St. John the Baptist adds 4 p.m. Vigil

    St. John the Baptist Church, which since Hurricane Katrina has been open only for the celebration of weddings and funerals, has begun celebrating a vigil Mass every Saturday at 4 p.m. to meet the pastoral needs of parishioners.
    Father Stanley Klores, pastor of St. Patrick Parish, which assumed responsibility for St. John the Baptist Church under the post-Katrina pastoral plan, said a recent increase in weekend activities in the Warehouse-Arts District has made it more difficult for his parishioners to find parking for the 4 p.m. vigil Mass at St. Patrick Church, 724 Camp St.
    The new Mass at St. John the Baptist Church – easily spotted from Interstate 10 downtown as the church with the gold steeple at 1139 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. – will not affect St. Patrick’s Mass schedule in any way, Father Klores said.
    St. Patrick Church will continue to offer Saturday vigil Masses at 4 and 5:30 p.m. and Sunday Masses at 8, 9:30 (Gregorian Latin Mass) and 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
    Father Klores said he made Archbishop Gregory Aymond aware that the Warehouse-Arts District was hosting an increased number of activities, particularly on weekends.
    “Then with the football games and the city events that are going on, it’s been getting more and more difficult for our people to get to church,” Father Klores said. “I told the archbishop it would be a great blessing for our people if we could have another vigil Mass over at St. John the Baptist, which is of easier access and has its own parking lot.”
    St. John the Baptist started the vigil Mass on Jan. 6.
    “(Attendance) is going slowly, but it’s growing, so we intend to keep the Mass there,” Father Klores said. “We’ve got about 50 people, but it’s growing. The attendance at St. Patrick is remaining the same – about 1,200 to 1,300 every weekend. So, it’s holding its own.”
    Father John Payne, parochial vicar, will be the regular celebrant of the Mass at St. John the Baptist.

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