News: Parish changes Mass times to accommodate people's needs

February 21, 2020

Father PJ McManus

To better meet the needs of the community, Christ the King Parish made some changes to its daily Mass and confession schedule at the beginning of 2020.

The parish now offers daily Mass five days a week – Monday through Friday at 5:30 p.m., said the pastor, Father PJ McManus.  

Previously, the most well-attended Masses were at 5:30 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays. Their one morning Mass – 8:40 a.m. on Wednesdays – typically had low attendance, fewer than 30 people.

“So it seemed pretty obvious what we ought to do,” said Father McManus, who serves the parish alongside associate pastor Father George Komo. Hispanic chaplain Father Jose Reynaldo also serves the parish part-time.

“Daily Mass is the heartbeat of a parish,” Father McManus said. “While the bulk of our people live week-to-week on the Sunday Eucharist, the Church itself comes together every day so that ‘from the rising of the sun unto its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name.’

“Having Mass available daily, and having Mass available in as convenient a way as reasonably possible for the largest number of people is a serious obligation on the part of the Church,” he continued. “Of course, the local Church is more than just my parish, which is why I consulted with other pastors before making the change.”

People are responding positively to the expansion.

“Attendance is up at all the Masses,” Father McManus said. “I would say we average around 80 people. Some nights more, some nights less.”

The parish has also been flooded with people attending confession.

“We keep getting more and more business for confession,” he said. “So the two blocks before were Tuesday night at 6 p.m. and then Saturday morning. We would habitually be hearing confessions for three hours Tuesday night and four hours Saturday morning.”

The parish expanded, offering the sacrament every evening at 6 p.m. after Mass Monday through Friday. They also offer reconciliation on Saturdays at 4 p.m.

“If you build it they will come,” Father McManus said. “It’s a good hour and a half of confession every night.”

The parish also offers confession Saturday evenings at 4 p.m. before their 5 o’clock Mass and again on Sundays at 4:30 p.m after the Spanish Mass.

Attendance at the adoration chapel has also been up.  

“We wanted to draw a clear connection between Mass celebrated as a whole and the adoration chapel,” Father McManus said. “So at the end of the 3:15 p.m. Mass every Sunday the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in the church. The remnants from that Mass are exposed and it’s put out for about an hour before benediction.

“On Saturday, about an hour before Mass, the sacraments are brought out of the chapel and put in the church for an hour of adoration,” he continued. “And so what happens in in the chapel is just an extension of what happens at Mass.”

The response to the new schedule has been extremely positive.

“People really like the idea of having Mass and confession every day,” Father McManus said, noting that he likes the idea of planning strategically with neighboring parishes to best meet the needs of the people.

Parishioner Carlos Arreola Duran enjoys the new schedule.

“Whenever I go to Mass, I end up going to confession, even if I went the day before,” Duran said. “I feel at home whenever I go there.”

Diane Stringer said she attends Mass as often as possible.

“I’m really happy and grateful to have all the 5:30 Masses,” Stringer said. “It’s really great for those of us in the workforce that can’t go to morning Mass and so this is like a dream come true.”

Debbie Mathis was born and raised in Christ the King. She and her husband, Mike, remain parishioners there, despite their 10 years living in Ankeny. The pair typically attend Mass at least five times a week.

“My husband and I are very fortunate in many, many respects of our lives,” Mathis said. “And we just feel it’s a wonderful way to give thanks to God.”