beach Season kicks off this weekend before cresting between Independence Day through Labor Day. Some parishes have overflow Masses in parish halls, and two offer Mass in satellite locations off campus.
St. Mary Star of the Sea-Holy Savior in Ocean City, Md., offers a 5 p.m. Saturday Mass at Bethany United Methodist Church in Berlin, Md., starting this Saturday through the end of September.
St. Edmond in Rehoboth Beach, which also celebrates Mass in the church hall, offers a 9 a.m. Mass this Sunday, and also from July 3 through Sept. 4, at Rehoboth Beach Elementary School.
Sister Loretta came to St. Ann in 2010 and recalls her reaction during the transition from off-season to Beach Season.
“It was kind of a shock for me, how things change so dramatically as nature changes outside. The traffic just begins to flow in,” just like the tides on Bethany Beach just a few blocks away.
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Diocese of Wilmington Summer Weekend Mass Guide
- St. Ann, Bethany Beach 302-539-6449
Sat.: 4, 6 p.m. ; Sun.: 7:30, 9, 10:30 a.m., Noon
- St. Michael the Archangel, Georgetown 302-856-6451
Sat.: 5 p.m. (Spanish), 7 p.m.; Sun.: 9 a.m., Noon (Spanish)
- St. Bernadette, Harrington, 302-398-8269
Sat.: 4 p.m.; Sun.: 9 & 10:30 a.m.
- St. Jude the Apostle, Lewes 302-644-7300
Sat.: 4:30 p.m.; also 6 p.m. (July 4–Labor Day); Sun.: 7, 8:30,10 a.m.; also 11:30 a.m. (Memorial Day – Labor Day)
- St. John the Apostle, Milford 302-422-5123
Sat.: 5 p.m.; Sun.: 8, 9:30, 11 a.m. & 7 p.m. (Spanish)
- Mary, Mother of Peace, Oak Orchard (Millsboro) 302-856-6451
Sat.: 4 p.m.; Sun.: 7:30 & 11 a.m.
- St. Edmond, Rehoboth Beach 302-227-4550
Sat. (in Church): 4 p.m. year round and 5:30 p.m. May 28 -Sept. 3.
Sun. (in Church): 7:30, 9, 10:30 a.m. & 4:30 p.m. Sun. (in Hall): 7:30 a.m. May 28 and July 3 -Sept. 4 (Quiet Mass, no music.), 9 and 10:30 a.m. May 28 thru Sept. 4.
Sun. (Rehoboth Elementary School, 500 Stockley St): 9 a.m. May 28 and July
3-Sept. 4 (Quiet Mass, no music.).
Catholic Byzantine Rite Eucharistic Liturgy in Church: 6 p.m. May 29, June 26, July
31, and August 28. [Rite is under the Pope and in communion with us. Mass is in English, fulfills Sunday obligation and all are welcome.]
- Our Lady of Guadalupe, Roxana 302-539-6449
Sat.: 5:30 p.m.; Sun.: 9 & 11 a.m.; 2 p.m. (Spanish)
- St. Mary Refuge of Sinners, Cambridge 410-228-4770
Sat.: 5 p.m., 7 p.m. (Spanish); Sun.: 11 a.m.
- Our Mother of Sorrows, Centreville 410-758-0143
Sun.: 9:15 & 11:30 a.m.
- Sacred Heart, Chestertown 410-778-3160
Sat.: 4 p.m., Memorial Day-Labor Day, 6 p.m.; Sun.: 10 a.m.
- St. Joseph, Cordova 410-822-2344
Sun.: 8 a.m.
- Ss. Peter & Paul, Easton 410-822-2344
Sat.: 5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. (Spanish)
Sun.: 8:30 & 10:30 a.m.
- St. Dennis, Galena 410-648-5145
Sat.: 5:30 p.m.; Sun.: 8, 10:30 a.m., 4 p.m. (Spanish)
- St. Mary Star of the Sea, Golden Hill 410-228-4770
Sun.: 9 a.m.
- St. Christopher, Kent Island (Chester) 410-643-6220
Sat.: 5 p.m.; Sun.: 7, 9 & 11 a.m
- St. Andrew, Ocean City 410-250-0300
Sat.: 4 (and 5:30 p.m. from July 3-Sept. 4); Sun. (7:15 a.m. July 3 – Sept. 4): 7:15, 8:30, 10 a.m.
- St. Luke, Ocean City 410-250-0300
Sat.: 4 & 5:30 p.m.; Sun.: 8:30, 10, 11:30 a.m & 5 p.m.
- Holy Savior, Ocean City 410-289-0652
Sat.: 5:15 p.m.; Sun.: 8:30 & 10 a.m.
- St. Mary Star of the Sea, Ocean City 410-289-0652
Sat. (May 23- Sept. 26): 5 p.m. at Bethany United Methodist Church, West Ocean City; Sun. 7 a.m.
- St. John Neumann, Ocean Pines
Sat.: 4 p.m.; Sun.: 8:30, 10 & 11:30 a.m.
- St. Peter the Apostle, Queenstown 410-758-0143
Sat.: 5:30 p.m.; Sun.: 7:30 a.m.
- St. John, Rock Hall 410-778-3160
Sat. (Memorial Day–Labor Day): 4 p.m.; Sun.: 8 a.m.
- St. Francis de Sales, Salisbury 410-742-6443
Sat.: 5:30 p.m.; Sun.: 8, 10:30 a.m. and Noon, 5 p.m.
- St. Michael, St. Michaels 410-822-2344
Sat.: 5:30 p.m.; Sun.: 10:15 a.m.
For more details:
Map of Parishes: http://tiny.cc/DEMDparishlocator
Times subject to change. Check with individual parishes.