Update to Our Weekend Mass Schedule

In the past year, the Diocese has asked each pastor to prayerfully consider and “evaluate the schedule of weekend Masses where the attendance at two or more masses is consistently less than 50% capacity of the church.” (Scheduling Masses, Policy 509 4b, Diocese of Grand Rapids Sacramental Handbook,) 

Here at Saint Robert’s, our church capacity is 1200 seats – 50% capacity is 600 people. Currently, none of the four weekend Masses we celebrate are at 50% capacity. Mass attendance numbers are printed in the bulletin weekly. On average a total of 1400 people attend the four Masses every weekend.  

While we are fortunate enough to have two priests here at our parish, often I receive phone calls from other pastors in our Diocese requesting coverage for weekend Masses, confessions, and penance services. The reason for this is due to the priest shortage in our Diocese. All priests in the Diocese of Grand Rapids are stretched very thin at this time. Bishop Walkowiak will ordain one priest this June and no ordination of priests next year, June 2025. Although the numbers in the seminary are good for the Diocese, we are many years away from replenishing our numbers.

As many more demands are expected of us in the parish and the diocese, our time is minimal. The fact that we are not at 50% capacity at all our Masses does not warrant a fourth Mass here at St. Robert’s. Therefore, Sunday, May 19, Pentecost weekend will be the last time we will offer the 6:00 pm Sunday evening Mass. 

During this time of Eucharistic revival, the importance of community in worship has been on the minds of many in the Church. Going forward I hope that celebrating three Masses every weekend will foster a fuller and more vibrant church family. I desire that every parishioner will be able to become more involved in parish life. Please keep the priests and deacons in the Diocese of Grand Rapids in your prayers as we navigate through this priest shortage. 

Fr. Tony Russo


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St. Robert of Newminster Catholic Church
6477 Ada Drive Southeast, Ada, MI 49301
(616) 676-9111


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